Southern Lady Code

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

Charming book about upper class women in the south. Author offers a narrow very funny perspective on being white and female in a southern world
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I haven't giggled out loud reading a book in a while, and I'm glad this was the book to make me do it. I loved the short chapters, with my favorite being the one about her father's practical (impractical?) joke at her birthday. OMG! 
I felt some essays were filler, but overall this is a quick, hilarious read that one could easily enjoy in one sitting or by the pool. I will say, definitely listen to the audio if you can as Helen narrates it herself and is hilarious and awesome to listen to.
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If I could choose one person, living or dead, to invite to dinner, it would definitely be Helen Ellis! I had zero knowledge of her prior to this book, but it was so entertaining I flew through it in one sitting! Such a fun read- and as a fellow Southern lady, born and bred, I can confirm that her observations were spot on!
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I'm a Southern lady from Alabama. I love SEC football (Roll Tide!), Coca Cola, grits and God, not necessarily in that order.  I also cuss a little.  I found these essays mildly amusing, but for the most part, they just weren't my cup of tea.  (That's Southern Lady talk for they didn't blow my skirt up!)

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this title.
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My Thoughts: I want to be friends with Helen Ellis! After listening to her narrate her own essays, I feel like I know Helen and that we’d have great fun hanging out together, plus i could learn a thing or two from her. I tend to be a little blunt in expressing my own opinions, but Helen always uses the “Southern Lady Code” to say something not very nice. In this way she says something that initially appears to be very nice, very polite, but may leave the recipient a little muddled on what Helen really meant. I just can’t think that fast on my feet!

All her essays were hilarious, whether on serious topics like supporting a friend who was prosecuting a tough case, or Helen’s own attempts at becoming a pot smoker. She had me laughing out loud over and over. I’d highly recommend listening to this one as the author’s own expressive voice added greatly to my enjoyment. Grade: B+

Note: I received a copy of this book from Doubleday (via NetGalley) in exchange for my honest review.
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I absolutely adored this essay collection - it had me laughing out loud with its equal measures of sass and snark and wit! It’s also a super quick read. Definitely one to check out if you enjoyed her earlier collection, American Housewife.
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I haven't read a book in under four hours in years, but Helen Ellis's "Southen Lady Code" broke that record. In two short hours, I was able to blast through her entire series of essays while chortling and highlighting all of her quick quips and advice on being a Southern Lady at heart in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. From marriage to traumatic childhood experiences that resemble the extremities on Arrested Development to stolen Burberry coats, Helen Ellis takes readers on a wild ride through her life while providing morals that only a Southern Lady could provide. Her mantra, "If you don't have something nice to say, say something not-so-nice in a nice way," couldn't apply to this review at all.
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I chose this book because I am a Southern lady of the same age as the author.  I could relate to many of her high school stories from the 80s.  The advice from her mother was on point.  I still feel guilty if I don't write a thank you note.  I sill cannot wear white until after Easter.  Overall this was a short (single afternoon) and amusing read,
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This collection of essays was hit and miss for me, if only because some of the Southern Lady stereotypes have always bothered me as a southern lady. I loved the segments on manners, but my favorite essay might have been Serious Woman. Many of these are lighthearted to mildly outrageous, but this serious tale of supporting a friend felt the most right.
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I am currently reading this. I actually bought the audio and I love Helen witty sense of writing. I own her first book too and this is a book i would recommend to anyone
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If you don't have something nice to say, say something not-so-nice in a nice way." 

Helen Ellis' cover quote sums up what it means to be a Southern Lady in a nutshell. Or at least, how Helen Ellis and I were raised, even though I am a few years older and have been away from the South longer. My mother and especially, my grandmother, did their darndest to make one of me but somehow I was never much good at it. I binge-read this collection of essays some of which are hilarious and others amusing, but all on target. I especially enjoyed How to Stay Happily Married which ends with "As long as your wedding ring fits, you haven"t let yourself go." Some of the other essays were not as relatable. Burberry coats, for instance, are not a part of my everyday life.

Thanks to Doubleday and NetGalley for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.
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I’m both a fan of short stories and of Helen Ellis’s previous work - American Housewife - so I was thrilled to learn of this new collection which, as a born and bred Southerner, seemed like a no-brainer. I should have counted how many passages I’ve highlighted within my copy; Ellis understands Southern culture so acutely and is able to laugh at the seemingly absurd (but extremely necessary!) lengths to which we, as Southern Ladies, have been instructed to go to in order to retain our sense of dignity and self-respect. There is no doubt that I will return to these stories often for a dose of laughter, empathy and fun.
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I loved this collection.  Simply put, as a southern woman I related so well to this.  Helen was witty, delightful and fun!  I will be recommending this one for a while.  I am not a fan of non fiction but this one is absolutely delightful.  In addition it is a quick read and one that you can pick up and put down when times are busy.  Lots of stars for this fun read.
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A light read with some giggles for anyone who knows southern women. I like the idea of an Alabama southerner serving onion dip and cheese log to their friends in Manhattan but had a hard time identifying with coats around $1k.. must be a different south from mine!
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Ms. Ellis gives us a series of biographical essays. Some touch on her own life, some are a list of instructions, all are highly entertaining. She gives young girls instructions on what to look for in a man (hint: nothing from the Bachelor), she talks about living in New York (it is definitely a privileged life but she doesn't hide that), and talks about aging. 
I wish it had been longer but I don't regret reading it.

Four stars
This book came out April 16th
ARC kindly provided by publisher and NetGalley
Opinions are my own
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I raced through this book and enjoyed it immensely.  Being Southern myself I related so well to may of the essays.  The author certainly has a witty and snarky way of telling a story. 
Many thanks to Doubleday Books and to NetGalley for providing me a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Ellis’s short story collection, American Housewife (my review), was hit and miss for me, but the hits led me to believe I’d love her brand of nonfiction social commentary. And, I was mostly right! Ellis has an inappropriate, outrageous sense of humor (my favorite!). And, pairing it with her spot-on social commentary on the South can be magic. Ellis now lives in New York, which I think gives her some necessary perspective on the South that makes her commentary even better. She covers marriage, thank-you notes, general etiquette (courtesy of her mother), and crazy stories from her childhood a la Jenny Lawson (I loved these).

Some of these essays are outrageously funny, while some are still fairly outrageous (but less so for Ellis), but also poignant. And, the ones with some poignancy were my favorites. She writes poignantly about her decision to be child-free in “Free to Be…You and Me (and Childfree)” and her friend Meredith’s work as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx in “Serious Women.” And, her social commentary shines in “Party Foul” (a crazy story from her childhood) and “Emily Post for the Apocalypse” (her mother’s view on manners for “extreme situations”). The only mis-step for me was the mini-essays that are collections of one-sentence thoughts on a topic…these just didn’t work for me and broke up the rhythm of collection. Southern Lady Code was exactly the balm I was looking for following the immersive experience of Miracle Creek!
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Thank you NetGalley for this review copy.  Every so often I need a break from heavy reading, and Southern Lady Code was just what the doctor ordered.  I saw Helen Ellis on her book tour, and then I raced through these hilarious essays.  She does a great job and breaking down stereotypes, but also embracing the importance of culture and place.  Some essays are laugh out loud hysterical, and others touching.  I thoroughly enjoyed this fun glimpse into Southern life!  If you are Southern (or not!) I highly recommend.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday Books for providing this DRC in exchange for an honest review.

As a southern transplant, when I saw this book, I knew I had to give it a read to educate myself better on the Southern Lady ways. I already picked up on a few things, including "Bless your heart" meaning, "you silly fool." When Doubleday approved my request, I squeaked with excitement, finished up a handful of books I was reading, and then dove right in.

It took me two days to zip through Southern Lady Code, and I had to physically restrain myself from laughing out loud in public. Ellis was born and raised in Alabama, who then went on to attend college in Colorado before officially moving to NYC. Pulling lessons from her southern roots, she gives the reader a collection of short essays about how to respect the Southern Lady Code, and what the meaning behind certain terms and phrases translate to. As the cover of her book states:

    "Southern Lady Code: noun. A technique by which, if you don't have something nice to say, you say something not-so-nice in a nice way."

I wish I could quote the plethora of additional phrases for you, as I highlighted and noted so many that made me laugh or nod in a "ah-ha!" way, but I'd be spoiling many of the chapters within. The stories she told surrounding those phrases were so honest and relatable, and more often than not, I found myself wanting to take notes so that I too could behave like a southern lady. Keeping the house spotless a-la Marie Kondo instead of being messy, or writing thank you notes for any occasion in which you wish to expect gratitude- those are things that abide The Code.

Ellis writes in an effortlessly clever style, with charm and humor that makes the reader feel as if you were having a conversation. She sets up each chapter with a statement that pulls you in, then keeps you hanging on every word so as not to miss the punchline or the lesson of her statement. She's also very confessional in a subtle way, giving glimpses of her most private experiences. I admired that she didn't put on a facade to make herself seem like the perfect example of a Southern Lady, but outwardly admitted her faults and struggles, then revealed how she faced them.

Ellis has created a new fan, and I am eager to get my hands on a copy of this book- not only to share with friends, but to flag up for inspiration on how to be a supportive friend, a "best guest" at events, and when to know how to splurge on an investment piece for my wardrobe... as well as use the proper vernacular in my Kentucky home.

(This review will be posted on my blog on May 8, 2019 at www.thelexingtonbookie.com.)
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Helen grew up in Alabama and moved to New York City with her husband, Nate. Like any Southern lady, she knows how to say something mean in the nicest way possible, in order to avoid offending the person she intends to speak badly about, bless her heart! In the essays in this book, she tells stories about her life from childhood through adulthood in a way that makes the reader feel like they were there with her or wished to have been along for the ride. Lots of laughs in this one!
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