Southern Lady Code
The bestselling author of American Housewife is back with a fiercely funny collection of essays on marriage and manners, thank-you notes and three-ways, ghosts, gunshots, gynecology, and the Calgon-scented, onion-dipped, monogrammed art of living as a Southern Lady.Helen Ellis has a mantra: "If you don't have something nice to say, say something not-so-nice in a nice way." Say "weathered" instead of "she looks like a cake left out in the rain." Say "early-developed" instead of "brace face and B cups." And for the love of Coke Salad, always say "Sorry you saw something that offended you" instead of "Get that stick out of your butt, Miss Prissy Pants." In these twenty-three raucous essays Ellis transforms herself into a dominatrix Donna Reed to save her marriage, inadvertently steals a $795 Burberry trench coat, witnesses a man fake his own death at a party, avoids a neck lift, and finds a black-tie gown that gives her the confidence of a drag queen. While she may have left her home in Alabama, married a New Yorker, forgotten how to drive, and abandoned the puffy headbands of her youth, Helen Ellis is clinging to her Southern accent like mayonnaise to white bread, and offering readers a hilarious, completely singular view on womanhood for both sides of the Mason-Dixon.

Southern Lady Code Details

TitleSouthern Lady Code
Author
ReleaseApr 16th, 2019
PublisherDoubleday Books
ISBN-139780385543897
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Writing, Essays, Humor, Short Stories, Autobiography, Memoir

Southern Lady Code Review

  • JanB
    January 1, 1970
    Southern Lady Code: "If you don't have something nice to say, say something not-so-nice in a nice way."After a couple of books that were misses, Marialyce and I decided to go a different route and read a book of humorous essays, Southern Lady Code. We were ready for some laughs.At 224 pages this is a quick, easy read, perfect as a palate cleanser. Helen Ellis is witty and snarky and delivers more than a few lines that made me chuckle out loud. Other essays were misses, but overall I would recomm Southern Lady Code: "If you don't have something nice to say, say something not-so-nice in a nice way."After a couple of books that were misses, Marialyce and I decided to go a different route and read a book of humorous essays, Southern Lady Code. We were ready for some laughs.At 224 pages this is a quick, easy read, perfect as a palate cleanser. Helen Ellis is witty and snarky and delivers more than a few lines that made me chuckle out loud. Other essays were misses, but overall I would recommend it as a good book to toss in the beach bag. 3 starsFor our review, and others, please check out Marialyce's blog https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...*many thanks to Edelweiss, Doubleday, and the author for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fun easy read, just a couple of hours of stories that were suppose to inform Southern ladies about the way they act, which of course is always the correct way. Being a transported Southern lady, I was anxious to see what I needed to do to be part and parcel of the Southern Lady culture. Along the way, I picked up a few pointers, chuckled a few times, and pretty much liked the essays presented.You can't be a Southern lady though without the term "Bless your heart" a phrase that has mor This was a fun easy read, just a couple of hours of stories that were suppose to inform Southern ladies about the way they act, which of course is always the correct way. Being a transported Southern lady, I was anxious to see what I needed to do to be part and parcel of the Southern Lady culture. Along the way, I picked up a few pointers, chuckled a few times, and pretty much liked the essays presented.You can't be a Southern lady though without the term "Bless your heart" a phrase that has more meaning and innuendo then I ever imagined. Sadly though it was missing in these essays, but that being said the bits and pieces we learn about Southern ladies was cute and full of whimsy. While some of the essays made me chuckle, there were some that seemed to fall a bit on the not so funny side for this Southern lady. However, on the whole this collection is a good way to while away one's time on the beach or traveling.Jan and I read this one and are interested in looking into this author's other stories. Recommended to those who long for a book that has short bits and pieces of a culture many of us embrace as our own.Thank you to Helen Ellis, Doubleday Books and Edelweiss for a copy of this book which is publishing today!You can find our reviews of this book here: http://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpress...
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  • Valerity (Val)
    January 1, 1970
    Southern Lady Code: Essays This is an entertaining collection of funny essays by Helen Ellis written with wit and candor and touching on family and marriage. Having lived in the South for a couple of decades now, I found plenty to grin at and relate to. If you’re Southern or know someone who is, you’ll likely enjoy it too, or if you like sassy, slightly snarky humor. I enjoyed the style of humor. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Helen Ellis, and th Southern Lady Code: Essays This is an entertaining collection of funny essays by Helen Ellis written with wit and candor and touching on family and marriage. Having lived in the South for a couple of decades now, I found plenty to grin at and relate to. If you’re Southern or know someone who is, you’ll likely enjoy it too, or if you like sassy, slightly snarky humor. I enjoyed the style of humor. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Helen Ellis, and the publisher for my fair review.Also on my BookZone blog:https://wordpress.com/post/bookblog20...
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  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    Helen Ellis is hilarious, brilliant, and utterly mad. Southern Lady Code will make you a better woman or a better man — once you have cleaned up the coffee you spit through your nose from laughing so hard. I loved this book: every essay and every word.
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  • Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
    January 1, 1970
    Southern Lady Code: a technique by which, if you don't have something nice to say, you say something not so nice in a nice way.Just a couple days before the release of Southern Lady Code, Helen Ellis tweeted:I am the kind of woman who likes to make you clutch your pearls.— Helen Ellis (@WhatIDoAllDay) April 14, 2019And bless her heart, she succeeds with this new collection of essays!  From witnessing a man fake a shooting at a Halloween birthday party full of eighth-graders in Party Foul to bein Southern Lady Code: a technique by which, if you don't have something nice to say, you say something not so nice in a nice way.Just a couple days before the release of Southern Lady Code, Helen Ellis tweeted:I am the kind of woman who likes to make you clutch your pearls.— Helen Ellis (@WhatIDoAllDay) April 14, 2019And bless her heart, she succeeds with this new collection of essays!  From witnessing a man fake a shooting at a Halloween birthday party full of eighth-graders in Party Foul to being the only woman invited to a bachelor party in A Room of One's Own (That's Full of Gay Men), Ellis offers up some entertaining and often embarrassing stories!  She covers everything from being the slob in her marriage, the decision to remain child-free, and the certainty she's stolen another woman's Burberry trench coat.Sprinkled throughout are some Southern Lady Code gems:My husband fell in love with a creative woman. '"Creative" is Southern Lady Code for slob."Trying" is Southern Lady Code for telling everyone and your mother that you're having intercourse to conceive."It's an heirloom" is Southern Lady Code for cold steel and ammunition."Put together" is Southern Lady Code for you can take me to church or Red Lobster and I'll fit in fine.Throw in some stories about pornography, marijuana, and ghosts (and also some brief mentions of Designing Women) and you have an amusing collection of essays that will allow people who are not Southern by the grace of God to interpret the code of Southern ladies.If you love to laugh, this is a great collection you can breeze through in an hour or so.  If you enjoy the book, I recommend the author's podcast also titled Southern Lady Code; all episodes of season one are available to download!Southern Lady Code was released by Doubleday on April 16, 2019.For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com
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  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    January 1, 1970
    A light read with some giggles for anyone who knows southern women. I like the idea of an Alabama southerner serving onion dip and cheese log to their friends in Manhattan but had a hard time identifying with coats around $1k.. must be a different south from mine!I had a copy of this from the publisher from NetGalley. The book came out April 16, 2019.
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  • J.T.
    January 1, 1970
    This book is overflowing with personality and humor - I can't tell you how many times I laughed aloud. There is nothing Helen Ellis writes that I won't buy immediately. She's that good.
  • Beth Dean
    January 1, 1970
    Southern Lady Code gives us a peek into what it is to be a lady.Imagine me crossing my legs daintily and lifting my teacup while saying “lady.”While it doesn’t have the same venom and bite of American Housewife, Southern Lady Code gives us more down-to-earth tips and tricks on surviving as a lady in a man’s world.Some of the tips and observations here are hilarious. For example:“And then came Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Or as I like to call it: “Surprise, You’re Sti Southern Lady Code gives us a peek into what it is to be a lady.Imagine me crossing my legs daintily and lifting my teacup while saying “lady.”While it doesn’t have the same venom and bite of American Housewife, Southern Lady Code gives us more down-to-earth tips and tricks on surviving as a lady in a man’s world.Some of the tips and observations here are hilarious. For example:“And then came Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Or as I like to call it: “Surprise, You’re Still a Hoarder!”Helen Ellis, Southern Lady CodeYep. I’ve had that feeling.The real-life wife portrayed here is a bit softer than the fictional one in American Housewife. A bit more compromising, sometimes old-fashionedly so. She urges us to incorporate the football foam finger into lovemaking on Superbowl Sunday and tells us what it is to be properly put together.I may be a bit biased in Ellis’ favor, though. I am a grandchild of a proper southern lady. My Grandmere, Rubye, was a force. She sold mass amounts of Tupperware and attended Eastern Star meetings in formal dresses she sewed herself. Southern ladies live on. And they are fabulous.Many thanks for Netgalley and Doubleday Books for providing an advance e-reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Madalyn (Novel Ink)
    January 1, 1970
    A decidedly average essay collection. I loved some of these essays and loathed others. Helen Ellis has a strong voice that shines through all of her writing, but sometimes she misses the mark with humor. She leads such a clearly privileged life that it's often hard to relate to some of the things she deals with (ex. having to buy a new $1,500 Burberry coat after she misplaces her old one). Also, as a born and bred Southern Lady™ myself, I really wanted this to be more... Southern. With themed es A decidedly average essay collection. I loved some of these essays and loathed others. Helen Ellis has a strong voice that shines through all of her writing, but sometimes she misses the mark with humor. She leads such a clearly privileged life that it's often hard to relate to some of the things she deals with (ex. having to buy a new $1,500 Burberry coat after she misplaces her old one). Also, as a born and bred Southern Lady™️ myself, I really wanted this to be more... Southern. With themed essay collections, I like the thread of the theme to be present throughout each essay, and I felt like this theme often got lost.
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  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    Hilarious candid essays by this former "southern lady" now living on the Upper East Side of NYC. If you can wait, get this in audio as I believe it would be entertaining to have the author read these essays. In the meantime, subscribe to her podcast.Thanks to the publisher for the advance reading copy.
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  • Tyler Goodson
    January 1, 1970
    SOUTHERN LADY CODE is Southern Lady Code for the perfect essay collection. It’s sharper than a shattered Christmas ornament, but an ornament with a sense of humor. You might cut yourself, but you’ll laugh about it. Would I give just about anything to spend a Friday night at her apartment, drinking and putting together a spooky owl puzzle? Why, yes. Yes, I would.
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  • rachelsvaughn
    January 1, 1970
    I read about half of this book and didn’t find it interesting or particularly funny so I stopped reading and moved on. I’ve lived my entire life in the south so, sure, I saw some truths in her essays, but nothing any random person I met here on the street couldn’t articulate just as clearly as she does. I think there are readers who will love this book, but I was hoping for something on par with Jenny Lawson and this just wasn’t up to my southern standard for funny women.
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  • Missie
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this hilarious book of essays, so much so I read parts out loud to my husband of 27 years. Growing up in the south in the same time frame I could so relate to your southern childhood and motherly advice. It is truly a wonderful way to be raised, the basis of kindness and being polite is something that really makes the world a better, happier place. This is the first thing I have read by Mrs. Harris, but it will not be the last! From one dense breast to another MAMA L I thoroughly enjoyed reading this hilarious book of essays, so much so I read parts out loud to my husband of 27 years. Growing up in the south in the same time frame I could so relate to your southern childhood and motherly advice. It is truly a wonderful way to be raised, the basis of kindness and being polite is something that really makes the world a better, happier place. This is the first thing I have read by Mrs. Harris, but it will not be the last! From one dense breast to another MAMA LIKE!Thank you NetGalley for the ARC and the opportunity to find a new favorite author for a review.
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  • Sue Fernandez
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my goodness. First, thank you to Doubleday Books and NetGalley for an e-ARC of Southern Lady Code. I started this book in the late evening, in bed, and that might've been a mistake. I was laughing out loud just as my husband was drifting off to sleep. The big surprises 1. I'd never read Helen Ellis' books prior to this; 2. there is also heart and poignancy in her writing mixed in with the humor. It's genuine, a fun read and a little laughter is something we can all use. Best of all: I use mor Oh my goodness. First, thank you to Doubleday Books and NetGalley for an e-ARC of Southern Lady Code. I started this book in the late evening, in bed, and that might've been a mistake. I was laughing out loud just as my husband was drifting off to sleep. The big surprises 1. I'd never read Helen Ellis' books prior to this; 2. there is also heart and poignancy in her writing mixed in with the humor. It's genuine, a fun read and a little laughter is something we can all use. Best of all: I use more southern phrases than is probably wise, and I've added a few to my mix. LOVE this book.
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  • Sarah at Sarah's Book Shelves
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Harper Books and Edelweiss for an advanced copy of this book.Ellis’s short story collection, American Housewife (my review), was hit and miss for me, but the hits led me to believe I’d love her brand of nonfiction social commentary. And, I was mostly right! Ellis has an inappropriate, outrageous sense of humor (my favorite!). And, pairing it with her spot-on social commentary on the South can be magic. Ellis now lives in New York, which I think gives her some necessary perspective on t Thanks to Harper Books and Edelweiss for an advanced copy of this book.Ellis’s short story collection, American Housewife (my review), was hit and miss for me, but the hits led me to believe I’d love her brand of nonfiction social commentary. And, I was mostly right! Ellis has an inappropriate, outrageous sense of humor (my favorite!). And, pairing it with her spot-on social commentary on the South can be magic. Ellis now lives in New York, which I think gives her some necessary perspective on the South that makes her commentary even better. She covers marriage, thank-you notes, general etiquette (courtesy of her mother), and crazy stories from her childhood a la Jenny Lawson (I loved these).Some of these essays are outrageously funny, while some are still fairly outrageous (but less so for Ellis), but also poignant. And, the ones with some poignancy were my favorites. She writes poignantly about her decision to be child-free in “Free to Be…You and Me (and Childfree)” and her friend Meredith’s work as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx in “Serious Women.” And, her social commentary shines in “Party Foul” (a crazy story from her childhood) and “Emily Post for the Apocalypse” (her mother’s view on manners for “extreme situations”). The only mis-step for me was the mini-essays that are collections of one-sentence thoughts on a topic…these just didn’t work for me and broke up the rhythm of collection. Southern Lady Code was exactly the balm I was looking for following the immersive experience of Miracle Creek!Visit https://www.sarahsbookshelves.com for more reviews.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    A book of humorous essays from a Southern lady living in New York City.I thought this was a super quick and easy read. I read through the whole thing in just 3-4 treadmill work outs where I like to read on my Kindle. Helen Ellis is funny with a touch of that Southern charm that I've always loved! While none of the stories were laugh out loud funny to me, they were silly and enjoyable. I didn't necessarily relate much to her (wealthy, Southern bred lady), but I enjoyed her take on life and her "S A book of humorous essays from a Southern lady living in New York City.I thought this was a super quick and easy read. I read through the whole thing in just 3-4 treadmill work outs where I like to read on my Kindle. Helen Ellis is funny with a touch of that Southern charm that I've always loved! While none of the stories were laugh out loud funny to me, they were silly and enjoyable. I didn't necessarily relate much to her (wealthy, Southern bred lady), but I enjoyed her take on life and her "Southern Lady Code," which is basically saying something not so nice but in a nice way.I'd definitely read more from her. In fact, I'd kind of like to be her friend. If you're in the mood for something light, check this one out.
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  • Alice Teets
    January 1, 1970
    I was given this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.I love female humorists. I really love Southern female humorists. Celia Rivenbark, Erma Bombeck, and the like are my faves. I actually aspire to be them. Especially Erma. And Helen Ellis is like them, only with a slight pornography obsession and the wish to try marijuana. She sounds a lot like people I know. I enjoyed this book, and I would read more by her.
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  • Blue Cypress Books
    January 1, 1970
    Funny, smart and Southern. This was my first time reading Helen Ellis and it will NOT be my last!
  • Megan Rosol
    January 1, 1970
    Pure cackling joy! Hellen Ellis says at one point that "I write silly stories for money" and the stories might be silly, but they are also hilarious, sharp, reflective and original.
  • Donna Davis
    January 1, 1970
    Helen Ellis makes me laugh out loud. If you can use some of that, you may want to read this book. Thanks go to Doubleday and Net Galley for the review copy. Southern Lady Code is a title that carries a code of its own. Some people use the word “lady” to describe European royalty; some to describe a courteous woman, which is what I anticipated here; and some use it to describe a well-mannered woman with a very comfortable income, which appears to be the author’s operating definition. In terms of Helen Ellis makes me laugh out loud. If you can use some of that, you may want to read this book. Thanks go to Doubleday and Net Galley for the review copy. Southern Lady Code is a title that carries a code of its own. Some people use the word “lady” to describe European royalty; some to describe a courteous woman, which is what I anticipated here; and some use it to describe a well-mannered woman with a very comfortable income, which appears to be the author’s operating definition. In terms of the “code,” I thought I’d be reading straight satire, but discovered that she has provided a combination of self-help tips and searing, sometimes raucous humor. It works surprisingly well. I have never made a cheese log before or wanted one, but Ellis’s recipe sounds so persuasively delicious that I may try it. That said, my favorite essays were short on advice and long on humor. I nearly hurt myself laughing over the construction man she found masturbating in her bedroom—did I mention that she gets a little edgy here? And “The Ghost Experience” is massively entertaining. There’s a lot of good material. Though at times her outlook is a little more conservative than my own, I like the things she says in support of gay and trans friends. Ultimately, I suspect that I am not the target audience for Ellis, who in her middle-aged years is dispensing life skills wrapped in bountiful amounts of humorous anecdotes. She is writing to her peers and to those women younger than herself. I am ten or twenty years older than this woman, but I still came away impressed. So, ladies and women, if you can look past the assumption of a greater-than-average income, you’ll have a good time here, and if you can’t, try to get this collection at the library and read selectively, because more of these essays will resonate than not, for all of us. I rate this book four giggles, and it will be available to the public tomorrow, April 16, 2019.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    I've always wondered about those snarky throw pillows that say, "If you don't have anything nice to say, come sit by me." Helen Ellis probably doesn't have one of those pillows because she's way too polite. But Southern Lady Code puts me in mind of those pillows because it's charming, and gossipy, and naughty, smart, AND hysterically funny. Every essay feels like it was written just for me--but every other woman I know who's read it feels exactly the same way. That's the sign of a fabulous book. I've always wondered about those snarky throw pillows that say, "If you don't have anything nice to say, come sit by me." Helen Ellis probably doesn't have one of those pillows because she's way too polite. But Southern Lady Code puts me in mind of those pillows because it's charming, and gossipy, and naughty, smart, AND hysterically funny. Every essay feels like it was written just for me--but every other woman I know who's read it feels exactly the same way. That's the sign of a fabulous book. Buy it! Read it! Buy copies for all your girlfriends! (Listen to the podcast, too.)
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    A memoir in short essays that are the funniest, dry, Bless-Your-Heart *pat pat* pieces of writing that I’ve ever read (I’m a little behind on the Helen Ellis party - I’ve got the audio of American Housewife out from the library to try and rectify that). Even when the subject is serious - in one she attends a rather grisly murder trial as support for her friend who is the prosecutor - she just takes it out at the knees. The first essay is about being a recovering slob and oh lordt, it me. (Also, A memoir in short essays that are the funniest, dry, Bless-Your-Heart *pat pat* pieces of writing that I’ve ever read (I’m a little behind on the Helen Ellis party - I’ve got the audio of American Housewife out from the library to try and rectify that). Even when the subject is serious - in one she attends a rather grisly murder trial as support for her friend who is the prosecutor - she just takes it out at the knees. The first essay is about being a recovering slob and oh lordt, it me. (Also, her mom sounds HILARIOUS).Out in April 2019 #sorrynotsorry
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  • Katherine
    January 1, 1970
    Southern Lady Code is a collection of essays that offers perspective on an array of topics. From ghosts to Burberry coats to Twitter porn, Ellis approaches each subject with the sincerity and humor of a true Southern lady. She had me laughing all throughout, as well as giving me some food for thought. And it gave me an idea for a killer Halloween costume. Thanks to NetGalley for the eArc.
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  • edh
    January 1, 1970
    Fans of humor and the short essay format will love the nuggets of Southern Lady Wisdom found here. Hilarious anecdotes from the author's real-life adventures will inspire you to settle in with a pimento cheese sandwich and forget about it all for an afternoon of light, escapist reading.
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  • Cheryl DeFranceschi
    January 1, 1970
    Helen Ellis’ new collection of essays makes me want to know the Southern Lady Code way to say, I effing loved this book to smithereens! You should read it when it comes out, but you should DEFINITELY start listening to her podcast right now!
  • Alice
    January 1, 1970
    I was very happy to get an advance reading copy of this book. Opened it couldn't stop reading or laughing. Clever, offbeat, wonderful. Her essays have heart and poignancy mixed in with the humor. Don't miss this one.
  • Abby
    January 1, 1970
    I adore Helen Ellis.
  • Melissa Rochelle
    January 1, 1970
    Helen Ellis is a HOOT! I love this collection of essays.Thanks to the publisher for the advance reading copy.
  • Heather McC
    January 1, 1970
    Helen Ellis is one of my newly discovered author treasures. After being intrigued by the cover and summary at one of my work meetings, I put myself on hold for the title and can honestly say this is one of my favorite book of humorous essays I have ever read (and another 2019 edition to the 'favorite's shelf). Filled with humor, topical advice, warmth, and heart this book is one to share with others (work, friends, and family). The essays lend themselves to quick reads and bouts of laughter and Helen Ellis is one of my newly discovered author treasures. After being intrigued by the cover and summary at one of my work meetings, I put myself on hold for the title and can honestly say this is one of my favorite book of humorous essays I have ever read (and another 2019 edition to the 'favorite's shelf). Filled with humor, topical advice, warmth, and heart this book is one to share with others (work, friends, and family). The essays lend themselves to quick reads and bouts of laughter and merriment.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the publisher, via Netgalley, for an advance e-galley for honest review!Sassy and funny! Helen Ellis's humor in these essays is, thankfully, not snarky or mean, but sharp and charming. I'd have enjoyed it even if it were double the length it is- this only took about an hour to read, and I would have been happy to read more!
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