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Praise for Enchanted Evening Barbie and the Second Coming

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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.
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.
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.
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.
Everyone may have a story but not necessarily a story a 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. Rheta Grimslely Johnson is known to many Memphians as the author of a book about Cajun Country and a biography of "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz as well as a former columnist and award-winning reporter for The Commercial Appeal. Now she has written a memoir called Enchanted Evening Barbie and the Second Coming, which comes out next week. It's a good one.
[A] notable story of a devoted journalist.
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.
[A] moving, utterly believable memoir.
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.
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.
[Rheta] puts it all on the line.
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.
[A] courageous and heartfelt memoir. [The short vignettes] are by turns funny, revealing and painful. Johnson writes beautifully [and] honestly.
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.
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.
Rheta Grimsley Johnson pours her heart and sardonic soul into this lovely memoir.