Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love

sweet-potato-queensThis book review may offend some people. About that, I am sorry. You are certainly entitled to your opinion, as I am to mine.

At our August meeting our bookclub discussed Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love, the first in a series by Jill Conner Browne, a freelance humor columnist. The book is said to be a national bestseller, so it must be good, right? I wasn’t sure I wanted to buy it, so I went to Barnes & Noble to take a look at it. They did not have it, but could order it for me. Also, Barnes & Noble allows Nook owners to read e-books free for one hour each day. About a half-hour was all it took.

I began with the prologue, and after a couple of pages skipped to Chapter One. After about three pages I skipped forward a couple of chapters, and tried again. Lots of books are a bit slow at the beginning, and I remember thinking it would get better. It did not. The book is said to present frank advice about life, love, men and families; and Browne says the series is written “tongue in cheek”– I certainly hope so. This book is pure drivel. To say it was boring is putting it mildly. I knew then I did not want to read this book. I decided right then to skip the August meeting, as I knew I wouldn’t have anything but complaints about the book. As it turned out, I couldn’t go anyway.

The main character’s description of the Sweet Potato Queens is such an embarrassment to the educated Southern woman. We have enough trouble with people outside the South thinking we are dumb and uneducated, as it is. We don’t need another Southern woman (even in jest) perpetuating that stereotype. Even after reading so little of this book, I felt the need to tell my book club friends, who are from all over the United States, that we are not like this.

Browne did have some good comments about her series, such as:

  • “Do whatever makes your heart “sing,” and the money will follow.”
  • “You don’t get too old to play. I believe you get old when you quit doing it.” (In this case, I think “doing it” meant playing, having fun.)
  • “I have no illusions about my work. They are funny books, but they aren’t literature. If you don’t laugh out loud, I will personally send you money back.”

After reading that last comment, I immediately thought, “Oh, I definitely want my money back.” Then I remembered I had not bought the book — thank goodness.

The most telling thing is that before our book club meeting, one of the members sent out an e-mail asking what we thought of the book. My reply was short and to the point: “Not much.” The next time I saw her she said my reply was the nicest response she received. Enough said?