Customer Reviews for

Mississippi Sissy

Average Rating 4
( 27 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Couldn't Put It Down

This is a poignant,insightfully written memoir-it was funny,heartbreaking,and suspenseful all at the same time.I read it in less than a day.Don't miss this thought-provoking biography!

posted by Anonymous on March 27, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Great descriptions, little content.

I was looking forward to reading humorous stories of growing up gay in the South. Why was I expecting that? From the title of the book and the image that was used on the cover. Unfortunately, that's not what I got. In the tradition of *great* Southern writers, Kevin Ses...
I was looking forward to reading humorous stories of growing up gay in the South. Why was I expecting that? From the title of the book and the image that was used on the cover. Unfortunately, that's not what I got. In the tradition of *great* Southern writers, Kevin Sessums uses a LOT of flowy words, but the stories themselves don't contain a lot of substance. The stories were average at best and if I was listening to him tell them at a party, I would have yawned several times and been trying to find a way to escape to talk to someone more interesting. The author takes a lot of creative license and describes each scene from his childhood with the most minute details, which couldn't possibly have been remembered. That part really doesn't bother me because it lends itself to adding to the mood and the story. What really pulled down the stories was the amount of detail that Sessums provides. It was overkill and didn't add anything to the bland stories. As I was reading, I couldn't help but compare Sessums to Augusten Burroughs or David Sedaris, two other popular gay memoirists. Sessums seems to want to try to compare his life to Burroughs, but his family isn't nearly as quirky. And the namedropping of Southern authors that he knew and socialized with was, frankly, obnoxious. I stopped reading MISSISSIPPI SISSY halfway through. I couldn't finish. I didn't see the point when nothing up until that point made me believe that it was going to get any better.

posted by eak321 on November 1, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2007

    Couldn't Put It Down

    This is a poignant,insightfully written memoir-it was funny,heartbreaking,and suspenseful all at the same time.I read it in less than a day.Don't miss this thought-provoking biography!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2007

    Down Home and Back Home

    I didn't read this book, I savored it. Just an outstanding sensory experience in the South in the sixties...the sights, the sounds, the smells of down home all came back. This is less a story of growing up gay in the South than growing up different in the South, especially back in the 60's. Somewhat cyclic and rambling in format, it therefore seems more a remembrance than a story. It took me back to my youth, wondering how such bigotry and hatred could exist in the minds and hearts of such warm, loving folks. Kevin struggled not only with his emerging sexuality, but also with crushing loss, bigotry, segregation, and the Vietnam War. I highly recommend this book to anyone who grew up in the 60's, or in the South, or both.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great descriptions, little content.

    I was looking forward to reading humorous stories of growing up gay in the South. Why was I expecting that? From the title of the book and the image that was used on the cover. Unfortunately, that's not what I got. In the tradition of *great* Southern writers, Kevin Sessums uses a LOT of flowy words, but the stories themselves don't contain a lot of substance. The stories were average at best and if I was listening to him tell them at a party, I would have yawned several times and been trying to find a way to escape to talk to someone more interesting. The author takes a lot of creative license and describes each scene from his childhood with the most minute details, which couldn't possibly have been remembered. That part really doesn't bother me because it lends itself to adding to the mood and the story. What really pulled down the stories was the amount of detail that Sessums provides. It was overkill and didn't add anything to the bland stories. As I was reading, I couldn't help but compare Sessums to Augusten Burroughs or David Sedaris, two other popular gay memoirists. Sessums seems to want to try to compare his life to Burroughs, but his family isn't nearly as quirky. And the namedropping of Southern authors that he knew and socialized with was, frankly, obnoxious. I stopped reading MISSISSIPPI SISSY halfway through. I couldn't finish. I didn't see the point when nothing up until that point made me believe that it was going to get any better.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2008

    A Memoir from a Child's Stance with the Vocabulary of a Poet

    MISSISSIPPI SISSY by Kevin Sessums has been a successful best seller since the journalist entered the realm of novelist in 2007. The reason for the extended readership of this coming of age story of a gay male in the 1970s South may puzzle some, but read a few chapters and the reason is clear: this is hilarious, sensitive, perceptive, colloquial writing at its best with the added attribute that Sessums' writing style is as eloquent as those writers he admired as a child - EM Forster, Flannery 'Connor, Katherine Anne Porter, WH Auden, Toni Morrison, and Eudora Welty. Sessums writes with candor about the racism he witnessed in the 1960s and 1970s, but his viewpoint is equally distributed between the gnarly vindictive vantage of his father and other white adults and the gentle love he worshiped in his closeness to his African American caretakers and colleagues. Orphaned at age 8 with his father's death in an automobile accident and his mother's subsequent death from cancer, Sessums was allowed more leeway with his propensity to dress and act like a 'sissy' and eventually came into his own sexuality both by exposure to a Pedophilic evangelist and his own exploration of gay bars and satisfying encounters with surprising partners (his first real love was a champion athlete who just happened to be African American!). And while every page of this beautifully rendered memoir is full of elegant prose describing such issues as Southerner response to civil rights, the murder of JFK and MLK, Jr., participation in the lives of famous writers by way of his close friend Frank Hains, a journalist who molded Sessums in many ways, the author shares many of the idols of television ('What's My Line?' cast) and movies (Audrey Hepburn, etc) and other icons of the times of his maturing, giving the reader a memory book that goes far beyond simply a true personal memoir. Love, death, abuse, disease, racism, and dreams for a life of understanding blend on nearly every page. This is a book that is likely to become a classic and deserves all the weeks it spent on the national Best Seller Lists. It is just 'swell'! Grady Harp

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2008

    loved it! loved it! loved it!

    This is how memoirs should be written! At times I would forget I was reading an autobiography,it was more like reading a really good novel.Loved it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2007

    'Why would a person of SENSITIVITY live in Mississippi (in the sixties and seventies)?

    'I might never be a woman. `Shame.' I might never be a man. But I would always be a witch.' The story behind this gem is as sad, as beautiful and as insightful as the sentiment it expresses. Sessums' story depicts one of the many paradoxes of the South, a region that until the 1980s was so different from the nation someone described it as 'America's Sicily.' The paradox is this: In order to survive growing up as a 'sissy boy' in a place like Mississippi, that boy must develop a hide and a core as strong as steel, on his own, and fast or he won't make it out alive. In other words, to become a man, a 'Mississippi Sissy' must become Superman. By any measure of external success, Sessums achieved that status. The challenge for the individual is to gain strength without picking up the ugly traits of bitterness and cynicism that are frequently the coping devices of surviving difficulty. If Sessums is half as sweet and strong in person as he is in his book, and as his writing style indicates, he's succeeded in carrying the good of the South with him while leaving the nastiness behind. His writing style is musical. It's sharp and poignant, yet easy on the mind as one's eyes follow the words. I didn't need to be familiar with the many references to songs, artists and composers scattered throughout I could hear the music in the words on the page and by picturing the scene in my head. In several places, Sessums writes that he didn't fit in or that he felt he didn't belong in Mississippi. The truth is another paradox--by becoming the man he is, by building an amazing life from the ground up with very few raw materials given to him, not only does he fit in, he's become the quintessential American story of success that desperately needs to be repeated to keep the American--and Southern and Mississippian--dream alive. To those who complain that young gay men have no role models, the response is, 'We do now.' On a side note, Miss Welty answers William F. Buckley's question in the title line above brilliantly (near the end of the book.) Her response to Frank Dowsing's reply shows her to be a true classy lady. What a privilege for Sessums to have met her and what a privilege for his readers that he shares this and other anecdotes.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2015

    A Good Read..

    A good book, however, a bit graphic at times.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2014

    Kevin

    Is okay with this. He takes it.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2013

    Brine

    Ehat the hell?

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2009

    All I can say is wow!

    You know, there are times when you think that being gay is a lifestyle choice, but when I read this book I seriously believe that some people are truly born this way. What a remarkable story!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2011

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