Southern Scribe
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 Memoir Review   

 
Homesick
By Sela Ward
Regan Books, 2002
Hardcover, $24.95 (257 pages)
ISBN: 0-06-039436-6
 
 
 

When Southerners leave the south, they always seem to find one another. The topic of conversation often turns to food, family, culture, and a longing to incorporate the best parts of a southern childhood into a busy life.

The actress turned author, best known for her roles on the television series "Once & Again" and "Sisters," returns to her hometown in her first memoir. Readers expecting a tell all or name-dropping need to look elsewhere. The good manners Ward's mother taught her have remained with her. She even muses on the possibilities of sending her daughter to charm school.

Growing up in Meridian, Mississippi, Sela was the oldest of four children. In her introduction she writes, "This is the story of home. It is the story of a girl raised in a gentle town in the Deep South, cradled by family and friends, worshiping Bear Bryant on Saturday night and Jesus Christ on Sunday morning ...." Her father encouraged Sela, instilling self-confidence, while her mother taught the importance of respect, grace, and kindness.

After high school, Ward attended the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. She insisted on driving herself as a way of asserting her newly found independence. Pledging a sorority and being a cheerleader offered her a social circle and looking back, she realizes Tuscaloosa was an extension of the gentle life she'd had in Meridian but she certainly FELT she'd gone away.

Her first job took her to Memphis (the story's too funny to give away in a review) and prepared Sela as well as her parents for her ultimate move to New York. Her first move was the hardest for all of them. Like many aspiring actresses, she did some modeling work and took acting lessons. Deciding to take a chance, she moved to Los Angeles but maintained her apartment in New York for a year.

Professional success followed but finding personal success took a bit longer. Ward, between relationships, was introduced to her husband, Howard, on a blind date by a mutual friend. After introducing her fiancé to her family, she found herself wanting to spend more time in Mississippi creating the family life she'd enjoyed as a child. They've bought a farm, building a second home, and a retreat for themselves and their two children.

Filled with anecdotes, humor, charm, and warmth, Homesick reads like a letter between best friends.

 

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews 

 

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