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Modern Baptists (Tula Springs)

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  419 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
Universally and repeatedly praised ever since it first appeared in 1983, Modern Baptists is the book that launched novelist James Wilcox's career and debuted the endearingly daft community of Tula Springs, Louisiana. It's the tale of Bobby Pickens, assistant manager of Sonny Boy Bargain Store, who gains a new lease on life, though he almost comes to regret it. Bobby's hand ...more
Hardcover, 239 pages
Published July 1st 1983 by Dial Press (first published 1983)
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May 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humorous-fiction
"Bobby, do you think you drink too much?"

"I guess so."

"And we're Baptists."

"Modern Baptists can drink. It's only stuffed shirts like Dr. McFlug who don't."

"Well, I guess I'm a modern Baptist, then." She was still looking at the sky. "Want to get drunk?"

Bobby Pickens's life will never be the same now that his half-brother, F.X., has been sprung from prison and parked himself on the plastic-covered love seat in Bobby's house. Within a matter of days, EVERYTHING will be crazy, convoluted and spiral
L. Scott
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All I can say is, if you don't like it, then fuck you and I don't want to be your friend.
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very satisfying read with a gentle story. The hero (Mr Pickens) is brilliantly exasperating and exasperated with his brother's (the awesomely named F.X.) constant pursuit of fame and adoration. I fell in love with the female characters (Donna Lee and Burma) as they try to fix the lives of the hapless brothers, although I secretly hoped they'd give up on them and leave Tula Springs for better things. This book makes you feel like you're bathing in a hot southern sun on a wooden porch (maybe in ...more
May 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jim Wilcox is one of the nicest writers I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. He's super generous with his time, gracious in his feedback on others' writing, and always the Southern gentleman. And in Modern Baptists, a sense of the genteel buts up against some fairly Faulkner-esque happenings, and the comic plot that ensues provides characters ample opportunities to miss sharply described chances at changing for the better. Tula Springs, the fictional setting of this novel, is so clearly inscri ...more
Shalon Lippert
Funny, I think I know some of the characters in this book. I live in the community in which this story takes place and, I can tell you, it is an accurate account. The humor is subtle but sharp. I found myself laughing at things a few pages later... Don't understand why some people hated it so much. I do agree that you kind of expect more to happen but then, nothing really happens here anyway.
Stephen Roth
Apr 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poor Bobby Pickens. His doctor has diagnosed him with malignant cancer, his half-brother, F.X., has moved in after being been released from Angola Prison, and Bobby is in danger of losing his job as assistant manager at the Sonny Boy Bargain Store in Tula Springs, Louisiana.

If that doesn't sound particularly funny, read on for a few pages and see why Bobby Pickens (or "Mr. Pickens" as he is usually addressed) might be the most amusing Southern anti-hero since Ignatius Reilly in Confederacy of Du
Julie Ehlers
This is one of my favorite books of all time, but there's really nothing I can say about it that hasn't already been said in this review.
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I discovered this book in a search for "authors like Charles Portis," which I knew was a fool's errand but couldn't resist the possibility that there might, somewhere, be another author out there I liked as much.
So of course my first reactions to "Modern Baptists" were of a comparative nature, and generally negative-- I'd say the closest Portis analogue is "Norwood," and "Norwood" got me laughing a lot more and a lot louder. However, as I made my way through Wilcox's novel, it grew on me in all
Apr 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dan by: Julia
This is another one of those books: I’m not sure whether I’m judging myself or the book.

This is humorous fiction. The characters are more or less ordinary people living in a small town in Louisiana. Almost all reflect the community’s lack of intellectual, educational and financial opportunity. At the beginning, Mr. Pickens is an assistant manager of what seems to be a cheap “department store” called Sonny Boy. Two of the prominent female characters are Burma, in her late thirties, and Toinette,
Dustin Saxton
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The characters in this book are alot of fun- nothing like backwoods Louisiana.
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James Wilcox (b. 1949 in Hammond, Louisiana) is an American novelist and a professor at LSU in Baton Rouge.

Wilcox is the author of eight comic novels set in, or featuring characters from, the fictional town of Tula Springs, Louisiana. Wilcox's first book Modern Baptists (1983) remains his best known work. His other novels are North Gladiola (1985), Miss Undine's Living Room (1987), Sort of Rich (1
More about James Wilcox...

Other Books in the Series

Tula Springs (5 books)
  • Miss Undine's Living Room
  • Polite Sex
  • Sort of Rich
  • North Gladiola