WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN READING?

Thank you, Frances Mayes, for your memoir “Under Magnolia” of growing up in tiny Fitzgerald, Georgia. Any children of the South who picks up “Under Magnolia” will be pitched headfirst into their own memories of gardenias, camellias, trespassing in forbidden creeks and rivers, eavesdropping on the adults and desperately trying to puzzle out race, economics, politics, and what it means to grow up. Mayes’s vivid description of embarking on higher education at Randolph-Macon will capture anyone who attended (or dated anyone at) a woman’s college in the sixties. The book has obvious appeal for southerners, but the power and beauty of Mayes’s writing, and her honesty in plumbing her own past, will make most of us think for several days about what it might be like to explore our own memories.