Family Bible

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Overview

"Swimming and sex seemed a lot alike to me when I was growing up. You took off most of your clothes to do them and you only did them with people who
were the same color as you. As your daddy got richer, you got to do them in fancier places." Starting with her father, who never met a whitetail buck he couldn't shoot, a whiskey bottle he couldn't empty, or a woman he couldn't charm, and her mother, who "invented road rage before 1960," Melissa Delbridge introduces us to the people in her own family bible. Readers ...

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Family Bible

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Overview

"Swimming and sex seemed a lot alike to me when I was growing up. You took off most of your clothes to do them and you only did them with people who
were the same color as you. As your daddy got richer, you got to do them in fancier places." Starting with her father, who never met a whitetail buck he couldn't shoot, a whiskey bottle he couldn't empty, or a woman he couldn't charm, and her mother, who "invented road rage before 1960," Melissa Delbridge introduces us to the people in her own family bible. Readers will find elements of Southern Gothic and familiar vernacular characters, but Delbridge endows each with her startling and original interpretation. In this disarmingly unguarded and unapologetic memoir, she shows us what really happened in the "stew of religion and sex" that was 1960s Tuscaloosa.

Whether telling of her father's circumspect "hunting trips," her mother's sudden, tempestuous moves across town in the middle of the night, or coming to terms with her own sexuality on the banks of the river, Delbridge is the real star of this entertaining memoir. Crackling with wit, frighteningly smart, both drop-dead funny and wrenchingly sad, Family Bible is a stunning personal history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Melissa Delbridge's memories of her early life are dead-accurate, hilarious, and tragic and will surely prove enduring as a guide to the Deepest South-a place and a culture that continue to prove alarmingly vital. I mean to keep the book handy, for pleasure and real guidance."—Reynolds Price

Family Bible is a gritty coming-of-age story set on the banks of the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with everything one expects of the Deep South: incest (some willing, some not), guns, bourbon, insanity, Jesus, fast women, cheating men. But Melissa Delbridge explodes and exploits these clichés into something startling and new, and in spite of the horror aroused by some events, it’s a hell of a fun ride. Delbridge’s ability to bring such joy to her readers through narratives that contain so much quiet sorrow is a true testament to her understanding of what it means to persevere."—Jennifer S. Davis, author, Our Former Lives in Art

“What a solid, warm embrace Melissa Delbridge offers the South in her memoir. But don’t think she’s not able, somehow, to keep eye contact with what’s behind her, literally and figuratively. Family Bible is a true triumph and proves that there’s no such thing as moderation down here.”—George Singleton, author, Work Shirts for Madmen

"Melissa Delbridge chronicles her journey toward self-realization with startling freshness and humor. I highly recommend it."—Bev Marshall, author, Right As Rain, Walking through Shadows, and Hot Fudge Sundae Blues

"Melissa J. Delbridge writes with a watchmaker's eye and a warrior's brave heart. Family Bible is wonderful."— Marshall Chapman, songwriter/rocker/author of Goodbye, Little Rock and Roller

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781587296512
  • Publisher: University of Iowa Press
  • Publication date: 3/10/2008
  • Series: Sightline Books Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 168
  • Sales rank: 1,487,978
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Melissa Delbridge has published essays and short stories in the Antioch Review, Southern Humanities Review, Third Coast, and other journals. She is an archivist in the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library at Duke University. Delbridge lives with her family in Orange County, North Carolina, where she spends her leisure time letting the dogs in and out, making pickles, plotting vengeance, substantiating rumors, and working on a novel.

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Read an Excerpt

When my father came back out to the car with a sack under his arm and got situated beside me, I asked him, "Daddy, what do people do in the Jungle Club?"
    My mother answered for him in her Liz Taylor-doing-Tennessee Williams voice, moving her lips in an exaggerated manner and speaking through clenched teeth. "Oh, they just sit around drinking and telling lies and slipping their hands up their buddies' wives' skirts. And darling, your daddy's just about the best person in Tuscaloosa County you could ask that particular question."

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Prologue xv

Hurricane Creek 1

Mimosa Park 7

Shot Rule 13

Gun and Bait 27

Faith of Our Fathers 44

The Company We Keep 49

Under My Saddle 80

Billy Boy 83

Baptism 94

Body of Knowledge 101

Girls Turned In 118

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