I am the founder and sole member of My Mother’s Book Club. It’s nothing like Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine: it’s a way to commune with the dead. Once a month I plan to read one of Mom’s favorite old books. It’s not quite a seance, but it helps me feel closer to her.
As a young woman I couldn’t wait to leave my hometown. My husband and I moved to an ugly polluted city, where there were job opportunities. When we returned to the sunny midwest, I appreciated my willful, confident mom. It was she who raised me to be obstinate, imaginative, and an avid reader. She bought me books at the grocery store (remember Whitman classics?) and at downtown bookstores (Nancy Drew and E. Nesbit). She let me take a sick day from school so I could finish The Lord of the Rings.
She was a film buff, and preferred books adapted into movies. And so I thought I’d start with Sally Benson’s Meet Me in St. Louis, which she kept on a shelf in the storage room for years. (I was the only one with a bookcase.) But the book is out-of-print, and selling for $70 online. What’s with that?
Instead, I am reading Cid Ricketts Sumner’s Tammy out of Time, which inspired the movies Tammy and the Bachelor and Tammy Tell Me True, starring Debbie Reynolds. All right, I’ve never seen those two, but my mother took me at a very young age to see Tammy and the Doctor with Sandra Dee and Peter Fonda.
I’ve only read a few chapters, but the book is very well-written. Tammy has been raised on a shanty boat on the Mississippi, and has never even seen herself in a mirror (only in bucket of water). In the first few chapters, it’s Southern Gothic meets Our Mutual Friend. (Honestly, there’s an allusion to Lizzie Hexam and her father.) But I’m expecting comedy, because aren’t the Tammy movies about romance?
The ebook is only $2.99!