I decided to read this book, because I read Under the Tuscan Sun and although I don't remember much about the book , I remember that I enjoyed it. Also the concept of growing up in the South is an interesting one for me, and although I still enjoy vacationing there, I'm not sure I would want to move back... although that is more due to the intense bone melting heat of summer, the absolute unmoving heavy dead air, and the spider and bugs.
While Mayes is 25 years older than me, much of what she described still existed in my childhood South, good and bad. The way she remembers and describes is masterful. Reading her descriptions, you could be transported to the brackish rivers, the breezy spring verandas. Her chaotic haphazard upbringing, her helpless shooting star mother, her father who was both loving, yet volatile - especially around her mother. (Do people substitute arguments and dramatic fights to replace passion when they run out? They kind of remind me of my grandparents in a way) Her bully of a grandfather, who got the last say even into the grave. And especially resonating for me, was her closeness and attachment to the family maid Willie Bell, who was "lost to the North". Kids to get attached, have emotions and then experience loss when an "employee" leaves and is lost in time and geography.
Definitely worth the read.