Review of Mississippi Cotton:
by Karen Jones Gowen

It's not often I read a perfect book. The last one was Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. Mississippi Cotton is perfect. Narrated by Jake Connor, it is set in 1951 in the Mississippi Delta region. Jake is a kid, and he tells about his summer with his Delta cousins, Taylor and Casey, but it's not really a kid's book. It is one adults would enjoy as well as kids. I was transported to the cotton farms of the Delta region, I could hear the characters talk, and my head is still ringing with their Southern ways. Even the side characters have depth and interest. I delighted in all the characters in this book. And while Jake, Taylor and Casey, hoe cotton, go fishing for cats and breams, go skinny-dipping in a private pond, underneath it all is the mystery of the dead man found in the Mississippi River under the Greenville Bridge. There is so much packed into this little book that I feel inadequate to review it.

But here's a sample paragraph that shows you what I'm talking about:

"Earl put his brown hat in the chair next to him. In his work clothes, he looked tanned and strong—a real cotton farmer. His blue cotton shirt sleeves rolled up revealed big hairy forearms, with hard-looking muscle that came from farm work. He had a gentle way about him, but a mannerism that made you know he was definitely no softy. One of his big hands swept around the cup, not using the crook, and took a big swallow. Black. No sissy coffee for Earl Hightower."

I have always enjoyed Southern literature. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books of all time. Mississippi Cotton needs to go right up there with the classic, true Southern novel.
This review first appeared at GoodReads.Com, and is republished with the author's permission

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