The Cracker Queen by Lauretta Hannon

cracker queenThe Cracker Queen is several things packed into one – a childhood memoir, a self-help guide, and an anecdotal compilation extraordinaire.  It tells a story of kid-dom on the wrong side of the tracks that is totally lacking in self-pity, and an evolving adulthood perspective that grows stronger and larger from these childhood experiences rather than caving in from them. 

Frankly, the first part of the book stuck me as being a white trash version of A Girl Named Zippy, but I think I liked it better than Zippy.  While I could certainly relate to both books and appreciated them both, The Cracker Queen revealed a far more grittier worldview.  The author’s parents fought with each other ferociously, but still showed an obvious love for their children.  Her mother was a product of rural Georgia – straight shooting in her perspectives but with a crazy edge that lent both endearment and caution to anyone she met.  Her father, twenty years older than her mother, was a bohemian northerner who taught school in their small southern town and exhibited all manner of discerning passions, whether in music (he was a jazz musician who scorned music that he considered noise) or in life in general.  Her parent’s life together was a powder keg, but they truly kept a love between them, regardless of how volatile.  Together they passed on to their youngest child a earthy tenacity and the desire to find something bigger and better beyond their fishbowl of a town.

Does she find anything bigger and better?  It depends.  What Hannon does find is a wealth of experiences, a life of travels and encounters with individuals that are scary and enlightening in her development as a Cracker Queen.  And just what is a Cracker Queen, you might ask?  Well, read on, and find out a little more about yourself in the process in this crackin’ good read.

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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