Thursday, December 2, 2021

‘Southern Belle Insults’ Review: Keke Palmer’s Alter-Ego Comes to Life in Short Story Collection

Keke Palmer’s viral TikTok sensation Southern Belle Insults has made its way from screen to page. Out today is a collection of short stories by the same name. They further explore the world of Palmer’s alter-ego Lady Miss Jacqueline. The collection consists of five stories, each one narrated by Lady Miss Jacqueline. She brings readers through the life of Janet, whose world becomes much more exciting thanks to some very special wigs. With support from New York Times bestselling author Jasmine Guillory, Palmer invites readers into her vivid and clever imagination.

One of the first things I noticed is Lady Miss Jaqueline’s voice. As she narrates, it’s something Palmer establishes instantly. However, I was struck by how clearly Lady Miss jumps off the page. Readers might as well be watching Palmer’s videos. While she recounts the story of Janet, readers get a greater sense of Lady Miss’ personality. She’s confident, outgoing, and wholly unapologetic. Readers quickly see how greatly she contrasts with Janet.

Along with Lady Miss, each story presents readers with a variety of characters. They inhabit Janet via each wig she wears. Palmer’s decision to use the transformative nature of wigs was clever. In the first few stories, she highlights the power the wigs give Janet. Other character reactions emphasize the difference of Janet’s life pre- and post-wigs. Every additional alter-ego carries similarities. However, they each have something that sets them apart. Palmer distinguishes each one but does so in a cohesive way.

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Moreover, Palmer never loses sight of Janet. When readers reach the final couple stories, the long-term effect the wigs have on Janet becomes more prominent. Though more of Janet co-exists with each alter-ego, they exemplify Janet’s growth. The stories build steadily to the finale of the collection. Palmer leaves readers cheering Janet on, a character they once may have pitied to some degree. And, thankfully, Palmer writes a reassuring ending that will leave readers satisfied.

Like its namesake, Southern Belle Insults is a delightful journey into Lady Miss Jaqueline’s world. Palmer brings her unique flair to the page with ease. The stories glide effortlessly into one another. However, they also stand on their own, providing concise vignettes of Janet’s life with each wig. Palmer caters both to readers who know her TikTok well, and those who may have only seen one video. Regardless, Southern Belle Insults provides light-hearted humor many will appreciate. Palmer creates a modern-day fairytale still with a touch of fantasy. These stories are fun, absorbing, and, ultimately, empowering.

Southern Belle Insults is available now on Amazon. Prime and Kindle Unlimited subscribers may download the collection as the eBook or audio free of charge. Non-subscribers have the option to purchase.

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Julia
Julia is a writer/editor/content assistant for Nerds. She joined the team in 2019 but has always enjoyed talking about her favorite fandoms. When she isn't writing or working, you can find her reading, watching her favorite shows and movies, and building her repertoire of Dad jokes.

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