Lookaway, Lookaway by Wilton Barnhardt

Jerilyn’s mother barely manages a bloodless kiss on her cheek as she goes off to Chapel Hill to start college and she hopes, an adventure or two that her family wouldn’t approve of.   Jerilyn grudgingly performs the traditional rites of passage for a privileged southern teen, coming out as a debutante and pledging sororities with a determined resignation that her sister, Annie rails against. Annie moves confidently against the tide of southern convention asserting her sexuality at school and later becoming a subversive force for equal housing as a real estate agent in Charlotte. “I fully expect you to be married upon a mule in a national park, presided over by a hippie shaman in a cloud of incense smoke,” her mother, Jerene, says.

In Barnhardt’s thoroughly entertaining fashion, you will learn that the Johnstons trace their lineage all the way back to confederate glory and defeat.  The Johnston men including Jerene’s husband, Duke and brother Gaston, a writer, more than hold their own when the whole family is together for Christmas wrangling over the direction of the New South and reproductive rights at the celebration table. You will not be bored. You will learn how  racism is a convenient vehicle for classism or you may just decide to watch the fur fly.  Wilton Barnhardt who undoubtably delights his students at N.C. State, will be speaking at the East Regional Library, Wednesday, November 5 at 7 p.m.

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One Response to “Lookaway, Lookaway by Wilton Barnhardt”

  1. Best ‘New to Us’ Books in 2014: Martha S’s Picks | Wake County Libraries "Book a Day" Staff Pick Says:

    […] Lookaway, Lookaway by Wilton Barnhardt Meet the Johnstons: Jerene and Duke are the heads of a socially prominent, highly dysfunctional Charlotte family. Duke is an ardent Civil War reenactor; Jerene is the manager of the Jarvis trust, her family’s collection of landscapes by minor American artists. They are the parents of Annie, an outspoken, brash real estate person on her third marriage, minister Bo, gay son Joshua who is not officially out of the closet, naïve daughter Jerrilyn. There is also Jerene’s outrageous, dissolute brother, Gaston Jarvis, who has squandered his literary talent on a series of Southern potboilers. This is a blisteringly funny satire of just about any contemporary Southern thing you can think of.  Read another review. […]

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