Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Many thanks to J. Steven Svoboda ...

... of the National Coalition for Men for this fantastic review of Southern Man. I can't tell you how pleased I am with his comments and insights. I'm not sure when and where the review will be posted, whether the organization's  main website or Transitions, which is a print publication for NCFM members only. However, when a link appears, will post it here and on social media.

Meantime, read the review here:

Southern Man: Legacy of Fortitude, A Southern Heroes Novel. By Connie Chastain.  Pensacola, Florida: Great Southern Publishing, 2009.   334 pages. No price given on book but amazon lists for $12.95. www.conniechastain.com, www.brasstownbooks.com. Review by J. Steven Svoboda.
Author, self-proclaimed devotee of the South and preacher’s daughter Connie Chastain has written a novel that greatly broadened my horizons and for which I owe her a substantial debt.  Her novel tells the compelling saga of hardworking family man Troy Stevenson and his adoring, supportive wife Patty.

Chastain throws in passing references to misandry, trusting the reader who may be unaware of the meaning of that word to look it up, wisely avoiding a political digression to explain it. 

The author describes a world relatively unfamiliar to me. I have only spent a few weeks in the South in my life though I have been very favorably impressed by the welcoming people there and the down-to-earth, unpretentious feeling I have gotten when I have visited.  While my mother was a housewife for a while until she took a job when I was about twelve years old, I frankly do not know many women who have chosen to build their lives around nurturing a family and around supporting their wage-earner husbands rather than around their own careers.

The book grew on me tremendously as I continued to read the extremely engaging story.  Chastain has a knack for convincingly, non-judgmentally immersing us in the lives of a very diverse set of characters.  Complications ensue when a young woman, Brooke Emerson, becomes obsessed with Troy and, determined to take him to her bed, begins stalking him.

Brooke’s plot to ensnare Troy goes so far as to encompass a wrongful sexual harassment accusation when he rejects her advances.  Due to some very provident actions, Troy is eventually able to clear his name.  Southern Man brought me face to face with some philosophies quite different from those familiar to me—characters who use Christian scripture as a guide in their daily lives, in some cases going so far as not to engage in premarital sex.

It is refreshing to read an author who unapologetically, unostentatiously yet convincingly paints a world in which men are accepted as different from women (as indeed they are), and the differences are celebrated. Troy and his wife Patty are full equals yet have different roles. And they love each other fiercely and with a commitment and devotion that many married people might well envy.

The family reunion that occurs on pages 226-228 is downright moving and sweet. What a wonderful book. And a true page-turner as well. I couldn’t put it down. Don’t miss it!

J. Steven Svoboda is the senior board member of and Public Relations Director for the National Coalition For Men, the world’s oldest and largest non-profit devoted to educating the world about the harm done to men and boys by gender discrimination. Steven is NCFM’s book reviewer and his articles are available through the group's bi-monthly newsletter Transitions.

Read his entire bio here.


  1. it's sad when people are surprised to see others living a Christian life. Oh what the world has come to, one must wonder.

    1. True, but then there are so many who claim to be Christians, or wear the name, but you'd never know they are Christians by the way they live.


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