Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Under Magnolia (Not Next to BBQ)

It seems that whenever I try to put together the stories from my childhood, those that pile one on another in the ongoing, and sometimes dull, tale of me, there is no cohesive matter to string them together. What I get rather is a random, although heartfelt, journey through the people who conspired to shape my life. Not even my children, who profess to love me deeply, would be interested in making sense of this jumble of tales. It seems I have been forgetting the main character, the very place that gave me roots and home and history, the place where I lived those wonderful childhood years. Thankfully Frances Mayes, a far more gifted and accomplished writer, did not.

Under Magnolia, Mayes' beautiful history of her formative years, gives proper credit to the place that shaped in many ways the person she is today. Her words, paced to a slow southern drawl, create vivid images that are still somewhat murky with the heat of Georgia summers. Racing through the humidity soaked pages I ached for a sweet tea, unheard of in my northern home.

"Nothing about the South stirs me as much as the narcotizing fragrance of the land, jasmine, ginger lilies, gardenia, and honeysuckle blending, fetid and sweet", language that leaves no doubt as to what role Fitzgerald, Georgia played in her upbringing.  And while the South is the binder that holds these stories together, it is the characters, shaped in every possible way by home, that create the lovely story that slowly churns out like a lazy summer day; nothing compelling us to read beyond a curiosity for what might happen the next day. Frances Mayes writes a beautiful story of a childhood that wasn't always happy, and in no way perfect, but was every day very real. The voice, so clear, must harbor a bit of drawl she thought she had packed away years ago.

"In writing a life, you search for the white pebbles you didn't know your dropped to define your way."

Through Blogging for Books I received a review copy of this book.

Quotes from Frances Mayes, Under the Magnolia.

1 comment:

Rose said...

Fantastic book review enticing me to hit the "buy with one click " on my Amazon Prime account. Thanks so much Ally and I'll continue to follow your sage advice and vivid writing. Rose ��


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