Southern Girls with Big Vocabularies
“There seemed to be almost a conspiracy of Southern female writers to render the cult of friendship between women of the South invincible and unassailable. Where were the books about what happened when the sisterhood failed? Were there no stories about the times it all went terribly, horribly wrong?” – Chapter 10, Southern Girls with Big Vocabularies
Southern Girls with Big Vocabularies alternates between the stories of Della, Tessa, Lelia and Bea as women on the verge of 30 preparing for a funeral that will reunite them for the first time in 11 years, and the journey of their childhood friendship through the 90’s toward the terrible tragedy that drove them apart.
Della, Tessa, Lelia and Bea were best friends from first grade until their senior year of high school. But “eleven years, seven months, seventeen days” before Tessa’s thirtieth birthday, something terrible happened. On Tessa’s thirtieth birthday, she receives a call from Bea asking Tessa to do the one thing she has dreaded most… come home.
Set primarily in Richmond, Virginia (with a few scenic chapters in Savannah, Georgia) Southern Girls with Big Vocabularies spans 25 years of pop-culture references, conflicts of Catholic sex-ed, and meditations on misery. Ultimately, this southern gothic coming of age story provides a detailed portrait of why these girls grow up to be the women they do and how they move on from there.
Ellie Pyle holds a MFA in Performing Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a BS (seriously) in Screenwriting and Playwriting from Drexel University. She was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia and is a four time winner of Virginia's state playwriting competition: New Voices for the Theater. This is her first novel.