Publisher’s Weekly

First-time author Lourd, a Beverly Hills businessman, declares that his early life in New Iberia in the lowest part of Louisiana—“the heart of Cajun country”—is never far from his mind in this sensitive and funny memoir. Lourd’s story is dominated by the imposing figure of his father, Harvey “Puffer” Lourd, a truck driver who rode the oil boom of the 1970s in the South and made his family part of what Lourd calls “the idle middle-class-elite”—yearly new cars and country club memberships—until the oil price collapse of 1981 “devastated the South.” During his heyday, Puffer introduced his son to the deep roots of Cajun country life, which Lourd captures in detail: duck hunting, beer drinking, girl chasing, and a bittersweet adventure to Mexico. Though his father becomes a sad figure after the oil bust, Lourd effectively recalls the halcyon days of a man who proudly defined himself as a “coonass”—here used as an endearing term for a certain type of Cajun. Rich or poor, white-collar or blue-collar, “he’s generally unpretentious and comfortable with himself, listens to his gut, has horse sense, and, yes, tends to be indulgent.” Agent: Richard Morris, Janklow & Nesbit. (Aug.)