Southern Vaporsby Lynn Garson
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Southern Vapors chronicles the author's life from childhood through college, law school, marriage, children, careers, and finally, the landscape of divorce and single parenthood. There are glimpses of her early life as an heiress-in-waiting, big white house more Tara than Tara itself, travels on a grand scale and glamor at home. The author's careers make appearances—lawyer, retailer, administrative assistant, purveyor of vintage handbags, editor and writer.
The descent from the dizzying heights of prosperity follows, culminating in seven days locked in a low income mental institution. The author figures in most of the hospital scenes as the quintessential outsider, the observer, even when her eye is turned inward. A savvy country boy shows her new found respect when he mistakenly assumes that she drove to the hospital by herself as a way to plan her escape in advance. He was wrong, but she watches him make decisions about her both ways, first as a dumb chick hard to square with his image of a lawyer and then as a savvy lady who figured out how to work the system.
After her stay at the hospital, the author observes her mind as it ebbs and flows and skirts around depression, perhaps even madness. Southern Vapors describes her quest for recovery, from traditional therapy to Native American shamanism and everything in between. She explores her relationship with each parent, unearthing some long-held secrets and ultimately achieving reconciliation with her mother and a tentative peace with her father, who is no longer living. By the end of the book, the author has two years under her belt as a practicing attorney and has regained her emotional and mental footing. Her ascent back to health is clearly apparent and enormously inspiring.
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Meet the Author
LYNN GARSON graduated from Tulane University with a degree in art history and holds a law degree from Emory University School of Law. She has lived in Paris, New York, and Hong Kong and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
The author is a practicing healthcare attorney with a prominent national law firm. In her earlier incarnation as a retailer, she owned one of Atlanta’s best-known gift and tabletop stores. Garson Goodman was the first store in the Southeast to import a number of luxury lines from France, England, Italy and Portugal. This sense of style informs the book, particularly as the author describes the elegant life that she enjoyed as a child and young woman.
The author has a son and two daughters. Southern Vapors is the author's first book and is currently being adapted for the stage.
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This fascinating glimpse below the surface of a seemingly self-assured and successful attorney will make you think very differently the next time you are tempted to judge a book by its cover. It is rare that I respond as viscerally to a book as I did this one, but the author's obvious pain and courage in sharing her story was both moving and inspirational. Lynn Garson's account of her own history is exceptionally well written and combines elements of poignancy with hilarity in a way that won't let you go until the last sentence. Some aspects of her story felt incredibly familiar, while others guided me through territory I would have never ventured into on my own. It was an entertaining journey, but I also felt informed in so many ways after experiencing this memoir. Most of all, I felt inspired. It's a great read.