Sunday, April 15, 2007

MISSISSIPPI SISSY by Kevin Sessums (2007)

This memoir will make you laugh until you weep and then make you weep again. Sessums is a longtime contributing editor to VANITY FAIR and ALLURE and this first book has launched him to superstardom with its directness and moving prose.

Born in the south to an NBA player for the New York Knicks and his adorable wife, Sessums became the man of the house when his father was killed in a car crash when Kevin was only seven and then his mother died of cancer a year later. Kevin and his younger siblings Kim and Karole were raised by their maternal grandparents. To cope, Kevin divined an imaginary friend, a little Black girl he named Epiphany and chanelled Arlene Francis, his t.v. idol from What's My Line--that campy socialite who flounced about in evening gowns and wore a black silk eyemask dotted with diamond chips.

Sessums read at Harborfront last week and won me over with the authenticity of his voice. If you want to treat yourself, get yourself a copy of this book and watch the author emerge in this fine portrait of the artist as a young man.

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