In this engaging collection of essays, Mississippi native Reed--a writer for Vogue and the New York Times Magazine who now splits her time between New Orleans and New York City--presents a fresh and eclectic portrait of the South. Reed's vision is both celebratory and critical, and it underscores her assertion that the South is""much more complicated and more interesting"" than standard perceptions and caricatures of the region suggest. She tackles amusing topics like Southern hairdos and fashion, and the unrivaled pride Southern women take in their appearance (""I once saw three Chi Omegas jogging on the Ole Miss campus at seven-thirty in the morning in pale pink sweatsuits, full makeup and perky ponytails ties with matching pink bows""). She also addresses more serious issues, such as the area's high rates of violence and lack of gun control. And as she renders an honest portrayal of the quirks, foibles and wonders of the region, she even pays homage to (and provides a recipe for) that Southern food staple: fried chicken.