The Sweet Potato Queens' first big-ass novel Stuff we didn't actually do, but could have, and may yet

Jill Conner Browne

Book - 2007

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FICTION/Browne, Jill Conner
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New York : Simon & Schuster c2007.
Physical Description
291 p.
Main Author
Jill Conner Browne (-)
Other Authors
Karin Gillespie (-)
Review by Booklist Review

Browne's Sweet Potato Queen advice books on love, divorce, and cooking have found a wide audience in readers who appreciate the Queens' sassy southern charm. With coauthor Gillespie, Browne turns to fiction for the first time to share lives and loves of the Queens. Jill, Mary Bennett, Patsy, and Gerald are united by their outsider status in high school. When Tammy, a beautiful but insecure redhead, moves into town and is humiliated by the in-crowd, Jill and company form the Tammy Club to bolster her spirits. The five enter the homecoming parade in wild dresses and red wigs, but a misprint on their sign (it reads Yammy instead of Tammy) leads to the five rechristening themselves the Sweet Potato Queens. The groups' friendships last for decades, despite distance and differences of opinion. Mary Bennett pursues fame on the coasts, Gerald comes to terms with his sexuality, and Tammy marries. But not everything is rosy. Mary Bennett finds success as a soap actress at the expense of the love of her life, Jill finds a man who proves too good to be true, and Tammy's insecurities lead to infidelities. Spirited and brazen, the Queens are good company. --Kristine Huntley Copyright 2006 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

After five nonfiction bestsellers, Browne leaps into fiction (with assistance by Bottom Dollar Girls creator Karin Gillespie) and delivers a GEN-U-WINE page-turner of a novel. Fans won't be surprised that Browne's combination of bawdy humor and self-empowerment affirmations easily translates in novel form. An unexpected delight is how deftly Browne creates fully dimensional supporting characters surrounding her first-person narrator, Jill Connor. (In her nonfiction adventures, all the other queens are named Tammy and intentionally blend together.) Beginning in 1968 with five high school misfits thrown together, Browne traces the core members of the Sweet Potato Queens through two decades of weddings, funerals and disastrous relationships. While readers learn the origins of "The Promise" and the motto "Never wear panties to a party," Browne also invents some new lingo (tyrants at work are "bossholes" and men adept in bed "know about the little man in the boat"). Fans of the Queen's artery-choking recipes are in luck; after the final chapter, Browne offers menu items from Rest in Peace, a restaurant the Queens would love to open that would only serve food found at Southern funerals. Browne's hilarious and heartwarming debut sets sturdy groundwork for future fictional follies. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

(See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/06) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Five high-school friends from Jackson, Miss., forge an enduring bond, based on their mutual belief in each other's fabulousness. As an antidote to the snooty clubs that won't have them, offbeat teens Jill, Mary Bennett, Patsy, Tammy and Gerald come together to form the Sweet Potato Queens, founded on the principle "If it ain't fun, we ain't doing it." Sharing humor and outsider status in school, the pals regularly get together to eat lots of pork and to gossip, and each year they dress in red wigs and sequin gowns and attend the St. Patrick's Day parade. The friends remain close long after graduation, despite taking divergent paths. Rich-girl-with-a-secret Mary Bennett heads off to soap-star fame in Hollywood; Gerald (to no one's surprise) comes out in San Francisco; and beautiful aspiring singer Tammy becomes a local TV weathergirl who drowns her numerous insecurities in a string of extramarital affairs. Midwestern-transplant Patsy moves to Atlanta and becomes a mom, while Boss Queen Jill muddles through a dull job and even duller love life. Tall and athletic, she eventually hits her stride, finding satisfaction as an in-demand personal trainer and a popular local columnist. Meanwhile, the queens experience the requisite laughter, tears and general messiness of life, all culminating in a last-minute London intervention to save Tammy from her latest bad decision. This fictionalized account of the origins of Browne's real-life SPQs (The Sweet Potato Queens' Wedding Planner and Divorce Guide, not reviewed, etc.) has a slapdash feel. Co-written with Gillespie, author of the Bottom Dollar Girls series, it reads less like a novel than what it is: the latest extension of this successful southern-fried brand. Breezy, but likely to move only existing fans of the Sweet Potato Queens. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.