Snippets from Books

Excerpt from Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong

Touch was a sense not explored or celebrated in my family.  That was why they favored big cars.  Cadillac Eldorados, Chrysler LeBarons, Chevy Suburbans.  All these models found their way into the garages of the blue and gray ranch house, the green-shuttered colonial, and the Greek Revival.  These vehicles allowed the five of us to sit inside them without ever having to touch one another.  Our thighs would never rub.  Our shoulders would never press.  We were buffered from one another by ample elbow and legroom.  I believe that this desire to avoid touch was also behind their preference for long-sleeved shirts and modest clothing, their nonconsumption of alcohol, their disdain for dancing (except for Baby Harper, of course), their nondisplay of physical affection, and all the other particulars of our faith.  Southern Baptists wanted to feel the Spirit and only the Spirit.   A noncorporeal embrace was why we raised our arms up to the Lord every Sunday.  I never saw my father kiss my mother.  I never saw my mother kiss my grandmother.  My grandmother’s lips were used only to purse.  My great-uncle’s were used to whistle the greatest hits of Patsy Cline.


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