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The Sweet Potato Queens' First Big-Ass Novel

The Sweet Potato Queens' First Big-Ass Novel

Stuff We Didn't Actually Do, But Could Have, And May Yet

  • reading group guide
"I have no pride. I tell anything," Jill Conner Browne is fond of saying. As Her Royal Highness, Boss Queen of the Sweet Potato Queens®, she has told legions of fans, known as "SPQ Wannabes," her delectable secrets to living, loving -- and eating -- like a queen. In her words, "More is more."

How much more? The #1 New York Times bestselling author of five works of nonfiction now serves up The Sweet Potato Queens' First Big-Ass Novel: Stuff We Didn't Actually Do, but Could Have, and May Yet. The humor in this uproarious coming-of-queen novel is more delicious than a favorite dessert (the Queens favor Chocolate Stuff™, of course).

In Jackson, Mississippi, Mary Bennett, Patsy, Gerald, and Jill are high school classmates whose daily routine is paced like a shuffle through the local red dirt -- until the arrival of a redheaded newcomer banishes monotony forever. With her luxurious mane and voluptuous figure, Tammy Myers aspires to join the silver-spooners, who make things happen in their lives. When Jill convinces Tammy and the others that money might buy a certain kind of good time and that true friendship has no price tag, the "Sweet Potato Queens" are born. "If it ain't fun, we ain't doin' it," runs their official club motto, and the Queens are true to their word.

Together, the Queens laugh out loud as they step down the long -- and not altogether pretty -- road toward making their very own queen dust, the sparkle that comes from livin' and lovin' their own lives. The Sweet Potato Queens' First Big-Ass Novel: Stuff We Didn't Actually Do, but Could Have, and May Yet reveals that the journey isn't always easy, but in the company of the Queens, you can sparkle, too.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743278348 | 
  • April 2008
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Meet Jill Conner Browne

Meet Jill Conner Browne

Reading Group Guide

The Sweet Potato Queens' First Big-Ass Novel
By Jill Conner Browne

Questions for Discussion:
1. The novel begins with the question "Is a queen created or is she born that way?" (1) Do you agree that we must learn to "make our very own queen dust" (6), or do you think some people naturally sparkle more than others? Jill claims you can see "the gleam of a queen" (1) in baby pictures of Queen Elizabeth, Cher, and RuPaul. What other celebrities--male, female, or somewhere in between!--might have been born with a queenly glimmer in their eyes?
2. Jill narrates the novel in the first-person voice. How does this affect the way the story unfolds? Discuss what the novel might be like from the point of view of another one of the Queens. Could Mary Bennett, Gerald, Patsy, or Tammy capture the uproarious humor of Jill's narration?
3. Jill introduces the city of Jackson, Mississippi, by emphasizing the divide of Yazoo Road: "If you lived north of Yazoo, like Marcy Stevens did, you peed champagne and blew your nose in silk. If you lived south -- as I did -- you peed Dixie Beer and blew your nose in burlap" (9). What is the "personality" of Jackson? How is the town like another character in the book, or even another Queen? If this novel were set in your hometown, how would it be different?
4. Jill describes her thirteen-year-old self like this: "I was so skinnyŠthat when I ran I looked like an eggbeater coming down the road see more

About the Author

Jill Conner Browne
Photo Credit:

Jill Conner Browne

Jill Conner Browne is the New York Times bestselling author of six Sweet Potato Queens books. She lives and writes on all things Queenly from Jackson, Mississippi.

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