While most readers may not immediately recognize the author's name, many will be familiar with her TV work. She's written for Dynasty, The Waltons, Love Boat, and Knots Landing and is probably best known for the "Who Shot J.R.?" episode of Dallas. Her television background serves her well in this debut novel. Her timing is excellent and the plot twists are both delightful and surprising. Sissy LeBlanc lives by a code she calls "The Southern Belle's Handbook." When a pithy idea pops into her head, she instinctively knows how that code applies to her life. Sissy understands her role as granddaughter of a suffragette, daughter of a newspaper editor, wife of PeeWee, and mother of three, but lately she's been feeling restless. When her high school sweetheart comes back to Gentry, LA, after a 14-year absence, Sissy decides that it is time to make some changes in her life if they cause a little scandal, so be it. Readers may be reminded of the movies Fried Green Tomatoes and Something To Talk About. Despres's heroine has spunk, her villains get their comeuppance, and her ending is psychologically satisfying. Recommended for public libraries with large collections of women's fiction. Pam Kingsbury, Florence, AL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This enjoyable story started out as so much entertaining fluff, but about half-way through, it took on greater depth. Turns out, this is a touching and thought-provoking novel that illustrates how easy it is to lose ourselves. A worthwhile read with hilarious moments and a likeable protagonist.
I was pleasently surprised by this book. I had just gotten done reading a few "heavy" books so I thought I would switch is up and read something more light hearted and fluffy. While this started out fluffy, it eventually took on some very serious subject matter which made for an interesting story. I couldn't help but like Sissy and her "Southern Belles Handbook". She was not only funny but also very smart and sneaky. I disliked her husband Peewee and son Chip (what an evil child) and her father in law (for being such a pig, etc...) I was very satisfied with the ending. I would definately recommend this.
I took this book on vacation with me and it's probably the only time in my life that I couldn't wait to get back to my room - all because I was anxious to find out what Sissy did next! This is a great, fun, scandalous read!
I could not get into this book at all. I found it to be tedious and, at times, ridiculous. I felt the author put in twists just for the sake of putting in twists...and even they didn't hold my interest.
This debut novel by prominent television writer Despres (whose credits include the infamous "Who Shot J. R.?" episode of Dallas) tells the story of an unhappy housewife and the trouble she stirs up while conducting an adulterous love affair during the long, hot summer of 1956. Set in the small southern town of Gentry, Louisiana, this tale of lust, jealousy, and regret unfolds playfully amid a colorful cast of eccentric small-town characters. And although the story maintains a humorous bent, it doesn't shy away from addressing serious issues, such as racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, and sexual abuse. Sissy LeBlanc, married for 14 years to a man she detests and mother of three children she can barely stand, finds herself bored, lonely, and up for some excitement. Conveniently, her old high-school sweetheart mysteriously appears back in town. Their reacquaintance sets in motion a series of events that reveals shocking secrets and hard truths for many of the story's main characters. Fans of romance and contemporary women's fiction will especially enjoy this rather quirky novel.
It's okay for a woman to know her place. She just shouldn't stay there. Rule #59, The Southern Belle's Handbook. Sissy LeBlanc is probably the sexiest, wildest girl ever to live in Gentry, Lousiana, and the heroine of Loraine Depsres's hilariously diverting first novel. Hilarious and thought-provoking.
I didn't absolutely hate this book, but I definitely didn't love it either.
Overall I found the whole thing a bit contrived and boring. Told mostly from the viewpoint of a bored housewife of 14 years (who dropped out of high school at 16 to have her first child and get married), the language was inconsistent and the plot twists were weak and somewhat predictable.
While it had a happy ending, the journey itself left me cold.
A steamy Southern novel -- a wife and mother in a tolerable marriage, Sissy is astonished when her high school love returns to town. As we dig deeper, we learn Sissy, with her Southern Belle Handbook of rules for behavior, in fact has a more sordid history than we imagined. Builds to an unexpected climax in a story that I enjoyed following.
The excerpts from "The Southern Belle's Handbook" alone are enough to make this a must-read. The saga of Sissy LeBlanc is a heart- and mind-, not to mention body-, tangling bonus. The observations about Yankee women were so on target that I believe her views of the Southern belle as well. This is better than Tobacco Road.
This book will keep your attention. The heroine is a sweet and sexy woman who is still very connected with the girl she once was. There are scenes from the present and her teenage past which link the characters and situations together nicely. I was skeptical about reading it because I don't usually go for what is referred to as "chic-lit" but it was definitely a pleasant and interesting read. I enjoyed the southern tone and the small town setting.
A entertaining read. I have to say, I did not like the main character at all. However, about halfway through the book, I started to feel for her. After reading the beginning (and the back cover) of the book. I was so surprised at the end that I actually cheered! Quietly, of course. :)
If you're a fan of Southern fiction and you're in the mood for a light read, then be sure to read this book.
Sissy LeBlanc is a wild little character who, as a woman with limited resources within a small southern town, must come to terms with what it is to live by the rules of the Southern Belle Handbook. Though a pleasurable, fast read, the language the author employs is more enjoyable, in my estimation, than most chic lit novels. Despres seems to relish her words and comes up with creative ways to relay and describe familiar situations. The book is a guilty pleasure and a great summer read, as long as you are ready and assured that Sissy LeBlanc is no saint.
I loved this book set in the 40s and 50s. Sissy LeBlanc takes us back through her racey life as the high school head cheerleader going steady with the most popular high school football player and how it all falls apart. She ends up in "trouble" and marries PeeWee LeBlanc to seek revenge on his father, who the baby belongs to. The story takes place in a small south Louisiana town. We follow her life and her rules which she calls the rules of the Southern Belle's Handbook which she has borrowed from rules her grandmother has told her and Sissy modifies as they suit her situation and her needs. The characters in the story are developed well and are realistic. The story has a side line story of racisim intertwined skillfully.
A fun book that follows Sissy LeBlanc in 1950's Louisiana. She's in a drab marriage with three kids...and life is just dull. When her high school sweetheart Parker returns to town, she has to decide if she wants to stay with the status quo or go after her passions. Lots of scandal and twists.
It's okay for a women to know her place, She just shouldn't stay there.
Rule number 59, The Southern Belles handbook
Circa 1956 and Sissy LaBlanc is sitting on her front porch, wondering if she could kill herself with asprin and coca cola. She's been living in stifling old Gentry since the day she was born and trappin a sham of a marriage to Pee Wee Leblanc since she was only 17. In short, she's fe up,, restless and ready for an adventure.
WOW- I was riveted by this book and could not put it down. A "southern belle" who writes her won rules, falls in love again with her high school sweetheart- only problem is she is married with three kids to a crazy man AWESOME
The story of a Southern Belle who isn't quite convinced that she made the right decision in staying a Southern Belle--and who is trying to decide if she should have an affair with her high school boyfriend, who she really didn't want to break up with to begin with.
It's a steamy June afternoon in Louisiana, circa 1956, and Sissy LeBlanc is sitting on her front porch, wondering - half seriously - if she could kill herself with aspirins and coca-cola. Sissy never imagined temptation would come into her life as she sat smoking a cigarette. Although she may have been fixated on the taut muscles of the lineman shimmying down the telephone pole across the street, she hadn't allowed herself to imagine that he'd be none other than her high school sweetheart, Parker Davidson, who left town fourteen years ago without so much as a wave goodbye. But suddenly here he is, standing in her very own kitchen, sipping Coke over cracked ice and leaning in for a kiss that will stir up more excitement than Sissy could ever have imagined.
This isn't what I thought it was going to be. I was expecting light southern chick lit, but what I got was a bit more dark and edgy. Sissy LeBlanc definitely has a life full of scandal and with it being the 1950's everyone is poking their noses into it. I really liked this, it was an enjoyable read!