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She's a Keeper, Confessions from a Southern Girl's Closet by Lee St. John

I am really enjoying reading the works of other local authors, and I hope that some of the books I share might inspire you to pick up a local or indie/small press book that you maybe wouldn't have given a chance before.

With the end of the girls' school year approaching we have gotten chaotic in our house. I had another book slated for my next read, but it's a complex piecing together of a family history, which I am excited to get into, but don't feel like I have the bandwidth right now to give it the attention it needs. With that in mind I was casting about for a different book and came across the She's a Keeper series by Lee St. John. It promised to be what I need, something light and airy, that doesn't require notetaking. I reached out to the author and she was kind enough to provide me an audio copy for my review, and you all know how much I love audio! Lee St. John does an very nice job of narrating her book, and, having met her, and heard how fast she talks, I respect how much she slowed down to read her work. In life she is flying at mach speed, in narration she doesn't quite break the sound barier. She is definitely a storyteller of the oral tradition.

St. John is a southern woman, born and raised, and her books are written vignette style. When I met her at an author event earlier this year I asked her what motivated her to write her books and she happily told me that these were stories that someday her children would want to know, even if they didn't yet. She is a vivacious and energetic retired teacher, who quite draws that light. She is a woman that brings air into the room, a woman who never met a stage that didn't adore her.

I started listening early this morning and laughed all through the morning routine of reordering my home after the slack weekend. Her vignette's are written as she speaks, with energy and excitement and it's a quick journey through the treasures of her closet. Half way through her litany of practical jokes, fabulous adventures, and cock-eyed memories I felt like I had travelled her life with her.

Yes, her vignettes shape to tell the story of her life, but what I loved even more, was the story of being Southern. I am a transplant to the south and there are many things down here that are different from where I grew up. There is a pride in the south, of being Southern the St. John captures in vivid strokes. She's a storyteller along the lines of Lewis Grizzard. I could absolutely see her work serialized in the newspaper. It's a quick read, and enjoyable, expect to want to share some of the tales yourself, or better yet, invite the author to your next luncheon and she'll keep you all entertained.

Nice job, Lee, it's exactly what I needed!

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