Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I Love You, Miss Huddleston: and other inappropriate longings of my indiana childhood

by Philip Gulley
HarperOne, 2009

After enjoying Gulley's fictional Harmony series - tales of a Quaker pastor and his quirky congregation - I was sure I'd like reading snippets from memoirs of his childhood.

At times I shook with laughter, even as I read in public places. Gulley has an intuitive sense of the ridiculous and elevates the humour in real life through exaggeration. Try this on for size:

"'They call it the kissing disease, you know,' Dr. Kirtley said. 'Somebody been kissing you?' He winked at my mother.

"I had two aunts - big-lipped women who wore bright orange lipstick and stuck their lips to my cheeks like suction cups. Whenever they were within arm's length, they'd pull me to them and glom on to my cheek like a sucker fish. Now it appeared they had infected me. Killed by my big-lipped aunts."

While the book isn't a complete laugh-a-minute, it certainly has its fill of light-hearted moments. Thought-provoking at times, it calls to mind a time when life was simpler and relationships richer. Entertaining - a wonderful book to take with you to the cottage or wherever you vacation.

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