Chelsea Green Publishing

Holy Roller: Growing up in the Church of Knock down, Drag out;

eBook: 9781603580960
Pub. Date October 01, 2008

Holy Roller: Growing up in the Church of Knock down, Drag out;

Or, How I Quit Loving a Blue-Eyed Jesus: a Childhood Memoir

Availability: In Stock

eBook

Available Date:
October 01, 2008

$24.95 $19.96

In this rollicking memoir, Diane Wilson—a Texas Gulf Coast shrimper and the author of the highly acclaimed An Unreasonable Woman—takes readers back to her childhood in rural Texas and into her family of Holy Rollers. By night at tent revivals, Wilson gets religion from Brother Dynamite, an ex-con who finds Jesus in a baloney sandwich and handles masses of squirming poisonous snakes under the protection of the Holy Ghost. By day, Wilson scratches secret messages to Jesus into the paint on her windowsill and lies down in the middle of the road to see how long she can sleep in between passing trucks.

Holy Roller is a fast-paced, hilarious, sometimes shocking experience readers won’t soon forget. It is the prequel to Wilson’s first book, telling the story of the Texas childhood of a fierce little girl who will grow up to become An Unreasonable Woman, take on Big Industry, and win. One of the best Southern writers of her generation, Wilson’s voice twangs with a style and accent all its own, as true and individual as her boundless originality and wild youth.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

"This book is hothothot. Sizzling hot, hot as hellfire. Once again, Diane Wilson totally enthralls me with her one-of-a-kind voice and exotic material. My mouth is agape."--Janisse Ray, author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood

“Wilson's prose is breathtaking in its dexterity and blunt poetry.”--Library Journal, starred review

Publishers Weekly-
In her latest, shrimper and memoirist Wilson (An Unreasonable Woman) unspools the tale of her 1950s small-town upbringing along the Gulf Coast of Texas, the daughter of third-generation shrimpers. As in her first book, Wilson writes with a stylized cadence, sans extraneous punctuation, that readers will either take to or not: "Grandma ate Fritos in a glass of buttermilk for dinner and supper and that plus giving the radio evangelist all her shrimp-heading money was driving two of her daughters batty and two not so much." Her father, "a man's man who didn't talk unnecessarily to women," and is always off shrimping, leaves her to be raised by her eccentric mother and grandmother ("the original Waste Not Want Not-er... nothing was so low that it didn't get cooked into something else"), who nevertheless imbue her with strong, transcendent values. Meanwhile, a cast of characters that includes her Pentecostal Aunt Silver ("Pentecostals had faith and faith was the absence of planning") and a snake-handling Brother Dynamite lead her through a clash between the Church of Jesus Loves You and an upstart backwoods congregation. Wilson's distinctive voice makes for some whip-smart passages, and her southern Gothic world, a colorful and unpredictable place, is fully identifiable in its commitment to vice-tight family love and responsibility to some higher power.

Booklist-
When an international chemical company nearly destroyed the Gulf Coast bay from which she eked out a living as a shrimper, Wilson’s pursuit of the polluters was nearly messianic in its fervor, as recorded in An Unreasonable Woman (2005). Brought up by a zealous family of Pentecostal believers, Wilson comes by her sense of moral outrage at blatant injustice naturally. Churchgoing was more than an occasional Sunday morning outing; it was a 24/7 occupation overseen by a grandmother who judged every aspect of life according to a strict and literal interpretation of the scriptures. In Wilson’s provocative memoir of life in the Texas Bible Belt of the 1950s, snake-handling preachers, fitful parishioners speaking in tongues, and money-hungry radio evangelists share equal billing with corrupt game wardens, outlaw fishermen, and less-than-devout male relatives whose “back-sliding” ways give their womenfolk immense cause for concern. Through a vividly kaleidoscopic voice that captures the intensity of fanatical religious rapture with pitch-perfect accuracy, Wilson exuberantly animates a feverish time, a frenetic place, and its fiery people.

Carol Haggas

AWARDS

  • Commended - ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award: Autobiography & Memoir - 2008

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Diane Wilson

Diane Wilson is an eco-warrior in action. A fourth-generation shrimper, Wilson began fishing the bays off the Gulf Coast of Texas at the age of eight. By 24, she was a boat captain. In 1989, while running her brother's fish house at the docks and mending nets, she read a newspaper article that listed her home of Calhoun County as the number one toxic polluter in the country. She set up a meeting in the town hall to discuss what the chemical plants were doing to the bays and thus began her life as an environmental activist. Threatened by thugs and despised by her neighbors, Wilson insisted the truth be told and that Formosa Plastics stop dumping toxins into the bay.

Since then, she has launched legislative campaigns, demonstrations, and countless hunger strikes to raise awareness for environmental and human rights abuses.

Wilson speaks to the core of courage in each of us that seeks to honor our own moral compass, and act on our convictions. She has been honored with a number of awards for her work, including: National Fisherman Magazine Award, Mother Jones's Hell Raiser of the Month, Louis Gibbs' Environmental Lifetime Award, Louisiana Environmental Action (LEAN) Environmental Award, Giraffe Project, Jenifer Altman Award, Blue Planet Award and the Bioneers Award.

She is also a co-founder of CODEPINK, the Texas Jail Project, Texas Injured Workers, Injured Workers National Network and continues to lead the fight for social justice.

ALSO BY THIS AUTHOR

Diary of an Eco-Outlaw

Diary of an Eco-Outlaw

By Diane Wilson

Diane Wilson is an activist, shrimper, and all around hell-raiser whose first book, An Unreasonable Woman, told of her battle to save her bay in Seadrift, Texas. Back then, she was an accidental activist who worked with whistleblowers, organized protests, and eventually sunk her own boat to stop the plastic-manufacturing giant Formosa from releasing dangerous chemicals into water she shrimped in, grew up on, and loved.

But, it turns out, the fight against Formosa was just the beginning. In Diary of an Eco-Outlaw, Diane writes about what happened as she began to fight injustice not just in Seadrift, but around the world-taking on Union Carbide for its failure to compensate those injured in the Bhopal disaster, cofounding the women's antiwar group Code Pink to protest the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, attempting a citizens arrest of Dick Cheney, famously covering herself with fake oil and demanding the arrest of then BP CEO Tony Hayward as he testified before Congress, and otherwise becoming a world-class activist against corporate injustice, war, and environmental crimes.

As George Bernard Shaw once said, "all progress depends on unreasonable women." And in the Diary of an Eco-Outlaw, the eminently unreasonable Wilson delivers a no-holds-barred account of how she-a fourth-generation shrimper, former boat captain, and mother of five-took a turn at midlife, unable to stand by quietly as she witnessed abuses of people and the environment. Since then, she has launched legislative campaigns, demonstrations, and hunger strikes-and generally gotten herself in all manner of trouble.

All worth it, says Wilson. Jailed more than 50 times for civil disobedience, Wilson has stood up for environmental justice, and peace, around the world-a fact that has earned her many kudos from environmentalists and peace activists alike, and that has forced progress where progress was hard to come by.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

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An Unreasonable Woman

An Unreasonable Woman

By Diane Wilson

When Diane Wilson, fourth-generation shrimp-boat captain and mother of five, learns that she lives in the most polluted county in the United States, she decides to fight back. She launches a campaign against a multibillion-dollar corporation that has been covering up spills, silencing workers, flouting the EPA, and dumping lethal ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride into the bays along her beloved Texas Gulf Coast. In an epic tale of bravery, Wilson takes her fight to the courts, to the gates of the chemical plant, and to the halls of power in Austin. Along the way she meets with scorn, bribery, character assassination, and death threats. Finally Wilson realizes that she must break the law to win justice: She resorts to nonviolent disobedience, direct action, and hunger strikes. Wilson's vivid South Texas dialogue resides somewhere between Alice Walker and William Faulkner, and her dazzling prose brings to mind the magic realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, replete with dreams and prophecies.

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

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AUTHOR VIDEOS

Diane Wilson (1) - Texas Gold

Diane Wilson at the Woodstock Forum

Diane Wilson (2) - Texas Gold

Diane Wilson - Climate Justice Fast - Day 24 Update

Finding our Way: Diane Wilson Interview

Diane Wilson's Keynote Address for Southeast Booksellers

Diane Wilson discusses her Pentacostal upbringing

Diane Wilson Video Introduction

Diane Wilson author of Holy Roller

Texas Gold Bottled Water commercial

Diane Wilson explains the 1984 Bhopal disaster

Diane Wilson, author of An Unreasonable Woman, at Bioneers

Unreasonable Woman - Diane Wilson

Diane Wilson Interviewed at Fairfield University

Diane Wilson Interviewed at Fairfield University

Where is the "Texas Gold"? (1 of 2)

Where is the "Texas Gold"? (1 of 2)

Where is the "Texas Gold"? (2 of 2)

Where is the "Texas Gold"? (2 of 2)

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When Diane Wilson, fourth-generation shrimp-boat captain and mother of five, learns that she lives in the most polluted county in the United States, she decides to fight back. She launches a campaign against a multibillion-dollar corporation that has been covering up spills, silencing workers, flouting the EPA, and dumping lethal ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride into the bays along her beloved Texas Gulf Coast. In an epic tale of bravery, Wilson takes her fight to the courts, to the gates of the chemical plant, and to the halls of power in Austin. Along the way she meets with scorn, bribery, character assassination, and death threats. Finally Wilson realizes that she must break the law to win justice: She resorts to nonviolent disobedience, direct action, and hunger strikes. Wilson's vivid South Texas dialogue resides somewhere between Alice Walker and William Faulkner, and her dazzling prose brings to mind the magic realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, replete with dreams and prophecies.

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