Thom Geier
March 02, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

Mississippi Sissy

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Kevin Sessums
publisher
St. Martin's Press
genre
Nonfiction, Gay and Lesbian, Memoir

We gave it a B+

Growing up in 1960s Mississippi, celebrity journalist Kevin Sessums knew he was different, as he writes in Mississippi Sissy: He adored Arlene Francis and playing dress-up. Then, when he was 7, his father, a basketball coach and local sports legend, died in a car accident; a year later, his beloved mama succumbed to esophageal cancer. The book sags in its middle passages — a one-day adventure picking cotton is stretched to accommodate lessons in race and class from former family domestic Matty May (in black dialect, no less). But Sessums builds momentum in the end, and affectingly recounts the tragic end of his mentor, an avuncular theater columnist who nudged him to leave the South for good. B+

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