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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
Finding Celia's Place
Format: Hardcover|Change
Price:$29.95+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on November 11, 2015
great condition as advertised
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HALL OF FAMEon April 11, 2006
It's been a while since I've read another Willie-Morris related book but I was drawn to this one by frequent references to Celia Morris in a recent biography of the Harpers editor by Larry King, not the talk show host but a Texas based writer and anecdotalist. I've read the biography of Willie, but it seems that Larry King, who knew both Willie and Celia, didn't really care for Celia because his book is clearly biased in favor of Willie's second wife, the editor JoAnne Pritchard. I decided to go to the source and find out more about the woman herself, Celia Morris, by reading her account of her own life, and in FINDING CELIA'S PLACE I struck the motherlode! She tells it exactly as she found it.

It was a challenge for Celia to overcome to orejudices of her place and time, while still remaining true to her roots as a Texan and a woman. She had strong female relatives, older crones in the family, women she learned from, their struggles and their achievements, and also, how frustrating it was trying to be the perfect wife in the 1950s. It's not all tears, though, there are many amusing tales, including the first penis she saw! Belonged to a neighbor boy who could do tricks with it, wiggle it a bit, and Celia was singularly unimpressed!

Eventually adultery and alcoholism deter her from her path, and she winds up with not one, but two "liberal folk heroes" as she calls them. In a 12 step program, a fellow drinker confides in the group that if he were to take another drink, he would die. She comes right back with, if she were to take another drink, she'd marry a third liberal folk hero.

The glamor and the excitement that Willie Morris brought to his book NEW YORK DAYS, and the adoration of the lab Skip, in MY DOG SKIP, she sees from another angle, for often enough thoughtless Willie would bring home twelve men from Harpers and order her to make dinner, when she was completely worn out from dealing with little David all day, his skinned knees, his need for adventure. Plus, they were trying to survive in the jet set on a very limited budget. Finding her own place in the sun meant shedding the excess baggage of husband and traditional domestic cares. Good for her.

I was surprised to see, after an initial flurry of reviews in the months immediately following publication, that no one has apparently written about FINDING CELIA'S PLACE on this Amazon site in four or five years! A tragic lack of recognition, when this book should be required reading in all college classrooms. Perhaps people got tired of the title, it sounds whiny, when the book itself is anything but!
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on January 5, 2001
I loved this book and couldn't put it down once I started. The story is an autobiography of a girl who grew up in Texas in the 40s and 50s and her surprising life's journey. What interested me in the book was that Celia begins her life as the "perfect girl"- A "University Sweetheart" from the Theta sorority at the University of Texas. With her background and accomplishments, most would have predicted that she would have ended up in the suburbs with 2.5 children doing nonprofit work, etc., but she truly chose "the road less taken." Pulling her in a different direction was her intellectual ability and curiosity-she was a Phi Beta Kappa at Texas-which eventually led her to New York and the upper reaches of the literary world there. Part of the book is devoted to her marriage to William Morris, on paper the "perfect man"--Rhodes Scholar, noted editor--but in reality less than perfect. She is brutally honest about their marriage, their life and his and her infidelities. This book will be of particular interest to those women who came of age in the 50s and did end up in the suburbs for this glimpse of life "on the other side." This book would also be of interest to those who would be interested in how an ambitious and talented woman in the 50s attempted to break out of the norm and the difficulties that faced her. Her keen observations refreshed my childhood and youthful memories and her life's story provoked deep thought on the meaning of a successful life. It is a fabulous book.
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on February 1, 2001
I've read lots of memoirs by women and written one. Let me tell you, Celia Morris' "Finding Celia's Place" is in a class all its own. For starters, it is beautifully written and hard to put down. More importantly, she pushes the envelope for honesty among women on the subjects of sex, motherhood, marriage, and politics. I can think of hardly any books that go as far as she does in depicting a woman's sexual maturation beyond youth and into late middle age. She stands almost alone among women who have written well about their intellectual roots and maturation. Simone de Beauvoir's "She Came to Stay" is the only book I can think of to compare to this one.
judith paterson
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on January 23, 2001
Celia Morris is a well-known feminist and political activist who grew up in Houston, attended the University of Texas in the 1950s, and was drawn to the women's revolution as an adult. This fascinating memoire vividly describes her gradually developed understanding of women's thralldom in a sexist society, and her ultimately successful efforts to achieve freedom. Her story, however, is not simply an account of one woman's liberation. It is an extremely well-written, humane, and balanced account of her marriages to the writer Willie Morris and the Texas politician Bob Eckhardt, of her intense friendships with mentors--male and female--and of her complicated relations with her family as she broke free of the traditional constraints of woman's role as it was defined in the 1950s. There is much to be learned from Morris's autobiography. Not least is the long and difficult road many women her age have traveled to gain autonomy, and the special satisfactions that autonomy brings. I recommend it highly.
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on January 4, 2001
What makes this book appeal to me is the unflinching honesty with which the author depicts the events of her extraordinary life. Her struggle to "find Celia's place," though often painful for her, made fascinating reading. She made me feel like I knew the people in the literary and political worlds she lived in. Her description of the relationship between her parents was especially moving to me, as was her story of her close childhood friend who met a tragic end. And besides all that, this lady knows how to use the English language. The book is beautifully written. I loved it!
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on March 9, 2001
Celia Morris' memoir should be a permanent fixture on the syllabus of any Women's Studies course - or American History, for that matter. Morris' wrenching account of a woman struggling to keep up appearances at the same time that she is developing intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically throws into high relief the relative comfort in which the daughters of her generation (like me)are able to move through life. Were it not for the faith - and occasional lapses of it - and courage of women like Celia Morris, women of my generation would have no hope but to fall victim to the same myths of femininity and womanly duty.
American women of all ages owe Celia Morris a debt of gratitude for giving us her story.
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on January 7, 2001
This is the incandescent story of a woman born in Texas who travels the far geography of her mind and the earth unafraid to be strong, brilliant, bursting with life and laughter. The celebrated people she encounters in this country and abroad are vividly drawn, but none more so than herself. Her observations on her Texas roots and the intellects of Washington, New York and London are fascinating. "Finding Celia's Place" should find a place in every thoughtful woman and man's bookshelf and heart.
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on January 6, 2001
I'm an old friend of the author and mentioned in this book so I am not unbiased. But I was entranced by Celia's amazingly clear headed and honest ability to recreate past times and events: her family; Texas atmosphere; Oxford modes and mores; her youthful intellectual excitement. Celia's perceptions of her own life made me think about my life. Fascinating and stimulating..
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