Russell Baker Mary Lee Settle - Essay

Mary Lee Settle

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

What do you say about a memoir that has made you cry, made you laugh, brought back streets, sounds and hours of your own growing up and helped you look at them with more tenderness? In Russell Baker's "Growing Up," that is what can happen to anyone who has known, in childhood, the rural South, when, as the family sat in their rockers in the evening, "nothing new had been said on that porch in a hundred years." This is not the dirt-poor South of easy fiction. With sensuous grace, incisive recall and an evocation of daily language that is the poetry of the inarticulate, he recreates a place where there is dignity and ambition and an inflexible social and economic hierarchy run by women. (p. 1)


(The entire section is 468 words.)