Saturday, March 20, 2010
The author, Mary Morris, embarks on a trip down the Mississippi River with two river rats, a dog named Samantha Jean and a quirky houseboat. She is looking for her own story in her past and how it brings her to the present. The story centers on her recently deceased father (at 102), his life along the Mississippi and her complicated relationship with him. The story is not difficult to hear, however -- it is thoroughly engaging. The author meets memorable characters along the trip, she learns to pilot the boat, swim in rough currents, and visit places her father lived. As the author states, "My father played jazz piano years before I was born. In the 1920's, he lived on the banks of the Mississippi and I was raised on his river tales. All my life, I've thought about the river."
The River Queen is actually not the christened name of the houseboat, it is the name of this particular type of boat. But, they call it River Queen anyway. I especially like the title, being not only the boat, but who the author becomes. Mary Morris has written many books and I will be reading them.
Note: If you look for this book, there is also a book called River Queen by another author. This is another true story about a woman piloting a tow boat. Also, the cover pictured above is a different edition, not the one I had from the library.