GUMBO by Mack Thomas


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No doubt there is an automatic charm quotient here -- a boyhood in Texas in the thirties in the days of the well, outdoor plumbing, and bare feet in the summer, but the author has managed to come up with some lively kids and likable, if a shade saintly, adults. This is a collection of vignettes from a boyhood -- the forest of adult legs; the wonder of seeing motes in a sumbeam; the prickling sensation on awakening from a nap; the understanding of a word like ""brother""; the dawning comprehension of the troubles of an adult world; school and a twittering of teachers; Christmas; and always the family -- Mama and Papa returning from the huge white mill that ""eats you up,"" Grandma and Grandpa's arrival, Grandpa's death; and most charmingly, later boyhood, with a revival conversion by the side of blond Emmy Lou, a clarinet concert with the frogs, and a last treehouse. Certainly this collection of sketches is warm and wonderful in spots, but unlike Death in the Family there is no pain in this love. Nothing really wrong can happen here, and one suspects that in the love that floweth over there is a suspicion of syrup. Three have appeared in the S.E.P. Safe for sales.

Pub Date: March 12th, 1965
Publisher: Grove