There’s an accolade on the front cover of this book from Fannie Flagg, author of Fried Green Tomatoes: “I absolutely loved this book! What a joy to read!’. The blurb on the back cover compares the story to the movie Steel Magnolias. Both comparisons are apt. Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind is a Southern novel, humorous, slightly feminist, very feminine. Miss Julia is a wealthy Southern lady, recently widowed, who discovers that her late husband had a secret life that she knew nothing about. She also discovers over the course of the novel that she has resources within herself of which she was unaware. After years of being a submissive wife to a very controlling husband, Miss Julia is free to be herself, and the revelations and adventures that ensue are hilarious, if somewhat unbelievable at times.
Stereotypes abound in this book. There’s a corrupt TV preacher, a loose woman with a heart of gold, a hypocritical Presbyterian pastor who’s only interested in his church building program, a psychiatrist with a hidden agenda, and a loyal black servant/cook who aids Miss Julia in her escapades. As long as you take the stereotypes and the escapades with a grain of Southern salt, the book will be an enjoyable read. If you try to take it too seriously or spend time poking holes in the loosely woven plot, you’ll be disappointed. This is a light, amusing comedy–fun and not too taxing on the brain.
P.S. I looked around and found that Ann Ross has written several more “Miss Julia” books and that Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind is supposed to be made into a movie starring Dolly Parton and Shirley Maclaine. As far as I can tell, the movie project in still in the works and hasn’t quite come to fruition.