Boomama is a popular blog by Sophie Hudson that I’ve read off and on through the years, so I was happy to find a book of hers on sale for the Kindle a while back: A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon.
The book mainly is anecdotes about Sophie’s real life extended family and their quirks, interactions, and funny moments, undergirded with faith and life lessons.
As she says in her introduction:
We’re no strangers to the drama. I will say, however, that my grandparents set a high standard in terms of how they expected us to treat each other, so even when we’re aggravated, we’re much more apt to talk about it than to storm out of a room. On top of that, this book is not meant to be An Airing of the Grievances; it’s meant to be a celebration of family.”
The best way to express the flavor of the book is to give you a few excerpts. Some of her chapter titles are:
Not to Mention That Her Apple Tarts Would Change Your Whole Life
The Saga of the Homemade Biscuits
A Denominational Showdown in the Frozen Foods Aisle
For Better, For Worse, and in the Increasingly Likely Chance of Heatstroke
Because Nothing Says “Welcome” Like Rifling Through a Handbag
Saturday Lunch and the Fine Art of Funeral Planning
Because Nothing Says “Happy Anniversary” like Eight Pounds of Bacon
Some other sections I particularly enjoyed:
As we share our stories with those people God has specifically ordained to walk with us on this side of eternity—and as they share their stories with us—we see the sacred in the ordinary. We see the profound in the mundane. We see the joy in the day to day. We see the hand of God writing a much bigger story—a story of rescue and redemption and hope and glory. Right here in the middle of the hilarious and the tragic and the sublime and the sad.
Watching and learning from Mama and the other women in my family gave me a deep love for home and hearth and taking care of people. I knew from a young age that there was eternal value in those things.
Like Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, I saw the effortless grace and elegance of the women around me and realized that “there was some skill involved in being a girl,” and I knew I didn’t just want to grow up and be a woman. I wanted to grow up and be a lady.
I think it’s safe to say that I spent a significant portion of third grade standing at the intersection of Nerdy and Oblivious.
I loaded two carts to overflowing before you could say, “This celebratory meal appears to be somewhat high in trans fats.”
Family life isn’t always easy, and complications are inevitable, and whether you like it or not, sometimes you’re going to get your feelings hurt. Sometimes you may even be the one who does the hurting. But you stay with it, and you get after it, and you love each other, and you forgive each other, and you keep coming back to the table. No matter what. You keep coming back to the table. And once you’re there, you sit down, and you settle in, and you remember. You share your stories.
I’m glad the editors let Sophie’s penchant for ALL CAPS and multiple parentheses remain, because they’re just so characteristically her.
I’ll admit that every now and then I felt a little like a guest at someone else’s family reunion, but that quickly faded as I got into the stories. Overall a very pleasant read.
(Sharing with Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books, Literary Musing Monday, Carole’s Books You Loved)