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

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

April 19, 2016 – Shelved
April 19, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
November 21, 2017 – Started Reading
November 24, 2017 –
page 150
51.02% "Beautiful, inspiring, flowing prose. Larger than life characters & stories grace the pages in classic southern gothic storytelling style."
November 28, 2017 – Finished Reading

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