Another memoir at #8–Willie Morris’s North Toward Home, written in 1967. I read this in the summer of Black Lives Matter and there are plenty of jarring moments as Morris describes growing up white in segregated Mississippi. But he makes it out, first to Texas and then to New York City, and when he does so he looks back with the kind of bifurcated soul that the South tends to produce. There is wistful memory alongside a growing self-awareness that all was not well. The writing was honest and energetic, easily getting it into my Best Reads of the year. You can read my full review here, but here’s an excerpt.
There’s no shortage of writing from later in his life, but this book captures a moment in time when the South and what it meant was changing. It should be read alongside those other Mississippi memoirs that are emerging from other voices—Kiese Laymon’s Heavy and Jesmyn Ward’s Men We Reaped. And it should remind us that we are always of a place yet are never at, but always moving toward, home.