40 Days of Book Praise, Day 2

RamonaGravitarFor 40 days, I am choosing a book from my personal book shelves. It will be a book that is insightful, intriguing, or illuminating about women. I will write why I think this book is a positive one and worth a read. This isn’t advertising for me or to promote any of my friends. It’s simply praise for good books.

Day 2 – This One and Magic Life by Anne Carroll George

anne george

Mystery readers will recognize Anne George’s name from her Birmingham-based Southern Sisters mystery series. Apart from writing the adventures of Mouse and Sister and their view of the Vulcan’s naked backside, Anne Carroll George was also a poet, a publisher, and a Pulitzer Prize nominee. The subtitle of This One and Magic Life is “a novel of a Southern family” and it is true. The book portrays a Southern family in all its glorious dysfunction.

Why is This One and Magic Life a good read for women? A few pages in, a chapter begins with “The Deep South is still a mystery. It is even a mystery to those who live there” and the novel proceeds to show why and how one woman’s choices ripple through the lives of people she loves. This is not a mystery novel, but who is more mind-bending and alluring than a Southern woman with a secret?

In the story, there is a death near Mobile Bay, and the family gathers for a tender and troubling send-off for Artie—mother, wife, aunt–whose last wishes, if honored, will shiver every branch on the family tree. This story’s prose reflects Anne George’s poetic style that makes it an evocative and thoughtful read.

A writerly note: Anne Carroll George chose to write this in the present tense. It was published in 2001, proving to naysayers—as strong-willed Artie might–that a present tense narrative is not some newfangled fad.

9 thoughts on “40 Days of Book Praise, Day 2

  1. Reblogged this on WriterMason and commented:
    I’m joining with my friend Ramona Defelice Long in her 40 Days of Book Praise . I’m a day late but that’s okay!
    This isn’t about promoting any friends’ books or even about giving reviews. More like… spotlighting books you’ve read that you liked and recommending them to other readers. ‘Sokay… brief review.
    So… if you are so inclined, you can join in too. Or just read along, and find a new author or genre you may not have tried before.


  2. I haven’t heard of this author, but I’d like to check her out. One of the joys in my life of belonging to two book clubs is discovering books and authors I’d not heard of before. Do I like all the books selected? Not always, but almost all of them I do, and those that don’t quite resonate with me, I still find something of merit in them.


    1. Gloria, I agree about the book clubs. I read many books I would not have tried through other people’s reading choices. Some were more enjoyable than others, but it expanded what I read, and that’s always good.


    1. Of course you do, Kathy! What’s not to love about Southerners and their quirks? I hope you enjoy this book. I did.
      Some people are adamant in their disapproval and dislike of present tense narratives. I don’t get it either.


  3. I’ve read Anne George novels, but not this one. From Ramona’s summary, I’m a bit envious. Southern writers seem to have their atmosphere built in!

    I’ll have to check this one out.


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