Oh, Mama, always doing things…
Bailey grew up and lives in a Southern Georgia town, not too far from Florida. There are alligators where she lives, one of which that was supposedly tamed by one of her family members. Bailey’s life is a bit eccentric to say the least, but what Southerner’s life isn’t just a bit eccentric?
Bailey never left home and stayed with her Mama her entire life. Mama is a described hoarder, not of the usual hoarding type. Mama hoards bones, deadly herbs, family objects that aren’t worth very much, and even a Porsche out on the porch. Mama may be a Southerner, but she’s not stupid. In fact she knows the Latin names of many things, creates her own experiments, and has a handy knack for attracting ornithologists. Bailey’s father is also something of a scientist, but he left the family to go to California and write.
For some reason, there’s a bathtub on the front porch, a working bathtub. Mama insists that by her taking a bath in the tub that a horde of cyclists will come down the toad. It only happened the one time.
Bailey is a first-grade teacher, or was, she’s probably retired now. She got her kids to learn by teaching them about the disaster of the Titanic. Apparently, nothing encourages a kid to read like tragedy and mass death.
What I liked
Bailey is on par with Celia Rivenbark and Fannie Flagg as far as her Southern stories. At first I seriously thought Bailey was full of crap. I started reading this book and thought to myself, “This has to be fiction.” Well, it’s not fiction. Bailey is real. Her dad really did write in Hollywood. Her mother really did do all these things. She really did teach first grade. Some of these things are hard to believe, such as training an alligator to come when you honk the horn of a car, but I suppose with enough positive reinforcement you can train almost any animal to do something.
This book made me laugh to myself. I don’t particularly like Southern Georgia, but Bailey did make it sound interesting in her descriptions of life there. I’m not a swamp person myself and couldn’t really stand being around all the bugs and weird stagnant water. Water’s supposed to move!
Mama, although eccentric, sounds like she was a great person. She was a Southerner, but she was also intelligent. She had her own little experiments going. She sounds like she was hilarious. She was obviously respected in her community and her family. Sometimes it’s the eccentric family members that keep a family together. In all honesty, Bailey’s entire family sounds eccentric, a lot like mine. If I told you some of the stories from my family… I could have you reading for days and days.
What I didn’t like
Honestly, I liked most of this book and there isn’t really a lot I can pick on.
I wish I could have met Mama. She would have been a really neat person to have met.
If you’re not from the South, do you think Mama’s way of life could be a manner in which you lived? Why or why not?
If you’re not from the South, again, does Mama fit in the stereotyped mold of Southerners that society makes or not?