Lagniappe Literature

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The Morning and the Evening - Joan Williams

Originally published in 1961, this is a re-release of a Williams classic. Joan Williams was fascinated with her mother's southern upbringing and used Marigold, Mississippi as the books setting. 

 

Jake Darby is a forty year old man living life as a mute. When his mother dies suddenly, Jake is left to fend for himself. The townsfolk have always considered Jake an "idiot". There are few people willing to tend to Jake and most are certain he doesn't belong in their small, rural community. When a friendly incident occurs that Jake is unable to understand, he appears to go temporarily insane, acting out in the middle of town. Everyone is witness to Jake's outburst and from here on out things will never quite be the same in Marigold. 

 

The Morning and the Evening is a heartbreaking account of what happens when mental illness is misunderstood and feared. Ignorance abounds in most of Marigolds small minded citizens and left in their shallow care, Jake finds his life upended and changed forever.

 

This book is intelligently written and Williams descriptions are both vivid and abundant. However, the pace can best be described as slow as a hot, lazy southern afternoon. If you're not from the south, let me translate: a hot, lazy southern afternoon, although beautiful, can sometimes feel like forever.

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Integrated Media for sharing a DRC in exchange for an honest review.