Lindsey Rogers Cook comes to the blog with a story of family, secrets and connections with
Learning to Speak Southern
Initially, I was drawn to the book by the title – expecting (and getting) several linguistic moments that were something to treasure. But the story of Lexi and her often immature responses to difficult moments was wearing, and the hits just kept on coming. From childhood traumas and hurts that caused her to leave in the first place to the loss of a child in the early chapters of the book, we are inundated with Lexi’s difficulties and her problematic approach to dealing with them. Obviously, a lover of words and their origins, we are presented with several different languages, words, origins and meanings: as this is Lexi’s way to escape stress and calm herself. While I think it was meant to be charming, there was a feeling that it was meant to impress us with Lexi’s (or by extension) the author’s intelligence. While I have no issues with smart and clever insets into a story – the purpose quickly was lost to me and it felt more like a plot device when fresh approaches to dealing with the multitude of issues – and there were many – that Lexi faced.
Sure, you’ve grown up and had a life – you are going to have unresolved feelings about something: and we all get that. But it felt as if nothing was ‘sorted’ for her – rather her tendency to dash off and recite words, meanings and origins seemed to get in the way. And we do have people who want to embrace her on her return – and who are, quite rightly, looking for answers – it’s not all Lexi on the search. But she’s reluctant, then engaged when she discovers her mother was unsettled and a bit wild too, and we then get into secrets that have been long buried.
It all became a bit much for me – even as lyrical as much of the writing was, and my interest in the multiple words and origins did not fade – simply my desire to see Lexi yet again retreating into her own interior. It wasn’t a bad book –but perhaps less able to fulfill the premise of the synopsis, with a bit of a twist at the end that felt rushed, unnecessary and even a bit disconnected from the story that has been crafted to that point. Take a chance and a few hours and make your own choices on this one – it wasn’t for me –but you may find it just what you were looking for.
Title: Learning to Speak Southern
Author: Lindsey Rogers Cook
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Coming of Age, Family Saga, Friendship, Second Chance, Setting: American, Southern
Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark
Published on: 1 June, 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 7 Hours: 25 minutes
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A searing Southern story about confronting the difference between the family you're born into and the family you choose, from the acclaimed author of How to Bury Your Brother
Lex fled Memphis years ago, making ends meet with odd jobs teaching English around the world. She only returns when she has no choice, when her godmother presents her with a bargain she can't refuse. Lex has never understood her mother, who died tragically right before Lex's college graduation, but now she's got a chance to read her journals, to try and figure out what sent her mother spiraling all those years ago.
The Memphis that Lex inhabits is more bourbon and bbq joint than sweet tea on front porches, and as she pieces together the Memphis her mother knew, seeing the lure of the world through her mother's lush writing, she must confront more of her own past and the people she left behind. Once all is laid bare, Lex must decide for herself: What is the true meaning of family?
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.