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Southern Lit: A Chat With Harrison Scott Key, Son of 'The World's Largest Man'

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Harrison Scott Key's debut memoir The World's Largest Man is the funniest book I've read all year. Throughout his rural Mississippi childhood, he tried to make his father happy by accompanying the man on hunting trips and to other outdoor activities. But Key was more interested in reading than in hunting, and he and his father never seemed to understand him.

"It took many years before I realized I must have baffled him as much as he confused me," Key writes. "What must he have made of me, with my love of baking and books and bow ties? What a riddling abyss I must have seemed to him, when I announced that when I grew up, I desired very much to be a ventriloquist? Mom made sure I got a Bozo the Clown dummy that Christmas, and the only real trick I learned was to create a sense of shame and dread in my father. As I got older, I was no longer allowed to go grocery shopping with Mom, or to help her in the kitchen, because any boy who liked to cook was a sodomite."

The Southern Lit Alliance is bringing Harrison Scott Key here to Chattanooga on May 20 for the final installment of their South Bound Lectures series.

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