BUTTER ON BOTH SIDES by Lucile Watkins Ellison


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These affectionate recollections of a happy Alabama childhood early in this century--when the author was perhaps seven--are untempered by the perspective of years. In Ellison's third-person telling, Daddy was a farmer and part-time schoolteacher, and Mother was central to the ever-busy household which included assorted siblings and aunts. The fascinating minutiae of daily life fill most of the narrative, with everyone sharing the regular chores (bringing in wood for the cookstove, washing and ironing clothes, harvesting the vegetable garden) and pitching in on special occasions, such as preparing for an overnight steamboat outing up the picturesque Tombigbee River. There is much scrumptious emphasis on food--preparing it and eating it--both for every day and on festive occasions. The only cloud in these sunny skies is Daddy's long, mysterious illness; but he recovers in time for a wonderful Christmas in July. There's no real story here and not much character development either; events just go on and on and eventually stop. But the jacket copy suggests that there are more volumes in the family chronicle awaiting publication, and one looks forward to them.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1980
Publisher: Scribners