HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: You Ain’t From Here, Are Ya?: Reflections on Southern Culture from an Outsider
Author: Miriam Jones Bradley
Publisher: Horse Shoe Press, 2015
Related website: http://www.miriamjonesbradley.com/ (author)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 13 and up
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Bradley, Miriam Jones. You Ain’t From Here, Are Ya?: Reflections on Southern Culture from an Outsider (published in 2015 by Horse Shoe Press, P. O. Box 673, Horse Shoe, NC 28742). Miriam Jones Bradley, author of the Double Cousins young people’s mystery series, was born in Castro Valley, CA, while her dad was in seminary. She grew up in Nebraska and Wyoming, went to college in Wisconsin as an adult, and landed in Rapid City, SD. Then, she married a Southerner, and after some time in south Florida, they wound up at Newberry, SC, in the “Midlands” of the state. The alternate subtitle of You Ain’t From Here, Are Ya? is “Being a Year of Observations for the Newberry Observer, Newberry, South Carolina.” In these delightful 59 newspaper columns, running from June, 2010, through August, 2011, she takes a lighthearted look around after she moves from the western and upper central United States to the South.
Miriam compares and contrasts what she finds with what she has known in the Midwest and West and comes up with both similarities and differences, occasional surprise, and frequent fun. Someone once told her, tongue-in-cheek, “I buy the newspaper for the obituaries and your column!” This comment shows how accepted she had become in spite of the adjustments needed by a nice Great Plains girl unexpectedly submerged in Southern Culture. Miriam’s solution was to write about it, and so began a year long conversation with her readers in the Newberry (SC) Observer. In addition to dispensing common sense on a number of topics, the articles talk about the importance of church, mention that her sister’s family homeschool their children, and generally promote an old-fashioned “Americanism” that is often sadly lacking in our society today.
I especially liked the following comment. “The other morning I spent over three hours pulling ragweed. You can do a lot of thinking in three hours. One thing I thought about was the similarity between pulling weeds and training children to do right in the midst of the world we live in. Like the plants, they need protection from the ‘weeds’ in this world that would like to take up all their space and choke out their ability to develop into the people they could and should be. It’s up to us to pull those ‘weeds’ and protect them until they are big enough to shade out the weeds themselves. They need the ‘mulch’ of good friends and positive influences in their lives while they are little. We hope as they grow older they will pull out their own ‘weeds’” (p. 92). Well put!