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Ecology of a Cracker Childhood: 15th Anniversary Edition Paperback – November 24, 2015
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Anne Raver, New York Times
Suffused with the same history-haunted sense of loss that imprints so much of the South and its literature. What sets Ecology of a Cracker Childhood apart is the ambitious and arresting mission implied in its title. Ray's passion for preserving this unsung landscape is heartfelt and refreshing.”
Tony Horwitz, New York Times Book Review
The gorgeously written Ecology of a Cracker Childhood combines memoir and nature writing in such a way as to take the reader there, to the longleaf pine forests of south Georgia before it was all logged away.”
Bloomsbury Review, Editor's Favorite Books of 1999
About the Author
- Publisher : Milkweed Editions; Anniversary edition (November 24, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 294 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1571313257
- ISBN-13 : 978-1571313256
- Item Weight : 13.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.4 x 1 x 8.4 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #233,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Ms. Ray writes about Christian fundamentalism very matter-of-factly; neither condemning or endorsing the religion that permeated every aspect of her growing up years. She talks about her family lineage and inter-generational poverty in a style that is reminiscent of Rick Bragg, a fellow southern author.
Deprived children must be resourceful and creative. Ms. Ray and her siblings “took trips” in abandoned cars that populated her father’s junkyard. “Sometimes in warm weather and even in cold, to escape the house and the endless work, we would go sit in the junk cars with the windows rolled down, and we would pretend to travel to far-off places.”
In time, Ms. Ray will leave home, journeying northward to college. She will meet an older student, a kindred spirit – “we loved the same things – poetry and the woods. Aloud across a campfire we read Walt Whitman, and when we described the lives we wanted, our desires were the same: to live simply, close to nature, to grow and collect our own food, to use plants as medicines, to be as self-sufficient as possible.”
As I write this on a splendid early summer morning, a grey squirrel is clambering down a tall Douglas fir tree, heading for the side of the house in search of sunflower seeds and peanuts that may have rolled off the deck railing above. I have seen dozens of other squirrels make that same precarious journey down that same tree but today there is an extra measure of appreciation for our mutual existence.
Liked the alternating between chapters
Loved the poignant descriptions of the lovely forest
Everything was New to me because I have never been there
Really magnificent writing
Janisse Ray is writing about what she knows best. The human dimension to her tale is a tale of growing up with her family in the natural world. The family home sits in the middle of a junkyard along old Route 1 in southeastern Georgia in a forest of longleaf pine. It is a coming of age story, where she is clearly destined for a horizon beyond the junkyard in the pines.
She is solidly grounded in her childhood environment, low on the affluence scale, but one which has prepared her well for life. "Ecology of a Cracker Childhood" conveys a great sense of place and will give the reader a newfound respect for a forest of longleaf pine.
I bought this book at the Visitor Center at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, not all that far from Baxley, Georgia. I am glad they stocked it in the store. Reading this put me on to "Pinhook," her next work which I also recommend.