Thursday, January 8, 2015

Review: Sketches of a Small Town Circa 1940 by Clifton K. Meador, MD

For a boy coming of age during the 1930s and '40s, Greenville, Alabama, a small cotton-farming town in the Deep South, was a wonderfully rich environment. Greenville may have been small, but for author Clifton K. Meador, MD, life growing up there was anything but dull. 

In his memoir Sketches of a Small Town...circa 1940, Meador lovingly retells the stories that formed his values and shaped his life. 

For young Clifton and his friends, there's plenty of trouble to stir up, ranging from a field fire, to buzzard hunting, to fights between the "country boys" and the "city boys," and, of course, girls. There are also poignant moments, such as the loss of his best friend because of the impenetrable wall of segregation. And there are quirky characters-the town's sole, somewhat frightening taxi driver; the intriguing, cross-dressing homosexual; and the eccentric agronomy professor turned failed farmer.

Sketches of a Small Town...circa 1940 not only tells one man's story, but also beautifully captures the remarkable people, places, and events that characterized a unique lifestyle in a bygone era. 

"What we have here is a poignant, very funny, yet respectful look back at small-town life and characters in the Deep South in the '30s and '40s, pre-prosperity, before it was a recognized condition. Meador is a Mark Twain without the river and a Garrison Keillor without the snow... and Baptists instead of Lutherans. I loved this book." 

-Harold Chambliss - freelance writer, humorist, and former magazine publisher

Received for review.

This was an interesting and informative collection of stories about a small Southern town which gives you a window into a specific time and place.  

Some of the stories are quite depressing and I almost abandoned the book after reading about the graphic and violent death of the author's dog, Frisky, but I continued and learned quite a bit.  The book is certainly not a happy or uplifting one though.

Overall this is an interesting read which provides a frank look at a the people and their town and holds nothing back and it may be worth a look if you are interested in that sort of thing.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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