If you live on planet earth, I am sure you have seen Reese Witherspoon in a movie, or two, or maybe all of them. Have you ever wondered if her real persona was like any of her characters? Well, IT IS. She is the epitome of her book title “Whiskey in a Teacup: What Growing Up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, and Baking Biscuits.” She is what my grandmother would call, a firecracker. She truly does light up a room, and fill it with laughter, positivity and spunk. Just this weekend she made her way to the good ol’ South, touring several big southern cities, promoting her new book. I was lucky enough to attend this event, that embraced southern hospitality, while also empowering women to take on their dreams.
I’m not a celebrity type person. Gossip magazines at the checkouts, make me cringe. I don’t want to know what they are doing, and I could care less if I ever heard the Kardashian name again. In spite of that, I like Reese Witherspoon. First, I like how she is down-to-earth. Second, I like how she has really strong family values. But one of the biggest things I like about her, is how she encourages women to be power-driven and leaders, but also to be “WOMEN”. For this reason, I was very intrigued when I found out she was going on a book tour near me. Ticket’s sold out fast, very fast. The book didn’t even go on sale until one day before the tour started. I was itching to buy it, because I wanted to read it before seeing her, but I waited because a copy of the book was included with everyone’s ticket.
Dressing up is not something I do often. Fashion is not my strong point, because I am more of a ‘leggings and cardigan kind of gal.” I like fashion with beautiful colors and prints, but my go to color is usually black because it hides everything. I almost always choose comfort over fashion. I am a Mom after all. That being said, I knew this event was going to be bringing out all the “Elle Woods” from all over the South. So, I did something I rarely do, I painted my fingernails, wore a pretty dress, and my favorite pair of earrings. Happily enough, I fit right in with the rest of the ladies in attendance.
There was much excitement in the air. The female comradery was strong. You could feel the positive vibes as soon as you walked into the lobby. Southern women and all their charms, had taken over. I did see a couple of men, but not many. This was an event for the female spirit. For us to laugh, to relate and to feel good about ourselves.
When Reese came out, the audience went wild. Everyone stood up and cheered. She beamed and embraced all the love the audience was radiating her way. She sat down with the interviewer, and led an hour long conversation that felt like no time at all. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed listening to her talk about her daily life, her grandmother, and even doing an impression of Nicole Kidman’s Australian accent. On that note, I was also surprised at her own strong southern drawl.
Reese was full of positive vibes, grinning with every word she said. She talked about how all movies portray women as the “damsel in distress”. How no matter what, the character the woman plays, almost always turns to a man to ask, “What should we do?” She reminded the audience that in real-life, women really don’t do that. WE GET STUFF DONE! We juggle many roles, we are the “EVERYDAY Superhero”. Reese said she is out to change that role in Hollywood. To have more woman-led movies, that prove just how strong we are. So our little girls grow up to see movies that portray woman as resilient, able-bodied, and thriving.
Reese really captured the audience with her “girls can do anything” attitude. Everyone one cheered and agreed with what she had to say. The time seemed short because as we know, time passes when you are having fun. She really did light up the stage with just her very own sunshiny personality, that was relatable to all women. She doesn’t seem like a celebrity. She seems more like a friend you would hold dear. She is sassy, but yet a lady, the definition of a true southern girl.
That night after I got my kiddos in bed, I opened the book and I could have read it all in one sitting, but a Mom needs her sleep. It is such an easy read, with lots of recipes thrown in between. What I loved most about the book, is that it is inspired by her grandmother. I love that because I, as well, use my grandmother as inspiration in my own writing and in my every day life. My grandmother, was definitely “whiskey in a teacup”. Reese explains in her book, that the meaning of the title is [as women] “we may be delicate and ornamental on the outside, but inside we are strong and fiery.” That explains all of the fair and tender ladies of my childhood. The women who taught me how to be a woman myself. Put on your makeup, fix your hair, hold your head high, and take no crap from a man. Women are strong. Men are definitely physically strong, but women are stronger within. We are survivors, we can overcome. We are nurturers. We are mothers and I’ve never seen anyone stronger than a good mother.
In Reese’s book, she explains how being a lady was very important to her grandmother. That did not mean being pretty and quiet. It meant taking pride in your appearance, not being afraid to speak your opinion and uplifting other women. It reminded me so much of my grandmother. She was such a strong, beautiful woman. She had beautiful posture, she always sit up perfectly straight with her head held high. She was charming, and very hospitable. It didn’t matter that she lived in a poor coal camp town, she SHINED. She made the best with what she had. She raised her children with love, they may not have had much, but they always felt loved and that is worth more than money can buy. My grandmother had a strong backbone, she definitely was a lady, but if you crossed her or her children, she was what our generation calls a “mama bear”. I miss her every day, and I think of her often. From the way I decorate my house, to the foods I make for my family, her spirit is always with me.
I did relate to most of the book because of my southern roots. Nonetheless, there are chapters that I skimmed, like the one all about monograms. For the most part, the book is fun and easy to read. I like how traditional southern food, including some recipes for great cocktails, are sprinkled throughout the book. I have to agree with Reese, sweet tea made from stewing all day in the sun’s rays is the BEST DRINK EVER! She also has chapters on holiday traditions, etiquette and dinner parties, that include you in as if you were her friend. From what she writes, she loves to show hospitality to any guest in her home.
She is also an avid reader. During her interview she recommended other books worth reading, and I wrote them down to share with y’all: “The Husband’s Secret” by Liane Moriarty, “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owen, “The End of the Affair” by Graham Green, and “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt.
If you are interested in more books recommended by Reese, she has her own book club called Hello Sunshine on Audible. It reminds me of Oprah’s book club, because all the books are centered around complex women and their unique stories. Click the link below for a free 30-day trial and your first book free.
Reese Witherspoon is a very busy woman, with many irons in the fire. She has her own production company which is all about women-led movies. Reese’s production company was what got the book “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed, made into an amazing movie with the same title. Reese played the main character, and it was different from any character I had ever seen her play. I was really impressed. If you haven’t read the book, you are missing out. Most people like to read the book before they see the movie, but not me. Again something else I do against the masses, I like to the read the book AFTER watching the movie. That way I am not disappointed.
Before I finish up, I want to make note of one more southern writer who has such an eclectic way of storytelling, that you can really feel the characters. Lee Smith’s books are also about strong, southern women. She wrote one of my all time favorite books, “Fair and Tender Ladies.” It is a book that I can read over and over again. I read it to my aunt who is blind, I passed it around to my Mother, my other aunts, cousins, and friends. I lost my first copy, so I bought another one. I just like having it, and sometimes, I will go to certain chapters just to relive the moments. It is a beautiful book about life and struggles, it follows the character throughout her entire life. I understand parts of it now, better than I did 15 years ago when I first read it. I guess because I am older, and I have lived more. It’s a book that will touch your soul.
Have you read any of these books? What is your favorite book?