Tuesday, 25 October 2011 13:27

Home Truths: A Deep East Texas Memory Reviewed in The Anniston Star

Anniston Star Steven Whitton, Professor of English at Jacksonville State University, reviewed Home Truths: A Deep East Texas Memory in the October 21, 2011, edition of the Anniston Star. Professor Whitton writes:

“I have spent a lifetime depending on what not telling the truth will do to get me by.”

That truth is at the heart of this deeply affecting memoir by Gerald Duff, author most recently of Fire Ants, a remarkable collection of short stories many of which are set in the East Texas of Duff’s youth. Home Truths is just as wickedly comic and startling as that collection of stories; the memoir is honest and brave, and it contains not one bit of self-pity.

The childhood of Gerald Duff in East Texas and on the Gulf Coast was not one of enviable adventure. It was one of dependency, not freedom. It was one of loss, for Big Willie Duff, his father, lost his job with the petro-chemical industry in the Golden Triangle of Texas at the end of World War II. It was one of leave-taking, of return to “the logged-out, farmed-out woods of East Texas, the remnants of the culture of the settlers from the Old South who came into Texas after the Civil War.”

Young Gerald’s way of finding his place in the harsh reality of this move back East? Lies. It is called survival. Duff even distinguishes between the lies he used: “There were lies of need and lies of convenience.” There were lies at home, lies in church, lies at school (some necessitated by what he brought forth from his lunch bag and had to display in the school lunchroom, especially the slices of bread he had to beg from an unwilling relative)...

To read the complete review online, click here.