We're Just Like You, Only Prettier: Confessions of a Tarnished Southern Belle by Celia Rivenbark | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
We're Just Like You, Only Prettier: Confessions of a Tarnished Southern Belle

We're Just Like You, Only Prettier: Confessions of a Tarnished Southern Belle

3.9 45
by Celia Rivenbark

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"On the short drive to the preschool,
I dutifully unwrap a NutriGrain bar and
toss it into the back seat to my four-year-old.
Sometimes I'll even unwrap one for myself.
Studies have shown that it's very important
for familes to eat together. . . . "

Why couldn't the Sopranos survive living down South? Simple. You can't shoot a guy full of holes


"On the short drive to the preschool,
I dutifully unwrap a NutriGrain bar and
toss it into the back seat to my four-year-old.
Sometimes I'll even unwrap one for myself.
Studies have shown that it's very important
for familes to eat together. . . . "

Why couldn't the Sopranos survive living down South? Simple. You can't shoot a guy full of holes after eating chicken and pastry, spoon bread, okra, and tomatoes.

What does a Southern woman consider grounds for divorce? When Daddy takes the kids out in public dressed in pajama tops and Tweety Bird swim socks. Again.

What is the Southern woman's opinion of a new "fat virus" theory? Bring it on! We've got a lot of skinny friends we need to sneeze on.

Want to become honest-to-Jesus white trash? Spend two weeks' salary on hair extensions and pancake makeup for your three-year-old so she can win a five-dollar trophy in the Wee Tiny Miss pageant and the adoration of, well, nobody much.

What does the Southern woman think of Paul McCartney's marriage to a model thirty years younger? We're not surprised. Statistically speaking, it's almost impossible for billionaires to discover that their soulmates are fifty-five and restocking the shampoo end caps at Kmart.

In this wickedly funny follow-up to her bestselling Bless Your Heart, Tramp, Celia Rivenbark welcomes you, once again, to the south she loves, the land of "Mama and them's," "precious and dahlin," and mommies who mow. Ya'll come back now, you hear.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After winning Southern women's hearts with her SEBA bestseller Bless Your Heart, Tramp in 2000, Rivenbark has penned a new-and equally sidesplitting-collection of essays, offering Northern and Southern sisters alike a woman's "take on those irksome little yuks in daily life." Although she warns certain readers (Yankees, namely) that they may need a Southern lexicon to decipher her folksy, down-home prose style, Rivenbark's focus on familiar topics like family, relationships and child rearing should appeal to most females, regardless of geography or age. Marked by a feisty, sarcastic tone and tempered with plenty of cries of "yoo hoo" and "Well, shit," even chapter titles (e.g., "Stop Watching Your Plasma TV and Start Selling Your Plasma: How to Become Honest-to-Jesus White Trash" and "Here Comes the Bride: Let's Just Get 'Em Hitched Sometime Before We See the Head") don't escape the author's wry humor. The most mundane situations become laugh-out-loud scenarios. When, for example, Rivenbark is confronted by the "Pre-School Nazis" and intimidating "granola moms" at her four-year-old's school, she admits asking her daughter to lie about what she had for breakfast (a foil-wrapped breakfast bar instead of the required "scrambled eggs, a bowl of real oatmeal-the kind you have to cook on top of the, uh, you know, stove-two slices of whole wheat toast and a glass of soy milk"). Rivenbark is a hoot, and her book will be best enjoyed while listening to the Allman Brothers Band and eating "a plate of, what else? collards and cornbread." Agent, Jenny Bent. (Jan.) Forecast: Rivenbark's latest could hit regional lists, aided by a regional author tour, national print publicity, an author appearance at SEBA and a Book Sense campaign. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"The most mundane situations become laugh-out-loud scenarios ... Rivenbark is a hoot."

Publishers Weekly


"I loved Celia's book; it made me want to get myself a doublewide, head on down to Mama and them's, and start mowing my own lawn. I never knew that Southern folk had time set aside from cooking the best food in the world to grow such marvelous senses of humor. For a Yankee like me, Southern life has always been fascinating, but who knew it was so pants-wetting funny (like watching a hillbilly bang his head repeatedly on the door of the outhouse, because I've seen that, you know)? And there's also the mention of 'making doody,' which is always a shoo-in for me. Celia's book rocks; everyone is going to love it.

P.S.: How much prettier is she than me?"—Laurie Notaro, author of The Idiot Girls' Action Adventure Club

"When the aliens come to study us, I hope they find Celia Rivenbark's work prominently displayed. She is one of our greatest domestic anthropologists, digging up and airing all those things we like to think others don't know. In other words, the truth. She knows the South and she knows women, but that's just the tip of it all. I think she might very well know everything. I don't know when I have laughed so loud and so long. I am forever a devoted fan."—Jill McCorkle, author of Creatures of Habit

"Celia Rivenbark's collection of essays, We're Just Like You, Only Prettier, is a must-read for anybody who wants a funny, no-holds-barred look at today's South, from white trash in all its glorious permutations, to Yuppiedom."—Haywood Smith, author of The Red Hat Club

"I laughed so hard reading this book, I began snorting in an unbecoming fashion. I loved it nonetheless. I'll be sending copies to everyone, especially my baby's daddy."—Haven Kimmel, author of A Girl Named Zippy

"I thought I was Southern until I read Celia Rivenbark's book. . . . What a funny, smart, and irreverent writer she is!"—Lee Smith, author of The Last Girls

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St. Martin's Press
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Read an Excerpt

We're Just Like you, Only Prettier

By Celia Riverbark

St. Martin's Press

Celia Rivenbark
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-312-31243-1

Chapter One

Your Kid's Fever's So High, the Others are Standing Around Her With Marshmallows on Sticks

Last August marked my 4-year-old's first foray into formal education, where, presumably, she would learn how to use words like "foray." At first, the preschool experience provided loads of "me time." While my daughter attentively studied one letter per week, I finally had time to get my roots done and eat lunch with friends in the kind of restaurants where there's no changing table in the restroom, foods ending in the word "fingers" or a menu that can also be worn as a hat.

My newfound freedom was short-lived because by Week 8 (the week of "H" as in "hacking cough") Sophie had already had two colds, a stomach virus, an ear infection and a mysterious rash. The Doogie working at the local "urgent" clinic-urgent being somewhat optimistic as we spent two and a half hours with the only reading material a breast self-exam pamphlet which some funster had added nipple hair to-said the rash was "kinda gross." We left before he could proclaim my daughter's sore throat "gnarly."

Out the door and prescriptions in hand, I shook my head sadly and realized that I could've been a great doctor, much better than Doogie. I had always planned to attend medical school but there was just one thing I couldn't get past. I could notdo ass work.

Every time I thought about helping and healing the sick, I felt a surge of pleasure until I reminded myself that there would inevitably be ass work.

Driving out of the clinic's parking lot, I wondered, for the bazillioneth time why I couldn't have just specified "no ass work" on my med school application if things had gotten that far.

The truth is, preschool diseases-all diseases-fascinate me. I've watched enough medical shows on The Learning Channel to easily pass the boards in a number of sub-specialties.

Heart, lung, brain stuff, I would've been terrific, no doubt. But anything below the navel, well ...

"You'll need someone else if you want to show me your ass," I would say, looking compassionate but firm in my starched white lab coat and serious-but-hip doctor glasses.

I know what you're thinking: Why not psychiatry or dermatology? Well, dermatology still offered the threat of a stubborn pimple on the ass. Unless, I could have opened a "Just Faces!" practice, like those vets who only do cats and small birds.

As for psychiatry, there's probably no ass work per se but you have a bunch of whiny asses coming in all day long. Nope, too close to the metaphorical rectal region for comfort.

I have tremendous respect for those who do ass work. What bravery to hang one's shingle out proclaiming "Practice restricted to diseases of the head, foot, throat and ass."

As we headed into the drug store to fill Doog's prescription, I wondered just how much this was going to set me back. The big pharmaceutical companies are reporting record profits while drug-poor seniors pop tops on cans of Alpo every night for supper. What do they DO with all that money? They say it's all about R&D, research and development, that is, which is not to be confused with R&B or B&D, both of which are infinitely more fun.

I also remembered early warnings from friends who said that preschool would set us up for all sorts of sorts of contagious ailments that would lay the kids out like tiny Old Navy-clad dominoes.

One mom told me that a mean strain of an intestinal bug was making the rounds, apparently spread by kids who didn't wash their hands after making doody. She said it just like that, "making doody." She's 42 and flies her own airplane. God help us all.

Because this bug could keep kids home for a week or more, I decided to spy on my daughter's classmates to make sure they were washing their nasty little mitts with soap and warm water.

Sure, the staff asked me to vacate the premises after the first three weeks but I must tell you that my research revealed that you should probably never hold hands with little boys whose first initial is TYLER .

Back at the drugstore, the line was long. Everybody was sick, it seemed. It reminded me of the lines at the grocery store last year when all the docs ran out of flu shots, but, strangely, you could get still get one at the Piggly Wiggly.

I still haven't gotten past the whole grocery store as health care center trend. I don't want to have a glaucoma screening, blood pressure or diabetes check at the supermarket. What's next? Pap smears beside the succotash? Cardiac catheterizations sharing an aisle with the canned sausage?

After another half-hour or so, we got the prescriptions filled and Sophie managed to make it to the letter "M" week without another ailment. But then ...

Let's just say it: There should be a reserved seat in hell-where "Thomas the Tank Engine" starring Peter Fonda in the worst children's movie of all time plays on all 16 screens at Satan's Sin-a-plex- for parents who bring a kid with a 102-degree fever to school. ("What? She looks pale and clammy to you? Oh, she gets that from her father. Toodles!")

Don't they know they'll be summoned back to school by the stern voice of the principal on the answering machine? ("Could you please pick up Tonya Sue? Her fever's so high, the other kids are standing around her with marshmallows on sticks.")

Meanwhile, every kid at school is incubating the latest butt-kickin' virus and spreading it to the grownups at home.

The way I see it, thanks to some inconsiderate hussy who didn't want to cancel her seaweed wrap, I have wicked pinkeye and sound as if I'm going to cough up a Passat. Wagon.

My daughter announced during "Q" week that her friend had missed three days of school because she had "the Romeo."

It took some digging to discover that what she meant was pneumonia. Frankly, I liked Romeo much better and intend to use it if I ever feel my lungs rapidly filling with fluid. ("C'mon, Doc, don't sugarcoat it; you and I both know I've got the Romeo.")

It's funny how when you try to correct kids, they can get downright belligerent considering that you basically control 100 percent of the Ring-Pop distribution in the household.

"It's pneumonia, honey," I said.

(Loudly) "No, Mommie, you must mean Ru-monia." And, then, apparently in full preschool teacher mode, she added: "Now watch my face and say it after me, ru-moan-ee-ya."

To which I just sighed deeply, suddenly very sad to have finished my wine, and dutifully recited: "Rumonia." Which can also be spelled u-n-c-l-e.

Some parents have told me that, practically speaking, it's actually a good thing to get these diseases out of the way now so the kids will be immune to them by the time they start Real School . That makes sense. I think I'll just crash my car to make sure the airbags are working, too. Who are these M-is-for-mo-rons?

Of course alphabets and diseases aren't the only things you learn at preschool. Last week, my daughter shocked me by asking for help settling a playground debate: Did babies come out of your belly button or from Nordstrom's?

Sex talk? At 4? Oh, holy hell. I hadn't planned this for at least eight more years.

Hadn't I done the best I could do? Didn't I yank Legally Blonde out of the VCR mere seconds after my daughter asked me softly, "Mommie, what's a bastard?"

I launched a rambling 10-minute, age-appropriate discussion about how babies are a gift from heaven. So sue me. The exact details can come later, on the school bus or under the bleachers where every kid learns them.

If the Romeo doesn't get 'em, that is.


Excerpted from We're Just Like you, Only Prettier by Celia Riverbark Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Celia Rivenbark is the author of Bless Your Heart, Tramp. She writes a weekly column, "From the Belle Tower," for the Sun News in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, with her husband and daughter.

Celia Rivenbark is the author of the award-winning bestsellers Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank; Bless Your Heart, Tramp; Belle Weather; and You Can’t Drink All Day If You Don’t Start in the Morning. We’re Just Like You, Only Prettier won a Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Book Award for nonfiction and was a finalist for the James Thurber Prize for American Humor. Born and raised in Duplin County, North Carolina, Rivenbark grew up in a small house “with a red barn out back that was populated by a couple of dozen lanky and unvaccinated cats.” She started out writing for her hometown paper. She writes a weekly, nationally syndicated humor column for the Myrtle Beach Sun News. She lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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We're Just Like You, Only Prettier 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Sarah Sands More than 1 year ago
Bought based solely on title...so glad I did!! Hilarious book..easy read...comic relief from the mundane. Highly recommend!!
BillieJo Partridge More than 1 year ago
laughed so much that my husband would ask me not to read this book in bed! I'm a fan!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reminds me a little of the Sweet Potato Queen books, if you've read those. I'll read more of her funnies!
Rachel11 More than 1 year ago
Same as another review - I brought the book based on the title and could not stop laughing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some funny sections, others not so much; definitely a mixed bag. Not worth the money, in my opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Somr funny things...not worth your money.
EllenKuo More than 1 year ago
Laugh out loud. A lot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Laugh out loud funny.  I'm a Texas girl and it never occurred to me that "mama and them" would sound unusual to the rest of the world.  Love her style, can't wait to read her other books!
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