A HOME IN THE TALL MARSH GRASS by Roy Attaway

A HOME IN THE TALL MARSH GRASS

A Moving Low Country Memoir
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Bland memoir by Attaway (former top editor at Boating and Yachting magazines) of his youth in the South Carolina Lowcountry, and of his difficult relationship with his father. Attaway's home was near the tidal marshes of the South Carolina sea islands, where he learned early on to love fishing. Doomed to disappoint his father with his lack of interest in team sports or prowess at them, the author was nonetheless able to win his approval on fishing trips: Father and son were united in their passion for fishing as they were in nothing else. Attaway's mother is described here as a good cook, a music lover with something of a tin ear, and an avid gardener--but no fisherwoman. And this wasn't the only lack of accord between her and her husband: When Roy was about six, his parents separated for several months and the boy went with his mother to live in Florida. But the couple reconciled and normality was restored. As he entered high school, Attaway found life ``pretty much something out of the movies: Hollywood's version of the American Dream, Middle-Class Division, Whiteboy Department.'' The author's father, an ineffectual insurance salesman, was then suffering financial reversals, so Attaway began writing for the local paper to make some money--ten cents per column inch. After that it was on to the University of North Carolina, where he became ``Party Boy Roy'' before dropping out to marry. The marriage produced two daughters but ended in divorce: ``all of it my fault,'' Attaway says, ``as anyone could have predicted,'' although we've learned so little about the author as to have no idea why anyone would predict this. Attaway's text ends with him remarried, still fishing, lamenting his father's death and the gap he and his father were unable to bridge. Some evocative descriptions of the Lowcountry's natural beauty--but, overall, lacking in drama or distinctive characterization.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 1-55821-254-X
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Lyons Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1993