Frances Mayes is reluctant to return to the south which has deeply ingrained her character. She has moved on with her life. She has married and then married more happily. She has lived in Italy and returned to the states and received great personal and professional levels of success. No matter where she lay her head she feels herself pulling back to the American south. She must return to the small town of Fitzgerald, Georgia.
Mayes both romanticizes and judges the lifestyle, religious fortitude and appearance ideals of the family and community that she grew up in. Beginning with her youth, we follow Mayes through the troubling, confusing school years made more difficult for her with parents who quarrel and drink to access.
The beginning of the book is told in brief passages that take time to create a rhythm. Once the rhythm kicks in the reader becomes intoxicated with the poetic, sing-song language and sweat-dripping visual imagery that Mayes conjures to share her life story with us.
The book is both a personal journey and a glowing representation of what America was like in the south in Mayes youth. The family elements are as true and sweet and sad as any that I’ve come across. Readers of contemporary fiction, traditional memoirs and American history would all appreciate the reverence and introspection of Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir.
**I was given a preview ebook of this title in exchange for my honest review by netgalley**