cover of book

Tell the World You're a Wildflower: Stories
by Jennifer Horne
University of Alabama Press, 2014
eISBN: 978-0-8173-8777-8 | Cloth: 978-0-8173-1845-1
Library of Congress Classification PS3608.O76275A6 2014
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.6

Tell the World You’re a Wildflower is a collection of loosely interwoven stories in the voices of southern women and girls of different ages and backgrounds. Beginning with the youngest characters and ending with the oldest, the stories encompass plastic surgery and white supremacists, family secrets and family trees, the United Daughters of the Confederacy and a young writer who describes her work in progress as “the bastard love-child of William Faulkner and Alice Walker.”
In Tell the World You’re a Wildflower, each character must decide what to tell, whether to tell it, and to whom to tell it. Each struggles with questions of identity and truth, trying to understand who she is and what holds true for her. Some tell their stories plainly, directly, others more obliquely, nesting one within another. Anchored in the tradition of southern storytelling, these women contend with loss, change, and growth while going to church, school, and prison, navigating love and sex, and worrying too much about what people might think.
Yet these women generally refuse to behave, and they wander in and out of each other’s stories just like people do in small towns across the South. Small town lives are always interconnected: your third-grade teacher is your new neighbor’s aunt and the boy you dated your senior year falls from political grace after being caught in a hot tub with your second cousin. Though they may have had little say in where they were planted, Horne’s protagonists nevertheless do their best to bloom.
Rich, multifaceted, and unforgettable, Tell the World You’re a Wildflower is the work of a veteran explorer of the twentieth and twenty-first century South. Horne’s quest to understand her culture through decades of reading and observing has now yielded these narratives that imaginatively and insightfully enter the hearts and minds of southern women.

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