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Sleeping at the Starlite Motel: and Other Adventures on the Way Back Home

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,537 ratings  ·  114 reviews
Anyone who has read her bestseller Mama Makes Up Her Mind--or who has heard her on National Public Radio--knows that Bailey White is one of the keenest observers of Southern eccentricity since Mark Twain. Sleeping at the Starlite Motel revives White's reputation as a master storyteller, Southern division, as it catalogs the oddities of the Georgia town she knows so well.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 2nd 1996 by Vintage (first published 1995)
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3.92  · 
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 ·  1,537 ratings  ·  114 reviews

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Patrick Gibson
May 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Patrick by: the used bookstore Goddess
It’s alright. This won’t hurt much. Take an insulin shot and prepare for a massive dose of sweetness.

Bailey White is a precise articulate writer. Without any discernable agenda, she observes the tenderness, often quirkiness around her. Her imagery is straightforward—all unnecessary alliterations gone. It’s like Sun Tzu for the soft and fluffy set, what isn’t needed, isn’t needed. What is left is writing at its most elemental. Add the strange peculiar oddities of characters living in the linear
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book captures perfectly the odd happenings in the little town in Georgia that Bailey knows so well and makes me laugh every time I read it--which is about twice a year.
Jun 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Ivy, Joan
It doesn't get much better for southern writing, than Bailey White. I loved Mama Makes up her Mind, even bought a copy for my mother, and this one is just as good.

Both collections are just small sketches, tiny recollections, memoirs, of what it was like growing up in the shadows of the old south: losing the family home, the dying genteelism that the South has lost, disappearing into mainstream American culture.

It's sort of sad, really. With franchises and franchise-thinking mentality, everything
This was a family read when I was eleven or twelve and recently decided to reread.

Sleeping at the Starlite Motel is a collection of short stories about life in the South. White's witty style easily captures her quirky characters and beautiful settings. Some of the stories are humorous and others are more melancholy, but they all record colloquial life as White experiences it. I also give White props for her excellent vocabulary!

The second time around, I perceived that many of these stories hav
Jun 01, 2008 rated it liked it
ok book, but the stories weren't that entertaining to me. I felt like the third section of the book had her best stories. I felt like there was no real thread tying the stories together, and some of the stories were just getting good when they ended. The last chapter was probably her worst--and it was where she got the title for her book. I just felt like she stuck that one in there so she could have her title.
Oct 26, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, southern
Essays, short pieces on family members, places, adventures. This author is known for her humor, but I can't seem to appreciate it, or even find it at times. I know when I should think something this supposed to be humorous but it doesn't work for me. This is probably my problem and not the authors. She seems rather successful with her 'Mama' series. But in this and the other book I read years ago she comes across as a sad person, a lonely person.
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I think that to enjoy Bailey White's books, you have to have lived in the Deep South. I read this on a trip to Tallahassee (less than an hour from
White's home in Georgia). It got me through 10 days of taking care of my elderly mother. Many of White's stories are inhabited by old folks a lot like my mom. When I felt like crying, she makes me laugh
Jul 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2008
I don't usually give books two stars because if I don't at least like it, I never finish it. But this book had enough interesting stories and was short enough that I read it to the end. I'm glad I found a used copy, though, because it wasn't worth full price.
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’ve had this book for more than a decade. Somehow it always ended up on the bottom of my pile(s). But I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately and found that these short “adventures” helped me to relax and smile, and then sleep soundly. I am not saying that they are soporific. They are engaging and quiet, like comfort food for the mind. I loved the black and white barely legible maps on many pages. I know those places in Georgia! My favorite piece was An Old Lepidopterist, bittersweet, but most ...more
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I just loved this. It's not often I can say this, but this book actually made me laugh out loud. It was the story about Bailey White and the other primary school teacher, Mrs Boatwright. They were sent to computer evening classes to learn how to use a computer so that they could then teach the other teachers at the school how to use the computer. But the course tutor completely missed the point and decided to run a course on the history of the computer. So the two ladies decide to bunk off, teac ...more
Mar 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, essays, 1996
My Original Notes: (1996)

Terrible! Not at all like Mama Makes Up Her Mind, with regard to humor or subject matter. Very dull and senseless. I read the entire book and didn't enjoy a single essay.

My Current Thoughts: (2016)

Why in the world did I bother reading the entire book, if I was so dissatisfied? As I recall, I really enjoyed Mama Makes Up Her Mind, so maybe I was trying to remain optimistic. This was probably back before I gave myself permission to quit a book I wasn't enjoying. Live and l
Denise Spicer
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
These few dozen short stories showcase the author’s expertise at deftly, sveltely, briefly, sweetly capturing and encapsulating some delightful (and/or poignantly) eccentric Southern characters. With gentle humor she tells of people (Red the Rat Man, The Retired Russian Colonel, An Old Lepidopterist), places (Hot Springs, One Room Schoolhouse, The Starlight Motel), and other interesting tidbits of regional lore. A lovely, very sweet and certainly entertaining book.
Michelle (meshe)
Feb 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookcrossing
This collection of short stories about family and Southern characters. I enjoyed most of the stories especially Garden of Eden which brings us the theory that the Garden of Eden of the Bible is actually on the Florida panhandle. I also really enjoyed The Retired Russian Colonel. An easy, entertaining collection.
Sally Lindsay-briggs
May 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
Visualize many unrelated stories that portray eccentric individuals. The location of these anecdotes take place largely all over the south (one in Vermont). Frankly, this was an almost book. Almost but not quite: funny, engaging, realistic, entertaining-you get my drift. I almost want to read another book by the same author.
Dec 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Amusing stories of life in Georgia and some travel to other states. I enjoyed her first "Mama makes up her mind" more than this one, which wandered a biot from place to place and was a little more to do with imagination and less with rural Georgian life. Still a good read.
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bailey White is a painter with words. Her descriptions of people and places make them leap off the page. Her writings make you want to snuggle under a blanket on the couch and just keep reading--they make you feel warm and fuzzy.
Jun 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
Some of these short stories were wonderful while others rather mediocre. White uses a folksy, Southern style that is sometimes charming and at other times overly parochial.
Dec 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Some funny parts, but not nearly as hysterical as the first book (Mama makes up her mind)
Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-general
No matter how unlikey the situation, Bailey White can make you laugh. And laugh out loud in public.
NC Weil
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Though this collection of vignettes was published in 1995, it could have been written any time since 1950. Bailey White, humorist and Southerner, writes about the old-fashioned South, where ancient aunts live in crumbling houses, treasuring letters from Robert E. Lee’s wife. Her outlook is kind-hearted and tolerant of foibles, qualities one acquires when dealing with eccentrics.

Few of the pieces run more than 5 pages, and though her writing is primarily about the South, she also visits a one-roo
Steven Modee
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
The pieces in "Sleeping at the Starlite Motel: and Other Adventures on the Way Back Home" by Bailey White were easy enough to read, but I just couldn't get into them. She tells about things and characters in the South, and I don't mean "characters" in the sense of being fictional but of being unique, actually eccentric. Turns out these tales that read easily like fiction are essays of real places, people, and things. There was one essay story titled "Computer School" I really did enjoy. When two ...more
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, ak
A bit more whimsical than my normal read, I found this author's style both out-of-the-box and homely.
I felt I had stepped into the author's mind for a bath, of which I only got a small soak before it was time to get back out again. There were multiple times when I wanted the author to give me more, explain further - had they stolen the old woman's house? Did she give up her chair? Was that man with the turkey actually Nockerd? The owl bites down and "the world may never know."

All in all, this b
Cheryl Jensen
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: life-experience
Author Bailey White is a participant on National Public Radio, which enables me to better understand this book. She captures the charming South manners and traditions in her stories of life and relatives in Georgia, but I found the tales flat. No knowing she performs on the radio, I believe they are more suited to an oral presentation, and would probably be more engaging if read aloud, with the inflections, pauses, and accent bringing them to life. I did not finish the book; it did not hold my i ...more
Aug 02, 2019 rated it liked it about that? I classified this as both biographical and fiction. I guess I did that because her collection of short vignettes contains both what actually happened and her artistic impressions of things as well.

I gave this book an average rating because, frankly, I enjoyed her 'Mama Makes up Her Mind" better. This one seems more melancholy and nostalgic, while the other more humorous and eccentric.

Not a bad read, however.
Helen Campbell
May 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is a collection of vignettes, simple events that were meaningful to the author throughout her life. While the anecdotes were interesting and charming, I felt that the book could have been improved by the writer giving readers the occasional opportunity to develop their own "moral to the story" instead of always presenting her own conclusions.
May 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Loved the writing style. These are chapters/rememberings/short stories. I'm not quite sure how to describe them - perhaps rememberings are best, but then again, are they fiction? Doesn't matter lovely short reads - a beside the bed book.
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
The first book I’ve read by this author. I liked the different short stories and was chuckling off and on throughout. This is a nice quick read.
Sally Bennett
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For me, this was just one of those books that's enjoyable from beginning to end. Each of the stories left me either pensive or happy, often laughing out loud.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you like collections of short stories this is a book for you....easy to read and pick up when you are in a busy time...I loved the many little stories...the little sketches or glimpses into southern life...a fun relaxing read!
Dec 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Sleeping at the Starlite Motel Is a collection of quaint stories, snippets really, of random memories and people that Bailey White has known or come across at one time in her life. It is for the most part set in various southern states so it has that hot, laid back, colorful feel to it. Colorful in all the plants and flowers but also in the people too. There is the fruit tree man; a Perpetually high old hippie With filthy trousers and a scrap of a blue bandana around his neck from the late 60s t ...more
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Bailey White was born in 1950 in Thomasville, Ga. She still lives in the same house in which she grew up, on one of the large tracts of virgin longleaf pine woods. Her father, Robb White, was a fiction writer and later a television and movie script writer. Her mother, Rosalie White, was a farmer, and worked for many years as the executive director of the local Red Cross Chapter. She has one brothe ...more