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The River Queen : a memoir
Mary Morris
Adult Nonfiction PS3563.O87445 Z46 2007

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In this chronicle of a self-imposed journey down the Upper Mississippi River, Morris (Nothing to Declare) attempts to figure out her future and enjoy herself. After her daughter leaves for college and her father dies, Morris opts to jump aboard a houseboat, hoping the quest will help her navigate life's troughs. It's a great idea, but the voyage is tough on the reader. Morris is a touchy trekker, making her less than a great travel companion. Until the last third of the book, she's distressed by just about everything having to do with the venture. The cramped quarters on the houseboat, the food, the once booming river towns now mostly boarded up and lonely, and the sometimes tedious pace all cause her consternation. "I hate pizza. I hate all that doughy stuff. I want a meal, shower, amenities," sums up her attitude for most of the trip. Morris sprinkles the narrative with tantalizing bits of fact and opinion regarding both the human and natural environments she encounters. This is where the book sparkles. But often she barely skims the surface, leaving the reader thirsty for more. Sadly, by the time Morris regains her spirit and begins to enjoy the adventure, readers may have jumped ship. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, travel writer and memoirist Morris (Nothing To Declare) set out on a decrepit houseboat with two river guides named Tom and Jerry. As her life was changing rapidly-her father had just died at age 103, and her daughter was leaving for her first year of college-Morris decided to travel, seeking comfort and adventure by returning to her family home, the Midwest's river country. The journey down the Mississippi took her boat through many unfamiliar places, but Morris was most interested in the towns that were significant to her father's long life. She writes of him as a difficult, often abusive, and secretive man and tries to reconcile their troubled relationship, weaving a memoir of her family into a travelog recounting fascinating places and people, including a Katrina survivor, a sorcerer, and denizens of many small ports. Never sentimental or maudlin, this is a realistic memoir of a strong woman on both a physical and an emotional journey at midlife. Recommended for public libraries and academic libraries with travel collections.-Lisa N. Johnston, Sweet Briar Coll. Lib., VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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