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Hiding My Candy: The Autobiography of the Grand Empress of Savannah Paperback – August 1, 1997

4.6 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Chablis is a full-time transvestite. In clinical terms, she is a preoperative transsexual," John Berendt explains in his introduction. Chablis takes it from there, presenting a sassy, tongue-in-cheek version of her life story, which she began as Benjamin Edward Knox in 1957. She recounts growing up in Florida as a self-confessed "sissy-child"; recalls being abandoned by both her mother and father and being raised by her classy grandmother; and notes the problems she and her family had coming to terms with her sexuality. She tells of her imprisonment for shoplifting; her debut on stage as a female impersonator in Atlanta in the mid-1970s; taking hormones to grow breasts; and the high cost of electrolysis. After winning the Miss Gay World Pageant, Chablis moved on to Savannah, where she changed her act to include stand-up comedy. Writing with freelancer Bouloukos, Chablis presents a good-natured biography that covers the gamut from sexual adventures with unsuspecting straight males to beauty tips and a listing of her favorite recipes. Photos.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Lady Chablis, the most unforgettable character in John Berendt's best-selling Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (LJ 1/94), stirs up the past to tell all in this witty and entertaining autobiography. Born Benjamin Knox in 1950s rural Florida, Chablis (a.k.a. Y'mama, a.k.a. the Doll) is technically a preoperative transsexual. Being no average drag queen, Chablis more than hides truth of gender by parodying femininity with a lifelong performance beyond any nightclub's. A bittersweet story filled with abuses and ambitions, Chablis's life is a mix of bawdy vaudeville and Southern gothic. The Lady also offers a chapter of homestyle recipes, a glossary of Chablisisms, and a guide to transvestite beauty and fashion. Berendt's introduction calls Chablis "a gifted comedienne whose humor is instintive...[with] a flair for the outageous, and?I trust she'll forgive me for saying so?balls." The same could be said for this book.?David Nudo, "Library Journal.-- a flair for the outageous, and?I trust she'll forgive me for saying so?balls." The same could be said for this book.?David Nudo, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; 2nd edition (August 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671520954
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671520953
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Heath Buckmaster VINE VOICE on August 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought this book after seeing the lady chablis in Midnight and the Garden of Good and Evil. If you've seen the movie, the books reads just like she's talking to you. It follows from her beginnings, discovering herself, meeting up with her first drag queens, all the way through to the black people's ball, and hormones. If you're looking for a light, fun read, about a very interesting real-life person, this definately fits the bill. Don't expect perfect grammar, because that's not how she talks, so this is "from the horse's mouth" so to speak.

as a side note, the lady chablis actually does appear in the movie version of the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. the dynamic that she and john cusak have is incredible, and her comments about two tears in a bucket, nearly made me wet my pants from laughing so hard :) the people i went with to see the movie actually didn't even realize that she was a transgender person until half way through the movie....
<!br>if there is any one character that "makes" the movie, it's her.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a plain good read on several levels.
First, The Lady Chablis herself, with the help of a co-author, has managed to convey her highly entertaining stage persona on paper--no mean feat. I suspect, though I have not listened to it, that the audio version of the book is a scream.
Second, the bare facts of her autobiography as she tells them are riveting. One has to respect the desire to be true to an authentic self that is different from the norm when it drives an African-American biological male in the South to dress as a female during adolescence. The Lady could easily have been killed on her way to stardom!
Third, as a "fish" (biological female) myself, I always learn a thing or two about the nature of Glamour-with-a-capital-G from the writings of persons whose femininity comes primarily from their minds. As Blanche DuBois said, fifty percent of a woman's charm is illusion (or something like that). The illusion The Lady creates is uniquely her own.
Finally, The Lady's discussion of why she has not had gender reassignment surgery adds a serious note that is easy to ignore. The Lady Chablis has played well the hand she was dealt in life with more complicated cards than most receive.
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Format: Paperback
I was initially introduced to The Lady in the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I ran across this autobiography at a thrift sale and started casually reading the first few pages. Well I was hook and finished the novel in one sitting (it's a short read). The Lady's life story is interesting, informative and funny. She is quite the character living her real-life drama of struggle with flair and determination. Sassy and quick witted, the Lady tells her story with charm, humor and truth. A nice quick read.
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By A Customer on December 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed the book, especially after watching the movie of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil". I found that he really feels like a woman, and doesn't think of himself as a man unless you bring it to his attention. I respect his thoughts regarding why he has not had surgery to be a female, because he felt it was not God's intentions for him to remove what God gave him.
Seems like he would be a fun person to know and keep you laughing. Would like to have seen one of his stage shows. I thought he did an excellent job in the movie, of course he was playing himself.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book. I thought it was very funny, very interesting but the best thing about it is the theme of perseverance and being who you are.
The Lady Chablis is a wonderful character and so "down to earth" and in your face. Wonderful.
It moved me to read of all her struggles to get where she is. Very inspiring. Such strength.
I recommend you read this AND you read Midnight in the Garden of good and evil.
Enjoy!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just joined the book club my office has, and this was my first book I read for it. This is the memoir of the Lady Chalbis aka Brenda Knox. I'd never heard of her, but apparently she featured prominently in the book/movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I've never read the book but i vaguely remember my dad renting the movie and it being boring and me wandering away or falling asleep, back when i was a kid. I hated the writing style. She refers to herself in the third person a lot, and she has a glossary of her slang at the back of the book. I don't think we would get along if I knew her. However, I admire her honesty in this book. She doesn't leave anything out, not even things like stealing, prostitution or being a drug addict. But more than that, i admire her bravery. My favorite part of the book is the beginning, when she talks about growing up in a small town in Florida. She was born a little boy, but remained true to herself, even through hardship. And this is back in time. This would be hard even now, but back then, I can't imagine. This is a woman who's been true to herself, and made it work. She's made the decision to live her life the way she felt, including taking hormone shots for breasts, but not going for the full operation. She loves whomever she loves, and doesn't care about convention. I really respect that. It was hard to get through this book because of the way it was written; it was short but felt really long and dragged a bit; but the message it meant to convey did make it worth it. This was also an excellent book to be reading right as Pride comes upon us!
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