I heard Kevin Sessums read from his forthcoming memoir, Mississippi Sissy (St. Martin's, Mar. 6), at SIBA, and he was so dynamic that I got the galley and read it on the way home. I'm normally a fiction reader, but this tale of growing up in the South during the early '60s really grabbed me. I was really moved by what he went through as a child and his search to find his place in the world. By the time he was eight, he and his two siblings had lost both parents—his father in a car accident and his mother a year later to cancer. As a child, Sessums was really tuned-in and understood everything being said around him, and this awareness made him realize he didn't fit in. A flamboyant seven-year-old who pretends he's Arlene Francis and writes a sixth-grade book report on Valley of the Dolls tends to stand out. This beautifully written tale of growing up different is a fast read, and I think it could broaden some narrow minds.
Volume 254 Issue 1 01/01/2007