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“Clark paints a raw and deeply honest picture of her childhood in 1950s and ’60s Mississippi…Clark’s narrative draws the reader in to a wonderful story of the South going from old to new” -Publishers Weekly
“The Mississippi blues take on new meaning in this tragic yet uplifting memoir. With its Southern setting and themes of racial conflict and civil rights, it's easy to see how this book has been compared to The Help. But Clark's debut is an entirely original—and true—story… the overarching theme is love. A highly satisfying look at a flawed family, a conflicted South, and a fraught future.”– Kirkus Reviews
Books Coming Out This Week: “…Southern Discomfort tells the heartwarming yet heart-wrenching story of how Tena, with the help of her black nanny Virgie, stood up to her abusive father and found the strength to be her true self—a woman who doesn’t fit the mold of a traditional southern daughter.”-Elizabeth Entenman, HelloGiggles
“Songwriter and music producer Tena Clark is known for her work with Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, and Gladys Knight. Here, she shares her own story of growing up in a broken family on an antebellum farm in Mississippi, and how youthful escapes to a recording studio in New Orleans paved the way for her barrier-busting career.”
Here are the Best Books of October: “…Southern Discomfort is a fascinating look at what it meant to have a progressive spirit in the claustrophobic South during the time of Jim Crow.”
“Following in the footsteps of major bestsellers like The Glass Castle and The Help, this profoundly moving memoir of a Southern childhood perfectly recreates a time, place, and culture that for some will seem unimaginable—but for others will be painfully familiar…”
The Best Books of 2018 (So far): “…In her moving memoir, Southern Discomfort, Clark reflects on growing up and coming out in the 1950s.”
“Clark tells this story of love and fury with humor and no self-pity. There are tales so wild, if they were in a novel, they would strain belief. But Southern Discomfort has an almost rollicking tone. No matter how hair-raising the event, I never really feared for the author, never doubted that wit and gumption would get her out.”
"[Southern Discomfort] will provoke thought and discussion."
"The memories [Clark] shares are raw, often uncomfortable, and sometimes powerful as recounts the events of her life. Clark sugarcoats nothing, instead leaving readers with the full impact of all things ugly, heartbreaking, and sorrowful. There is also joy, however, as she learns to embrace her sexuality and live the life she wanted as an award-winning songwriter and producer, rather than the life her parents expected her to have."
8 Books That Provide Clarity, Escape and Comfort: “Grammy award-winning songwriter and producer Tena Clark’s compelling memoir about growing up in a tiny Mississippi town during the civil rights era. Her wealthy (white) parents’ relationship dissolved in a toxic stew of infidelity, abuse, alcohol, and guns…
"Powerful, upsetting, and deeply hopeful, Tena Clark’s SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT is the brutal and true story of a family coming apart in a fracturing South told from the point of a view of a girl who makes peace with what she survived, fled and eventually came home to. A brave, wildly engrossing memoir."
– Bill Clegg, author of Did You Ever Have a Family
"Here is a slice of the late-twentieth century South that goes all the way to the bone, and that hurts a bit! – but it feels like it just got to be done. Southern Discomfort is a dysfunctional family romance with all the trimmings, and it will also tell you a thing or two about that time and that place that you didn’t already know."
– Madison Smartt Bell
"Tena Clark weaves her deeply personal, private struggles together with the painful, shameful struggles she witnessed in Mississippi during the Civil Rights era in her beautiful, bravely shared memoir."
– Jill Conner Browne, author of the national bestseller The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love
“Tena Clark is a pioneering force of nature, and her story is as powerful, riveting, and inspiring as she is. Do yourself a favor. Get comfortable and start reading.”
"Tena Clark's memoir SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT, a true coming of age story, reads like a Tennessee Williams play. Set in the deep south where Magnolias, catfish, the Bible, guns, alcohol, racism and carnal knowledge collide, Tena's story confronts the heartbeat of America's identity crisis. A crisis of faith, family, freedom and truth. This story will make you laugh out loud, cry, and hope that one day you can stand as tall as Tena.” – Debbie Allen
‘This memoir hits so many of my checkboxes. Not only is it a memoir written by a woman, but it also considers self-acceptance when a living environment isn’t on board, an imperfect family, and the unconditional love of a caretaker. This book is going to be an emotional journey and you can consider my ticket booked.”
"Tena Clark’s astounding memoir engaged me so deeply that I felt the pain of a lonely child in a chaotic home, and, happily at the end, the exhilaration of her hard won freedom. A wonderful read."– Norman Lear
"Tena Clark's riveting memoir shows us that even in the midst of fear, anger, and hate...tolerance, forgiveness, and love will rise. A triumphant journey and an inspiring read!"– Sela Ward