Get ready, all you Wannabes, Wannabe Wannabes, and Cute Girls: The Sweet Potato Queens are back, and they're better than ever. This fun-loving, Frito-eating, "Promise"-making group of "fallen Southern belles" made their world debut in 1999 with The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love, and now they have returned for their encore performance in God Save the Sweet Potato Queens. Their fearless leader, the "True Boss of Everything," Jill Conner Browne, has penned this advice-filled sequel with the same Southern manners, irreverent humor, and general Queenliness as the original; old fans and newcomers alike will find plenty of material to relate to and laugh about.
God Save the Sweet Potato Queens is completely outrageous and side-splittingly funny. It is not an absolute prerequisite to read SPQBOL (as Browne refers to it) first, but it is recommended; references frequently pop up, and Browne steadfastly refuses to recap too much. ("I am not going to re-tell all that stuff just to save you twelve bucks," she writes.) But to fill in those who are not yet intimately acquainted with the Queens, these Fabulous Women first appeared in public as the Sweet Potato Queens wearing "hand-me-down ballgowns and teeny-tiny tiaras" in Mal's 1982 St. Paddy's Day Parade in Jackson, Mississippi. By 1984's parade, they had ascended to the platform of the Giant Sweet Potato Float and, as the years passed, their costumes evolved to include curly red-headed wigs, pink fringed gloves, and short, green sequined dresses (complete with...uh...bodily enhancements). As the Queens' identities evolved and they grew from Cute Girls to Fabulous Women, they also gained a myriad of experience and wisdom, the second volume of which, thankfully, they have now decided to share with millions of loyal subjects.
Naturally, as in SPQBOL, much of the advice is related to men. Some chapters scrutinize the relationships between the sexes (from "Dating for the Advanced or Advancing" to "Marriage -- If You Must" and then "Divorce, Dating Again, and Revirgination"), while other chapters simply express befuddlement and even outrage at the differences between men and women ("Guys Ain't Girls," for example, or "Civil Rights, Body Hair, and Other Delicate Matters"). Beyond men, other topics faithfully examined include revenge (an extension of the SPQBOL chapter "Men Who May Need Killing") and, of course, comfort food. Who could truly live without "More Death-Defying Recipes"? In her excitement to impart her stories and advice, Browne occasionally rambles off topic, distracted by an anecdote meant to illustrate her point. Luckily, however, the new topic is usually just as entertaining as the original one, to which she always returns.
And so, over the course of God Save the Sweet Potato Queens, we humble readers get to know, love, and worship "Tammy," originally Browne's alter ego but now the chosen alias of all the Queens. Go forth, read on, and discover the Tammy inside you.
Read an Excerpt
Just in case you haven't yet read The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love, let me tell you that the hottest topic for discussion to come out of that book has been the Promise.
The Promise refers to the True Magic Words, guaranteed to get any man to do your bidding. All you have to do is tell a guy that if he'll just do whatever it is you're asking, a blow job is in the offing; delivering on the Promise, I hasten to explain, is not part of the deal. We describe it in detail in SPQBOL, which you really need to read for a full understanding a necessity before you go out and try to employ the technique on your own. Performed correctly, it is 100 percent guaranteed, and we also guarantee that the Promise is pretty much all you will have to perform.
Readers of SPQBOL report nearly total success with the Promise. Kay, who gave me a very fine sock monkey she made with her own two hands, told me she has used the Promise on her husband with felicitous results: She gets her yard work done and she gets lucky talk about your win/win! She said if she'd known about this sooner, she'd have had the Taj Mahal by now. Another woman, Nina, who sent me wonderful deviled-egg recipes, but I wish she would just come here and make them for me, said she went to a business conference and signed up for the golf tournament instead of the usual "wives' activities" and found herself in the happy situation of being the only woman playing. A highly competitive individual, Nina really wanted to win, so to inspire her teammates to give it the good ole 110 percent, she made them all the Promise. Big trophy and cash. Good work, Nina. A book club wrote me to say that they used the Promise to get a new sign for their kids' school. Not to name any names, but I did sign a Promise certificate (see our Web site, www.sweetpotatoqueens.com) made out to the mayor of a very large Canadian city where some Wannabes were seeking to influence a decision on some land development. I am so proud to see that you are using the Promise for the good of your communities: The Queens are very civic-minded.
One Cute Girl wrote, however, that she was being pestered slap to death by some guy wanting her to deliver on the Promise, and she wanted to know how she could "avoid this boring part." Keep right on smiling and Promising, I told her. If he is not whining about that, it will just be something else, and you might as well keep it on familiar ground.
While we may offer the Promise, far and wide, willy-nilly, to any and all men from whom we may need or desire goods or services, we admit to a severely low tolerance for the Promise being made to and especially accepted by men whom we consider to be ours. This may appear to be a confusing set of standards to the uninitiated and also to guys, but we don't care. Our standards are our standards and we expect everyone else to live up to them fully, whether they understand them or not.
Take, for example, this most interesting case related to me by one of the Queens, Tammy, I believe it was. Tammy's dear friend Leora was constantly having trouble with her ne'er-do-well husband, Jimmy Lee (pronounced "Jimmalee" in these parts). Jimmalee, it seems, had a job that involved door-to-door walking for one of the utility companies and taking readings from the company's meter on each of the houses. As we all know, the meter reading has a profound impact on one's bill for the month, and so if anything causes that reading to be lower, well, it makes for a lower utility bill. There are many ways to accomplish a lower reading, and many of them are publicized by the utility companies themselves caulking and weatherstripping and turning off appliances and such.
Another, probably more effective but certainly not advertised method of lowering one's utility bill involves direct negotiations with the man who reads the meter in this case, Jimmalee. Leora related it to Tammy like this: "Jimmalee goes out on the job, and those women are just waitin' for him at the door, saying, 'Jimmalee, why don't you come on inside for some i-i-i-iced te-e-ea and a little sump'n special." And way too many times, according to the highly incensed Leora, Jimmalee was indeed availing himself of the house specialties. As he would leave, Leora said, Jimmalee's hostesses would stand at the door and call after him, "Now, Jimmalee honey, won't you re-e-e-ead my meet-ah low?"
Granted, we are only hearing Leora's side of this story, but that is the only side in which we have any interest. Our job is to support Leora, and that is what we are doing. Jimmalee can get his own friends. At any rate, Leora finally had enough of Jimmalee's discount meter-reading service and decided to dissolve their marital bonds. We applaud her decision to spare his life.