MEMPHIS AFTERNOONS

A MEMOIR

An affecting memoir that limns the sometimes bumpy journey to acceptance of one's people and the place they called home. On an assignment in his hometown of Memphis during the mid- 80's, Conaway (Napa, 1990, etc.) realized that his father's bizarre behavior was caused by something more profound than mere aging. The diagnosis of Alzheimer's meant that ``the comfortable melancholy'' Conaway had felt when returning home was replaced by an entirely different emotion—a sense of loss and of opportunities missed forever. This memoir is, in part, an attempt to answer all the questions the author had meant to ask his father but never did. Conaway—a member of the ``nowhere generation'' who grew up between the ``old post-World War Two verities'' and ``the opportunities and dangers inherent in the next social order''—records with wry humor his struggles to assert his independence in a family in which his father—who never completed his degree—dreamed of having a son as an engineer, and his mother—a sometime artist and daughter of a Pulitzer-winning cartoonist—longed for acceptance and fame in a city where social standing was all. The Memphis of Conaway's growing-up years was still in the thrall of the Old South and its rigid code of behavior. Segregation was a given—not only between white and black but between respectable whites and ``white trash'' (Elvis was officially recognized only when his fame attracted money to the city)—and the social life of Conaway and his peers was dominated by debutante balls and fraternity pledges. Old Memphis was a ``quirky'' place that didn't begin to change, the author says, until after the murder of Martin Luther King. Like all visits back home, a mix of humor, irritation, and love—as well as a deeply affecting tribute to a father who ``yearned for an immutable place where people and comforts, even foolish ones, endure.''

Pub Date: May 26, 1993

ISBN: 0-395-62945-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1993

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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