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From the memories of a childhood marked by extreme poverty, mental illness, and restrictive fundamentalist Christian rules, Janisse Ray crafted a “heartfelt and refreshing” (New York Times) memoir that has inspired thousands to embrace their beginnings, no matter how humble, and to fight for the places they love. This new edition updates and contextualizes the story for a new generation and a wider audience desperately searching for stories of empowerment and hope.
Ray grew up in a junkyard along U.S. Highway 1, hidden from Florida-bound travelers by hulks of old cars. In language at once colloquial, elegiac, and informative, Ray redeems her home and her people, while also cataloging the source of her childhood hope: the Edenic longleaf pine forests, where orchids grow amid wiregrass at the feet of widely spaced, lofty trees. Today, the forests exist in fragments, cherished and threatened, and the South of her youth is gradually being overtaken by golf courses and suburban development.
A contemporary classic, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood is a clarion call to protect the cultures and ecologies of every childhood.
Pubished by Milkweed Editions, October 1999.