Get a free audiobook

Southern Lady Code

Written by: Helen Ellis
Narrated by: Helen Ellis
Length: 3 hrs and 11 mins
Price: CDN$ 26.32
CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

"I loved it." (Ann Patchett)

The best-selling author of American Housewife - "Dark, deadpan and truly inventive." (The New York Times Book Review) - is back with a fiercely funny collection of essays on marriage and manners, thank-you notes and three-ways, ghosts, gunshots, gynecology, and the Calgon-scented, onion-dipped, monogrammed art of living as a Southern lady.

Helen Ellis has a mantra: "If you don't have something nice to say, say something not-so-nice in a nice way." Say "weathered" instead of "she looks like a cake left out in the rain". Say "early-developed" instead of "brace face and B cups". And for the love of Coke salad, always say "Sorry you saw something that offended you" instead of "Get that stick out of your butt, Miss Prissy Pants". 

In these 23 raucous essays, Ellis transforms herself into a dominatrix Donna Reed to save her marriage, inadvertently steals a $795 Burberry trench coat, witnesses a man fake his own death at a party, avoids a neck lift, and finds a black-tie gown that gives her the confidence of a drag queen. 

While she may have left her home in Alabama, married a New Yorker, forgotten how to drive, and abandoned the puffy headbands of her youth, Helen Ellis is clinging to her Southern accent like mayonnaise to white bread and offering listeners a hilarious, completely singular view on womanhood for both sides of the Mason-Dixon.

Several pieces in this collection originally appeared in the following publications: “Making a Marriage Magically Tidy” in the New York Times column “Modern Love” (June 2, 2017); “How to Stay Happily Married” in Paper Darts (Winter 2017); “Tonight We’re Gonna Party Like It’s 1979” in Eating Well (November/December 2017); “How to Be the Best Guest” as “An American’s Guide to Being the Best Guest” in Financial Times (March 2016); and “When to Write a Thank-You Note” in Garden & Gun (February/March 2018). 

©2019 Helen Ellis (P)2019 Random House Audio

What the critics say

“Thank you Helen Ellis for writing down the Southern Lady Code so that others may learn. As a Southern Lady myself, I can not only confirm the veracity of the facts, I can tell you the book made me laugh like a hyena. A true Southern Lady loves anything that is both funny and profound, which this book is, so I loved it.” (Ann Patchett)

"A vibrant storyteller with a penchant for the perverse, Ellis nonfiction in this ribald collection of essays on manners, morals, and marriage, all colored by her off-kilter Alabama upbringing.... Ellis’ sharp eye for pop-culture preoccupations inspires smart-mouthed provocations.... Ellis is a strong, vivid writer - and this book is gut-busting funny." (Publishers Weekly)

"By turns lighthearted and heart-wrenching.... Reminiscent of each character from the TV sitcom Designing Women, Ellis’ wonderfully amusing writing is hard to put down, and this book is no exception." (Library Journal, starred review)

More from the same

What members say

No reviews are available