Monday, October 14, 2013

Review: Secrets of the Southern Belle by Phaedra Parks, Esq

Everybody knows that each franchise of the Bravo's hit series Real Housewives, there is one housewife that becomes a fan favorite. For me, that person is Phaedra Parks, Esq. of the Real Housewives of Atlanta. She's not the typical housewife who married into money and sits on her behind. She's an accomplished lawyer with a business savvy that rivels the best. I placed the bias for her aside in hopes of writing an impartial and honest review for the Netgalley provided copy of Secrets of the Southern Belle.

Phaedra Parks has written an advice book on how to be a Southern Belle which is her reality personality on the series so it's hard not to associate her with the advice given in the book and compare it to the show. There's no getting around it especially if the reader is familiar with the reality show. This isn't a bad thing because I think much of Parks actions and personality coincide with the advice given in Secrets of the Southern Belle. This provides a little more insight to fans of her actions. Now on to the book!

Secrets of the Southern Belle: How to Be Nice, Work Hard, Look Pretty, Have Fun, and Never Have an Off Moment let's us into the inside world of a true Southern Belle and exposes the secrets to her pulling it off without a hitch. Parks encourages women to take care of themselves and the rest of the world will too. She's not suggesting that Belle's behave like the feminist revolution never happened or to cater to any man's needs, but to simply put more effort into the person they present to the world. I love this idea. Most people are judged by there outside appearance so why not put your best foot forward?

One of the ways a Southern Belle can get what she wants is by being respectful, mannerful and establishing connections. Parks notes that manners mean a lot and many have forgotten this. My experience in customer service has made me more than happy to help Parks get this message out. There are rude people who need not be rude especially when that energy can be used at making a lasting connection with someone. Ultimately the goal of a Southern Belle is to make a connection with people by using "please" or "thank you". Even sending flowers, gifts, or thank you cards can be terms of endearment and a meaningful way to nurture that relationship.

What's a book about being a Southern Belle without giving advice about how to maintain your outward appearance? Parks gives sound advice that everybody should know such as under garments should remain just that. No one wants to see that you've been wearing the same underwear three days in a row. And much of the advice is not limited to just women. There's insight on how to raise young gentlemen worthy of a true Southern Belle. I admit I don't need 2-hours in the morning... but then again... maybe I do.

Now on to my gripes. I'm a northerner and was a little put off by the constant references to us as if we are from some other planet. I discussed this with my mother who's a southerner through and through (although she's been raised in the north) and she agrees with Phaedra Parks. There is a distinctly different culture I'm sure. My gripe is that the references almost take away from the charm of the book especially if a northerner takes it personally.

Everybody knows that this book oozes Phaedra Parks inside and out. During my read I could not keep her voice out of head. I liken it to having tea on the front porch with a good friend shooting the breeze.

Secrets of the Southern Belle is a fun, engrossing, and inspiring advice book that can have any girl on their way to becoming true Southern Belles. If that is not the goal of the reader, Parks provides sound advice in most areas in life, that the Southern Belle rules apply in hopes of becoming better people overall. I imagine fans of the Real Housewives are the intended audience, although I'd recommend this book to all my girlfriends.

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