My friend’s mother is one of the greatest Southern ladies I have ever encountered. To be around her is to be in a perpetual state of amusement. One of her best friends and bridge partners, Miss Hildreth, had died. In the South, another important part of the funeral process is the viewing. You visit the funeral home, where there is an open casket, to pay your respects. Personally, I think the viewing ritual is unfair to the dead. Think about it. No matter what people say about you, you can’t defend yourself. As my friend and her mother approached the casket, her mother looked down, threw her hands to her face, and exclaimed, “Oh dear Lawd! They put Miss Hildreth in brown. Brown is not her color. What were they thinking? Oh, Lawd!”
(from Miss Hildreth Wore Brown, page 1)
From the very first page, Miss Hildreth Wore Brown: Anecdotes of a Southern Belle had me chuckling. Olivia deBelle Byrd writes about Southern manners, her relatives, and friendship in a conversational tone that makes you feel as though you’ve known her for years. I’m not from the South; I’m a New Englander whose only trip to the South was a vacation to Disney World several years ago, with stops in Charleston and Savannah during the long drive. But there’s just something so warm and comforting about books set in the South, with all the food, colloquialisms, and family drama that I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to read a humorous book featuring scenes from the life of a true-blue Southern belle.
At just 157 pages, I read Miss Hildreth Wore Brown from cover to cover during my morning commute, and it made the two hour trip fly by. Byrd talks mainly about her family, wanting to plan her daughter’s wedding when she didn’t even have a boyfriend and her husband’s inability to tell a story that contains all the details or remember people’s names (something that isn’t unique to Southern men, believe me). She also includes amusing anecdotes about everything from writing thank-you notes and the “absolute cardinal sin” of talking back to your elders to how she almost met her celebrity crush, Robert Redford, and how she is so directionally challenged that she drove to Alabama when she was trying to get to her son’s soccer game in Florida, where they live.
Miss Hildreth Wore Brown didn’t make me laugh so hard I cried, but reading Byrd’s stories and anecdotes was a fun way to pass the time. Her sense of humor, love for her family, and Southern manners shine through on every page, and there is something for everyone in her funny tales. The book doesn’t have to be read in one sitting, so it’s perfect for readers who want light moments here and there, but once you start reading, it’s hard to put down.
To check out the other blogs featured on the Miss Hildreth Wore Brown blog tour, visit Olivia deBelle Byrd’s website.
© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.