Review by Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Clearly Ford (Let Me Be Frank with You, 2014) has always been inquisitive and observant. Otherwise how could this renowned fiction writer, winner of a Carnegie and a Pulitzer, summon up such arrestingly precise details in his first work of nonfiction, an exquisitely sensitive double portrait of his parents and memoir about being a late child and an only child ? Ford illuminates the hardscrabble Arkansas childhoods of Parker and Edna, their 1928 marriage, and the renegade pleasure they took in living on the road as smart, pretty, lively and watchful Edna accompanied Parker, a large, shy, likable man with a warm, hesitant smile on his route selling laundry starch throughout seven southern states. This happily itinerant existence with no great cares lasted until Ford arrived in 1944. His parents finally established a permanent home in Jackson, Mississippi, where mother and son stayed alone all week, growing extremely close, while Parker called on far-flung customers, maintaining an increasingly grueling routine. Ford was 16 when his father's heart gave out, forcing Ford to grow up in a hurry as his resilient mother became the wage earner. Illustrated with family photographs, Ford's remembrance of his parents is a masterful distillation of sensuous description, psychological intricacy, social insights, and a keen sense of place. Ford's reflections are bright with wit, edgy with candor, and lustrous with extraordinary poignancy and love. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A major campaign for this very special, widely appealing book will pave the way for an eight-city author tour and extensive multimedia coverage.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2017 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Ford vividly and gracefully preserves his memories of parents, his life "between them," and the small Southern towns that provided the limits and the possibilities of their lives. His parents-traveling salesman father Parker, and housewife mother Edna-were married in 1928; and though they wanted a child, they didn't need one to be "fully formed," according to Ford, who was born in Jackson, Miss., in 1944. One section of the book is devoted to Ford's father, Parker; Ford completed it in 2015, nearly 55 years after Parker's death. Ford wrote the section about his mother, Edna, shortly after her death in 1981. When his father took a job selling laundry starch for the Faultless Company, he traveled through much of the South, and he and Edna lived on the road, in hotels in Memphis; New Orleans; and Pensacola, Fla.. Before Ford started school, he often accompanied them, but as he grew older, he became increasingly aware of his father's absences, determining that "permanence was something you fashioned." Following Parker's death from a heart attack when Ford was 16, Edna took a series of jobs and became brisk and businesslike. Every page of this little remembrance teems with Ford's luxuriant prose, his moving and tender longing for his parents, and his affecting and intimate portrait of two people simply living life as best they can as their world changes around them. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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