Friday, July 11, 2014

Each summer I give myself a reading theme which guides me through the lazy, hot days of summer's literary banquet.  Last year I read the works of Hemingway (loved Green Hills of Africa and The Sun also Rises) and the summer before I re-read my favorites (The Road, Crime and Punishment, Marjorie Morningstar).  This summer's reading theme is memoirs (with a few contemporary fiction titles thrown into my beach bag, as well!).
So far, I have enjoyed the life stories of cold New Englanders,  early twentieth century English servants and the Lords and Ladies they served and one reluctant Southern belle.  I begin my summer reading reviews with a memoir by the author of Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances Mayes. 

In her newest book, the memoir Under Magnolia
Frances Mayes shares the painful details of her Fitzgerald, Georgia childhood.  Raised by parents tormented by an excess of money, liquor and misplaced self-esteem, Frances Mayes childhood story paints a picture of both pain and love.
She shows us the deep, personal drama of the well-written memoir, sharing stories that are both beautiful and sad.  We, the readers, are immersed in Ms. Mayes heavy sense of place, as we walk with her on the warm, red clay paths in the shimmering, smothering summer heat of south Georgia.
Taking us through her school years, from elementary school to Randolph-Macon College, we get to know Ms. Mayes through vignettes, musings and verse, an interesting start to her interesting life.

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