Synopses & Reviews
NPR commentator Hollis Gillespie's outrageously funny -- and equally heartbreaking -- collection of autobiographical tales chronicles her journey through self-reckoning and the worst neighborhoods of Atlanta in search of a home she can call her own. The daughter of a missile scientist and an alcoholic traveling trailer salesman, Gillespie was nine before she realized not everybody's mother made bombs, and thirty before she realized it was possible to live in one place longer than a six-month lease allows. Supporting her are the social outcasts she calls her best friends: Daniel, a talented and eccentric artist; Grant, who makes his living peddling folk art by a denounced nun who paints plywood signs with twisted evangelical sayings; and Lary, who often, out of compassion, offers to shoot her like a lame horse.
Hollis's friends help her battle the mess of obstacles that stand in her way -- including her warped childhood, in which her parents moved her and her siblings around the country like carnival barkers, chasing missile-building contracts and other whimsies, such as her father's dream to patent and sell door-to-door the world's most wondrous key-chain. A past like this will make you doubt you'll ever have a future, much less roots. Miraculously, though, Gillespie manages to plant exactly that: roots, as wrested and dubious as they are.
As Gillespie says, "Life is too damn short to remain trapped in your own Alcatraz." Follow her on this wickedly funny journey as she manages to escape again and again.
"[A] zesty memoir....Gillespie...is as charming as a friendly drunk who says one funny, impossible sentence after another....Sometimes tender, but mostly just wry and a bit wild, Gillespie's writing is like the best radio commentary, leaving fans hungry for more." Publishers Weekly
"[L]acking much of a through line...[this memoir] reads more like a collection of commentary and columns....Some [pieces] are quite successful, although the book isn't entirely compelling as a front-to-back read..." Keir Graff, Booklist
"Riotous...rib-crackingly funny." Vanity Fair
"Funny and moving. Completely compelling." San Francisco Chronicle
"Gillespie's irreverent wit and hilarious observations are reverberating far beyond the trailer park." Writer's Digest
“Raucous.” Entertainment Weekly
“Zesty.” Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Hollis Gillespie, a Writer's Digest Breakout Author of the Year, is a regular commentator on NPR's All Things Considered, the award-winning writer of "Mood Swing," a humor column published in Creative Loafing, Atlanta's major alternative weekly, and author of "The Ugly American," a travel column for Paste magazine. Also the author of Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch, which Vanity Fair called "rib-crackingly funny," she lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with two cats, an incontinent pit bull, and her six-year-old daughter.