by Nancy Long

"There is happy chatter over rustling paper bags against corduroyed legs as the children tell Mary about points of interest along the way."

Growing up in the outskirts of Jacksonville, Florida, the author of this book shares her memories of a childhood full of adventures out in nature and within the home. Recalling times spent with her adventurous older brother Benjy and more reserved, grown-up older sister Lorraine, Long presents family stories of the children going fishing, meeting new neighbors, making trips to the circus, and building a clubhouse. From her early childhood and all the way to driving lessons, the author grows up among tough love and is never afraid to do anything that the boys her age get up to. Sharing her personal history in the narrative style of a storyteller, the author transports the reader back to the days of endless summers spent out in the sunshine and magical Christmas moments full of wonder.

Both a recollection of times past and a celebration of life the way it used to be, the book pinpoints crucial details of the times and captures the distinctive regional dialect in order to bring this story to life. That manner of speaking is meticulously laid out in every bit of dialogue, with drawn-out vowels and omitted consonants portrayed in phonetically-presented speech. Not concerned solely with being accurate to events as they occurred, the resulting story is one that entertains rather than educates, foregoing overlong explanations in favor of reactions and exclamations that would have occurred along with the events on the page. Each chapter offers up its own unique slice of life and a moment in time that readers will be enchanted by, doubtlessly made nostalgic for the more carefree moments in life. Long’s translating of her childhood to the page with a Twainish penchant for dialogue and mannerisms results in a read that is captivating and engrossing.

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