Picture the stereotypical Southern woman. Cooking fried chicken, swinging on the front porch, cheering on her favorite SEC team, sipping on some sweet tea. Now multiple that by about 650, and you’ve got Sophie Hudson and her book A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet. And let’s just take a moment to recognize that her blog is titled Boo Mama. I adore her.
In the sweetness of family, there’s always a little salt–pain, death, fighting, sickness, and the occasional crazy in-law. Though Sophie’s family isn’t perfect, the trials she unfolds in this book show she is blessed–which is refreshing to see transparency, even in the little issues. But, if you’re looking for a deeper book to get you through some super rough patches, this probably won’t give you tons of wisdom. Her family loves deep and hard. It’s a pretty shallow look at the realities of lots of people’s lives, but I was able to connect and laugh my way through.
Due to her use of ALL CAPS, the way she captures conversations, and how she can poke fun without being mean, I felt like I was drinking coffee alongside Sophie while reading A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet. Her tone exudes this sense of comfort and familiarity, and I found myself reading her book in an internal Southern drawl. I actually went to YouTube after reading her introduction just to get a grip on the accent. (In case you were wondering, the voice in my head nailed it. This woman is a hoot.)
It took me about a month to get through, which is longer I expected out of a book just over 200 pages. Her writing style is fun to read, but she writes as if she’s talking and goes off on rants, forcing her to backtrack a bit sometimes. While it wasn’t a page-turner, it was a book that I could return to, that I could anticipate laugh-out-loud humor from, and that, in the midst of a whole lot of funny, connected crazy (and relatable) family stories to truth about the Lord, His faithfulness, and His love.
Let me just give you a rundown of some chapter titles: A Denominational Showdown in the Frozen Food Aisle. When Prayer Meeting Includes a Cocktail Hour. The Unexpected Ministry of the Cowbell. Saturday Lunch and the Fine Art of Funeral Planning.
Favorite character: Her mother-in-law, Martha, who is a firecracker of a five-foot-nothing woman and adds the article “the” to all stores and restaurants. Example: the Dillards, the Outbacks, the Western Sizzlin’, the Cracker Barrel, etc.
As per usual, I’ll share some favorite blurbs. Disclaimer: this book makes it HARD to pick a few. Because I snorted-laughed all month long.
On sort of/not really wanting to be a mom:
“I did enjoy dolls in the sense that they were nice to look at and all that, but mostly I just liked to have my dolls nap in my room while I sat with Mama on the couch in the den and watched Guiding Light and Match Game.“
On legacies of faith:
“And what I know beyond a shadow of a doubt…is that if our generation wants the phrase legacy of faith to mean anything at all to those kids around the table–if we want to go beyond sprouting one more piece of Christian lingo that sounds really pretty but holds precious little significance in their lives–then we have to share our stories with them. We have to write them down, we have to say them out loud, we have to put away our phones and close our computers and linger at the table long after the meal is over. We have to make much of what God has done in our lives and what He continues to do. After all, why in the world would we keep our firsthand experiences with His faithfulness, His grace, His kindness, His mercy, and His joy all to ourselves?
On being at a sweltering hot wedding:
“I’ve spent most of my life steeped in a deeply traditional Protestant church culture, but that day? When my sizzling scalp and I encountered the sweet relief of an indoor environment where the thermostat was set to a brisk sixty-two degrees? I may have spoken in tongues.”
“I looked like I’d thrown on a dress in the car after finishing the ten-to-four shift on the highway repaving crew…I looked like I’d run a half marathon even though I’d just been, you know, standing.“
On her mother-in-law’s struggle to gain weight:
“I don’t have the foggiest idea what it’s like to have to work at gaining weight. Because while I’m not good at much, gaining weight is something that I seem to be able to do fairly effortlessly. Perhaps I’m just gifted in that area. In fact, maybe I should volunteer to be Martha’s weight-gaining mentor. I feel that I could be of some service. Blessed to be a blessing!”
On the idolatry of football:
“I want so much more for Alex Hudson than thinking the end-all, be-all of life is to sit in a stadium and watch twenty-two guys battle it out on a field. I want so much more for him than viewing the numbers on a scoreboard as a gauge for happiness…Because what I want for him more than anything else is for him to follow Jesus with every bit of the fervor, passion, and excitement we saw that day in Starkville. If he is going to completely abandon himself to any purpose, any cause, any great good, please, Lord, let it be Jesus.“
A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet won’t hit my top 10 list anytime soon, but it was light, refreshing, and reminded me to be grateful for family–even the cuckoo ones. Let me know if you want to borrow it!