Review and Literary Road Trip: The Half-Mammals of Dixie
The Half-Mammals of Dixie by George Singleton is a collection of short stories centered around the fictitious town of Forty-Five, South Carolina. These are tales of the South, but not the stereotypical South (genteel and racist) so many people love to read about – these stories are more of the “good ol’ boy” South variety. I generally stay away from short story collections, because I usually don’t think there’s enough character development in them, but after reading this collection, I’ve decided that I was probably reading the wrong collections before – these stories are simply a hoot!
As you would suspect with a collection of stories, I enjoyed some of them more than others. My favorites (and the ones Carl had to hear about) are:
- Show-and-Tell – is the story of Mendal Dawes. When his mom deserted the family, his dad began calling himself a widower. Mendal’s third grade teacher is one of his dad’s old girlfriends, so in an effort to woo her, Mendal’s dad gives him all kinds of crazy things to take to school for show-and-tell, like a love letter written by a famous person that contains the line, “That guy who wrote that “How Do I Love Thee” poem has nothing on us, my sugar-booger-baby.” The way Mendal and his dad end up handling this potential relationship is priceless.
- Public Relations – tells the story of V.O., who loses his job when he proceeds to tell a potential client his theory of the decline of the American educational system at a business dinner. He has a crazy theory of how the women’s movement has ruined the schools in this country and, as you can imagine, it doesn’t sit well with the female client his company’s trying to lure.
The Half-Mammals of Dixie is a solid collection of short stories with lots of quirky characters that readers will delight in. I think those who live in, or have a love for, the South will enjoy these stories the most. Since these stories are set in South Carolina, and the author lives in South Carolina, I’m counting this book as part of my Literary Road Trip. (Watch for a giveaway of this title next week.)