Stuart Hotchkiss is at the end of his rope. Underemployment, bankruptcy, and a looming third divorce have worn him down. His mother has died. He’s estranged from his own son. Death seems like a release.
The son of a once great southern family, Hotchkiss spent his early life struggling to escape familial expectations and secrets. He paid for his own education and eventually secured a position as president of a national media conglomerate, only to resign a year later and bring senseless litigation that rendered him permanently underemployed.
Southern Fried Fiction is all that a memoir should be—a captivating story, real and raw, with a healthy dose of humor to carry readers through the pain of its author’s loss and past mistakes. Through it, Hotchkiss eloquently exorcises the demons of his climb toward success, capping it off with a spark of hope beyond the veil of his near suicide, one that even the most cynical of us can find inspiration in.
In the vein of Russell Baker’s Growing Up and Michael Gates Gill’s How Starbucks Saved My Life, Hotchkiss’s memoir is a moving account of one man’s battle to overcome his demons and start over.
Southern Fried Fiction: How The Insidious Onset Of Depression Derailed a Successful Man's Life is a memoir written by Stuart Hotchkiss. The author's family is steeped in tradition. The grand estate where they lived when Hotchkiss was young was a bittersweet reminder for him in that his immediate family did not live in the great house, but rather in a smaller cottage on the estate. Hotchkiss' grandfather lived in the big house, and the man himself was larger than life and a huge inspiration to his grandson. Hotchkiss and his older brother were both sent to the private school that had educated generations of the Hotchkiss line, but it was only due to the forbearance and financial support of his great-aunt. As a teen, the author ran away and ended up in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. He found a place to stay and a job in a famous Cajun restaurant, and he finally went home with his savings intact. This was his first success story, and there were lots more to follow, but there were also some thorny patches along the way.
Stuart Hotchkiss' memoir, Southern Fried Fiction: How The Insidious Onset Of Depression Derailed a Successful Man's Life, reads like a grand coming of age novel, and often I had to remind myself that this was not fiction but a memoir of the author's life. I particularly enjoyed reading about his trip to Iceland and how he adapted to life in that country. I marveled at the confidence and enthusiasm that the author retains for the most part throughout the minor and major snags he encounters. Hotchkiss is a natural and gifted storyteller, and he recounts his experiences in a frank and compelling manner. The reader is as equally privy to his failures as to his successes in this brutally honest memoir. I frequently found myself admiring the man behind the story and became quite involved in his tale. Southern Fried Fiction is highly recommended.