Under Magnolia by Frances Mayes
We know Frances Mayes best as the author of the book Under the Tuscan Sun, her memoir of finding a new life in Italy. But in Under Magnolia we meet the real Frances Mayes. Straight from the South you think you know and hear spoken about as something akin to another planet populated with a different species than you and I.
Frances takes us into her home as a child and keeps us there until she escapes that home and Fitzgerald, Georgia and everything it represents. She leaves. She leaves behind the gothic marriage of her parents, and of course the imprint on her brain as a result.
She takes us through her school years, her climbing, tussling, disrespectful, unladylike girlhood as she even then seemed to know she had to rebel and find her own way. Sometimes we know very young that things aren’t right and we need to push through those years to get on with our own life.
And always, guiding her with her hand on her back was the family maid, Willie Bell. She kept perspective for Frances, she kept her fed and clean and sometimes she kept her sane. And who told her, “You gon’ fly, little girl.” Oh, that we all have a Willie Bell at our keel.
If you enjoy reading Frances Mayes’ books, you will appreciate meeting her in person here.
I received this book for review from Blogging for Books