Coming Home: Life, Love, and All Things Southern
Down Home Press
6 x 9
Published in 2000
Robert Inman likes to think of himself as "just a small-town kid and a storyteller."Coming Home is testament to that. Warm, funny, delightfully entertaining, and often moving, this collection speaks to what matters not only to Inman but to most Southerners—the things that touch heart and soul. Inman writes of growing up in Elba, Alabama, where "you get to look people in the eye day after day and learn who they are and how to get along with them." He writes of his grandmother, Mama Cooper, his boyhood pal, "Booger" Winston, and quintessential small-town characters such as Delbert Earle and Great Uncle Orester, whose Southern wit and wisdom command a section of their own.
Like his ancestors—and most Southerners—Inman has no hesitancy to offer strong opinions, but his light shines brightest when he turns to that which is most deeply personal: family, fatherhood, and writing. In Inman’s first novel, Home Fires Burning, his main character, Jake Tibbetts, a cantankerous old newspaperman, found writing to be confounding until he discovered its essential secret: “Most of the business involved having something worth saying, and the rest depended on saying it simply.” In Coming Home, Inman proves that truth.
“Home to Robert Inman is Elba, Alabama, where he grew up and where his grandmother lived. But his stories—all of them true, he assures us—encompass everything south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Inman writes about Vacation Bible School, a must for Elba's Methodist faithful; southern politicians; the differences between North and South Carolina; small-town radio stations; the joys of Thanksgiving and Christmas; University of Alabama football; the painful process of writing; weddings and marriages; and his "beautiful, warm-hearted, generous, even-tempered, talented, and witty" wife, Paulette. Inman, author of three novels and seven screenplays, devotes a section of the book to his friend Delbert Earle, who wants to ban the month of February with its "dismal drearies": snow and ice, gloom and angst, and public unrest and domestic discontent. And there's much more in this delightful collection of memoirs, down-home storytelling at its best.” —Booklist