cover image I Love You, Miss Huddleston: And Other Inappropriate Longings of My Indiana Childhood

I Love You, Miss Huddleston: And Other Inappropriate Longings of My Indiana Childhood

Philip Gulley, Author . HarperOne $21.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-06-

Some kids were evidently not unhappy growing up, but they can still get pretty good childhood memoirs, especially if they are honest about exaggerating. Quaker pastor-author Gulley (the Harmony series) writes a low-key Hoosier who's who in this memoir set in Danville, Ind., where youthful acting out takes the form of hurling tomatoes and detonating cans of bug spray. Danville includes Quaker widows aplenty, pals named Peanut and Suds, an arthritic and deaf police dog and a mousery that provisions Indiana's homegrown pharmaceutical manufacturer, Eli Lilly. Gulley has no shortage of material, and the teenage years naturally bring an attack of hormones that prompts pathetic, doomed crushes. We even manage to learn a few facts about the humorist, such as that Gulley grew up Catholic. His chief object of fun is his youthful self, which takes the edge off his views of other characters from his youth, many of whom are relatives. Humor beats nostalgia and drama; this stuff is a laugh-out-loud tweaking of a not terribly misspent youth. (Apr.)