Don't Date Baptists and Other Warnings from my Alabama Mother

by Terry Barr

Following in the tradition of Alabama memoirist Rick Bragg, Don’t Date Baptists explores the world of Bessemer, Alabama, circa 1960's-70's from the eyes of a boy who grew up there, struggling to understand the divide of race, class, religion, and neighborhood anxiety. Essayist Terry Barr learns from his parents that not all love is the same; that certain neighbors are not to be trusted; that crosses and stars and popular music can with seamless metamorphosis signal danger, desire, hate, and deep abiding love. While public pools might be filled with clay to prevent integrated swimming, or so-called friends might slur those darker than themselves, this southern boy learns to appreciate how these incidents and relationships have challenged and molded him into the teacher, writer and unapologetic Bessemer man that he is.With humor and poignant authenticity, Barr captures what it means to come of age as the New South cuts its teeth, with much trial and terrible error, in territory that is rich and explosive, devastating and beautiful.