Enchanted Evening Barbie and the Second Coming: A Memoir

Product Details
$24.95  $23.20
NewSouth Books
Publish Date
6.2 X 8.1 X 0.9 inches | 0.9 pounds
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About the Author
RHETA GRIMSLEY JOHNSON has covered the South for over three decades as a newspaper reporter and columnist. She writes about ordinary but fascinating people, mining for universal meaning in individual stories. In past reporting for United Press International, The Commercial Appeal of Memphis, the Atlanta Journal Constitution and a number of other regional newspapers, Johnson has won national awards. They include the Ernie Pyle Memorial Award for human interest reporting (1983), the Headliner Award for commentary (1985), the American Society of Newspaper Editors' Distinguished Writing Award for commentary (1982). In 1986 she was inducted into the Scripps Howard Newspapers Editorial Hall of Fame. In 1991 Johnson was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. Syndicated today by King Features of New York, Johnson's column appears in about 50 papers nationwide. She is the author of several books, including America's Faces (1987) and Good Grief: The Story of Charles M. Schulz (1989). In 2000 she wrote the text for a book of photographs entitled Georgia. A native of Colquitt, Georgia, Johnson grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, studied journalism at Auburn University and has lived and worked in the South all of her career. In December 2010, Johnson married retired Auburn University history professor Hines Hall.
Enchanted Evening Barbie and the Second Coming, marries relaxed-yet-refined syntax with humor and honesty in essays at once robust, refined, and profound. As Johnson's title suggests, her eclectic style evokes pure enchantment.-- "Louisville Courier-Journal"
Full of charming tales, columnist Rheta Grimsley Johnson's memoir should be a delightful addition to many summer reading lists. [A]n excellent, compelling memoir. While Johnson's wit is on the mark here in many fabulous turns of phrase, the struggles inherent in establishing a writing career and facing life with integrity and honesty are what really make this a worthwhile read ... Her economy with words makes the memoir a lively read, and she has a knack for getting to poignant truths. This memoir should by rights earn Johnson some additional kudos.-- "Texarkana Gazette"
Enchanted Evening Barbie and The Second Coming could rank as the most striking title for any book published this year. The accompanying story is equally memorable, touching on Johnson's Southern childhood, her many years as a newspaper columnist, and her more recent challenges with life as a widow.-- "The Baton Rouge Advocate"
[A] notable story of a devoted journalist.-- "Publishers Weekly"
In Enchanted Evening Barbie and the Second Coming, Rheta Grimsley Johnson, armed with a sizzling wit and a generosity of spirit, examines the adventures, joys, and mistakes of a lifetime. Whether reflecting on wrongful love, teen salvation, her career as a journalist, or cut-rate Barbie dolls, she whittles on down below the surface, revealing the lessons of a good life honestly and fearlessly lived.--Melissa Delbridge "author of Family Bible"
Everyone may have a story but not necessarily a story that the rest of us want to hear. The good ones have perspective, emotional highs and lows, sharp writing, strange places, revealing glimpses of famous people, and humor. Now [Rheta Grimsley Johnson] has written a memoir, which comes out next week. It's a good one. After writing thousands of columns and driving a million miles to write about other people, she has earned memoirist's rights. [This is] a book that, like a country song, has episodes of Momma, friendship, and violence, but also leaves some things unsaid.--John Branston "Memphis Flyer"
Rheta Grimsley, like Hemingway at his best, tells you no more and no less than you need or want to know. She is dedicated to truth, and her rare talent is that she consistently speaks to your mind and your heart at the same time.--Greg Guirard "author of Atchafalaya Autumn"
If you are burned out on memoirs, read Enchanted Evening Barbie anyway. In fact, don't miss it. It is superb. It is honest, intelligent, sad, funny, and above all, it is beautifully written. Sentence by sentence you won't find a better-written memoir in the recent past. I couldn't put this book down.--Lewis Nordan "author of Wolf Whistle"
Reading Rheta Grimsley Johnson is like reading your best friend's diary, or your own. She is honest to a fault--no self-aggrandizing or pomp and circumstance here. She writes of love, sorrow, misfortune, and Southern humor in a way that gives us insight into our own life stories. Hers is a true voice of the South, akin to Rick Bragg, Dixie Carter, and Lewis Grizzard. Johnson writes with a Southern accent, and our hearts hear all the beauty of it.--Loretta Gillespie "The Moulton Advertiser"
[A] courageous and heartfelt memoir. [The short vignettes] are by turns funny, revealing, and painful. Johnson writes beautifully [and] honestly.--John Sledge "Mississippi Press"
Although [Rheta] often has shared her personal life with readers, some may be surprised that she's endured enough sorrow to fill several lifetimes. Yet her new memoir, Enchanted Evening Barbie and the Second Coming (NewSouth Books) won't have readers wallowing in pity. Rather, they'll likely marvel at her good humor and honesty and be inspired by her work ethic, which has been particularly important in difficult times.--Kathy Kemp "The Birmingham News"
Rheta Grimsley Johnson pours her heart and sardonic soul into this lovely memoir.--Teresa Weaver "Atlanta Magazine"
Some people just have a talent for capturing this hard and sorry ol' life and putting it in a sack, then opening it up for all of us to see. Rheta Grimsley Johnson writes with nothing short of beauty about childhood, lost loves, sad dogs, and everything else worth knowing about.--Rick Bragg "author of The Prince of Frogtown and Ava's Man"
[Rheta] puts it all on the line.--Joan Davis "The Hammond Daily Star"
Each essay, written in true Rheta-style, only added to my assurance that I was reading something wise, something witty, something wonderful, something oh-so worthwhile. I slowly savored each essay, feeling after each that I'd had a heart-to-heart conversation with the writer. [T]here is something for everyone. To paraphrase the late Selma Diamond from an episode of Night Court, you will laugh, you will cry, it will become a part of you. You will be grateful you have chosen to give [this book] a read. And you will want to tell others to do the same.--Leslie Criss "Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal"
[A] moving, utterly believable memoir ... Sweet and then bittersweet.--Don Noble, Alabama Public Radio