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Dont Let My Mama Read This: A Southern-Fried Memoir

Terri Schlichenmeyer | 5/28/2009, 5 p.m.

Let's say it's Saturday night and you're at home with no particular plans.
Dinner is done, the night is young, and you think you might see what's on TV. You grab the remote and flip through some channels.

Do you choose an action movie you've seen a dozen times, a tired old repeat of some 80s show, or do you click on something that's going to make you chuckle?

How about this: forget about the TV. Instead, grab "Don't Let My Mama Read This: A Southern-Fried Memoir" (c.2008, Harlem Moon, $12.95 / $14.95 Canada, 219 pages) by Hadjii. This book is funnier than any television show you can watch.

Hadjii says he didn't grow up in a bad neighborhood. His childhood was spent playing with other kids on his block, taking turns riding bikes, digging holes in the back yard, snagging any kind of game with any sort of ball in it, and skinning his knees. He was a good kid, but he got into his share of trouble.

Like, for instance, the underwear scheme he devised to keep his Mama happy. Women, Hadjii says, hate dirty "draws" more than anything in the world, and although his Mama tried to get him to change, he had an idea. "No matter how crusty ya draws are, [Mama] can't get too mad at me if I'm readin' the Bible."

Hadjii says he went to a "white school" where he was one of two black students (which meant he spent a lot of time being the Black Second Opinion, umm-hmmm) and he got decent enough grades even though he didn't apply himself. He has some funny - but scolding - things to say about people who tell young kids that they'll never be anything when they grow up. After all, he points out, we need retail clerks and ditch diggers in this world.

As an only child, Hadjii sometimes played the peacemaker between his Mama, who was feisty, and his father who had two moods: bad mood and worse mood. Still, he says his father taught him to catch a ball, tell good TV from bad TV, and decorate Christmas trees. Hadjii says his Mama, though, "is a very, very, extremely smart woman... I've seen her in action. She would've found bin Laden a long time ago."

In his introduction, author Henry Cameron Hand (nicknamed Hadjii by his father) apologizes to just about everybody in America. That should give you a clue where this book is heading, but don't let that stop you because "Don't Let My Mama Read This" is scream-with-laughter hilarious. There is very little here that remotely approaches "politically correct" but I have to admit that I laughed until I hurt. Then - and it's this kind of book - I called my Mama on the phone and read her parts of it. Despite that it's filled with profanity, she wants her own copy now.

Think twice before you give this for a gift, but don't miss "Don't Let My Mama Read This" yourself. For fans of improv, club comedians, or stand-up comedy, this book is fall-down funny.