Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Must Read for Southerners

by Lee Smith


I’ve read many of Lee Smith’s novels and laughed when I read in her memoir that she began writing stories when she was nine years old.  The opening of the chapter titled A Life in Books brought back fond memories for me, not because I wrote as a child, but because I too was a voracious reader:

I was a reader long before I was a writer. In fact, I started writing in the first place because I couldn’t stand for my favorite books to be over, so I started adding more and more chapters onto the ends of them, often including myself as a character.  Thus the Bobbsey twins became the Bobbsey triplets, and Nancy Drew’s best friends, Bess Marvin and George Fayne, were joined by another character named Lee Smith—who actually ended up with Ned Nickerson! The additional chapters grew longer and more complicated as my favorite books became more complicated—Heidi, Anne of Green Gables, and Pippi Longstocking, for instance.

I suspect her parents called her a bookworm, though she was also an adventuring tomboy who climbed trees and roamed the mountains of Grundy, Virginia where she grew up. No one ever mistook me for a tomboy, so I don’t have that trait in common with her, but I did read beneath the covers with a flashlight, another scene she describes. As I recall, I used one of those small flashlights you get at the circus until my mom caught me and took it away.


If you haven’t yet discovered Lee Smith’s novels, reading Dimestore will send you down that path. If you prefer to begin with a novel, I recommend my favorite, Family Linen, or her New York Times bestseller, The Last Girls.

Note & Disclaimer: I'm trying out a program from Amazon.  If you use one of the links in this post to purchase one of these books, I will get a pittance from Amazon. If you're like me, you'll try the library first!