Oscar-winning actress and Emmy-winning producer Reese Witherspoon already leads a popular book club on Instagram, so it seems a natural next step for her to write a book. The title, Whiskey in a Teacup, refers to Witherspoon’s grandmother’s description of Southern women: “delicate and ornamental on the outside… but inside we’re strong and fiery.”
The book is a pleasant collection of lifestyle and decorating tips, personal anecdotes, and recipes of Southern staples like fried chicken and cornbread chili pie that are simple enough for even novice cooks. Witherspoon shares her pride for her roots and love for her Nashville childhood traditions (midnight barn parties!), some of which she has adapted for her adult life.
She goes Christmas caroling—in Los Angeles. She transforms her home into a pumpkin patch for Halloween—with 47 pumpkins in the front yard. She reveals she’s a highly competitive bowler and, as a child, ran two successful businesses (selling lemonade and personalized barrettes) and wanted to be president of the United States.
Some of her most interesting stories are about her grandmother Dorothea, a civil rights supporter and schoolteacher with a master’s degree, who always wore dresses, even while gardening, and looked like a movie star. Dorothea bought books for young Reesey and read them aloud in different voices, striking a spark that became Witherspoon’s love of performing.
Witherspoon’s voice in Whiskey is conversational, with elements of her perky onscreen characters, and when she writes “Y’all come back and visit sometime, ya hear?” fans will want to accept the invitation.
This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.