BLEACHY-HAIRED HONKY BITCH: Tales from a Bad Neighborhood

Hollis Gillespie, Author . Regan Books $23.95 (279p) ISBN 978-0-06-056198-7

In this zesty memoir, NPR commentator and flight attendant Gillespie riffs on everything from her work as a "bad German translator" to her belief that a lesbian ghost is haunting her house. Gillespie, a hard-living bleached blonde who yearns to own a house, is as charming as a friendly drunk who says one funny, impossible sentence after another. She chronicles her life in diminutive essays, with an appreciation for absurd, seemingly minor moments. The book's title comes from the curses yelled by a man who was taking an "asshole stroll" across the road, ambling along with the speed of a diseased bovine, Gillespie notes, when she almost hit him because she wasn't paying attention. She suspects the neighborhood denizens will be unhappy that someone like her is looking for a house in the area: "[The crack dealers] shake their heads dejectedly, knowing it's a bad day for the neighborhood when bleachy-haired honky bitches can't brake to accommodate a good asshole stroll." Among these bright moments of detail, Gillespie manages to tell the story of her family, and like any family worth examining, it has an unusually large number of oddballs. Her mother, who wanted to become a cosmetologist but was terrible at it, ended up as a weapons designer after falling into a job at IBM. Her usually jobless father excelled at charming people into buying him drinks and wearing designer shoes. Sometimes tender, but mostly just wry and a bit wild, Gillespie's writing is like the best radio commentary, leaving fans hungry for more. Photos. (On sale Mar. 2)

Forecast: Author appearances throughout the South will lure in readers, and Gillespie's NPR fans are a sure bet, too.

Reviewed on: 01/12/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
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FORMATS
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-06-056199-4
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-06-235202-6
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