Victor Davis's Reviews > Ecology of a Cracker Childhood

Ecology of a Cracker Childhood by Janisse Ray
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's review
Apr 19, 2016

really liked it
Read from November 22 to 29, 2017

This is a lovely read with all the power and tradition of gothic southern folklore. Throughout the text (which is ostensibly about botany), Ray sows stories (some taller than others) about her family that are part Hillbilly Elegy, part Big Fish. The stories reveal much about southern culture, the beauty and happiness that can be found in poverty, mental illness, and addiction. Ray tells these stories from her memory's perspective, a child's point of view untainted by the sociopolitical discoveries of growing up. The botany aspect of the book provides the setting more than the story, although a large swath towards the end (recounting her college days) takes up the conservationist cause of the southern Longleaf Pine. I recommend this to anyone who loves books on nature, but especially to those confounded or intrigued by the paradoxes of southern living, modern and historic.

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Reading Progress

04/19/2016 marked as: to-read
11/22/2017 marked as: currently-reading
11/24/2017 page 150
51.0% "Beautiful, inspiring, flowing prose. Larger than life characters & stories grace the pages in classic southern gothic storytelling style."
11/29/2017 marked as: read

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