Unmistakably firsthand but demonstrating perhaps the shifting sights of memory, these recollections of a Mississippi boyhood...

READ REVIEW

GOOD OLD BOY

Unmistakably firsthand but demonstrating perhaps the shifting sights of memory, these recollections of a Mississippi boyhood contain many of the episodes and much of the wording of the first part of North Toward Home (1967), but without the probing complexity of Morris' adult book. The spooky local folklore is here, as are the ""long and heavy afternoons,"" the summers of baseball and visits and riding in Bubba's old Model A and tramping with Willie's marvelous dog Skip. Retained too are the thoughtless practical jokes -- gift-wrapped rats, a graveyard scare, prank phone calls -- but the Negro-baiting is expurgated, as are the less flattering manifestations of the Southern white boy's racial attitudes. (Here he only ""reckoned they should have been going to the same school with us because we saw them all the time anyway, and they talked like us and wondered about a lot of the same things."") All told this version is less revealing but more of a story, with Spit, Bubba, Muttonhead and the others reappearing like fictional characters, and one incredible (but fascinating) new scene, Faulknerian in its bizarre impact and its cultivation of suspense, in which the boys capture seven giant tattooed Indian grave robbers in a deserted mansion. It's hard to separate the facts from fiction here and hard to give up the incisive introspection of North Toward Home for this more nostalgic picture, but even through the filters Morris' ""rich, slow"" Southern atmosphere makes for an affecting encounter.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 1971

ISBN: 0916242684

Page Count: -

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1971