Taste of the Sweet Apple: A Memoirby Jo Anna Holt-Watson, Jo Anna Watson
[A] quirky memoir, without the sentimentality and insistence that drives so many personal accounts. Holt Watson has a deeply moving story to tell, with fully realized characters set loose in a specific world and time. And she has a distinctly humorous voice. I'm partial to any writer who can come up with a walleyed laundress and a prize bull named Big Business, in… See more details below
[A] quirky memoir, without the sentimentality and insistence that drives so many personal accounts. Holt Watson has a deeply moving story to tell, with fully realized characters set loose in a specific world and time. And she has a distinctly humorous voice. I'm partial to any writer who can come up with a walleyed laundress and a prize bull named Big Business, in a place called Heaven's Little Footstool. This is a wonderful book.-Bobbie Ann Mason
Jo Anna "Pee-Wee" Holt Watson's voice is so vivid that the reader is transported to a vanished rural culture: mid-20th century Kentucky. This memoir documents one summer, her seventh, at Grassy Springs Farm in the Bluegrass region of Woodford County. At the center of the book is a poetic and telling bond, an adoring friendship between this small white girl and a black foreman, Joe Collins. There's a tempestuous country-physician father, a beautiful, powerful mother in powerless times and the "wonderfully long-winded" Aunt Sudie Louisa. We witness the travail of hired laborers as well as the beauties of craft and devotion in Holt Watson's sharp rendering of traditional tobacco culture.
Here is a world of shadowy lanes, granddaddy's ice-cold artesian well, tobacco stripping rooms, a girl's pony barn, Ginnie Rae's Beauty Shoppe on Main Street and Ocean Frog's Grocery. Brimming with unsentimental innocence, she draws a tough-minded, tomboyaccomplished portrait of girlhood. In the rural tradition, Holt Watson is a conjuror of tales both hilarious and moving, mixed with temper and spirit.
Jo Anna "Pee-Wee" Holt-Watson is a fourth-generation Kentuckian and self-proclaimed Yellow Dog Democrat. She is an amateurphotographer, gardener, avid sports-person, former horse trials judge, and creator of Plumbline, a series of televised panel discussions regarding critical political and social issues. She currently lives in Louisville, Kentucky.
- Sarabande Books
- Publication date:
- Woodford Reserve Series for Kentucky Literature Ser.
- Product dimensions:
- 6.06(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(d)
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Jo Anna Holt-Watson spins a tale of childhood imagination that is seldom seen in any except seasoned published authors. 'A Taste of the Sweet Apple: a Memoir' has been well, but sometimes too innocently written, yet with a brilliant flair that will actually make you 'teary-eyed' in one instant and laugh out loud in the next. Her 'Memoirs' of her life on a rural central Kentucky tobacco farm in the '40s relates tales of a tender relationship with 'the hired help,' whom she brazenly persuades the reader into loving as much as she assures that she probably really did. Her tender feelings toward these simplistic, but ardently faithful 'keepers,' is not wasted on wishy-washy endearments, but rather is skillfully woven into her story, as told in the first person by a genuine tom-boy and sometimes romantic, but always head-strong girl. This is a 'must read' for all who yearn for a very fast, entertaining 'realistic look' at youth, through the eyes of an excellent storyteller. -- Thomas S. Markham, Lookout Mountain, GA