Rosen, Rob. “Southern Fried”, MLR Press, 2011.
It is All about Love
Rob Rosen is one of my favorite writers mainly because he writes with some clever wit. In “Southern Fried”, Rosen handles the delicate topic of love in ways that make you smile while still showing the importance of love in the world. The story is about Trip Jackson and his stable boy Zeb Jones. The two have a series of adventures that will put a smile on your face (if not an ear-to-ear grin). Having been raised in the South, I found it so easy to identify with what Rosen has to say here.
Trip is the narrator and the major character and we see things through his eyes. When he goes back home for his grandmother’s funeral, he sees that everywhere around him is deceit and blackmail, and he enlists his stable boy/lover, Zeb, to try to find out what secrets are being hidden in the family’s closets.
If you have ever been to the South, then you know that it is true that there are some beautiful men there, and Rosen has done a good job of gathering them up and putting them in his book, and quite naturally there is a lot of sexual coupling, etc. At the center is the story of Trip and Zeb, but there are many other characters that seem to make their romance tenuous. The characters are fun and interesting especially when they help elaborate the theme of family, background and heritage which are so important to the sons of the Confederacy. And if you need a lesson on what Southerners eat, you can get that here as well.
The plot is filled with twists and turns and it is quite a winding road to get to the conclusion which is jam-packed with action. Everyone gets what’s coming to them. I am sure that some will feel that a lot of the action is over the top, but that is what I think what makes this book succeed. Rosen has had a history of creating some really interesting characters and he does so once again here.
I just want to add that the love that Rosen writes about is more than just physical (although there is plenty of that). He writes about familial love, love between friends and love of heritage and love of self.