Thursday, October 15, 2015

Review: Dispatches from Pluto by Richard Grant

Published October 13, 2015
by Simon and Schuster
I get the title, Dispatches from Pluto. Pluto is the town in the Mississippi Delta area that Richard and Mariah move to. I don't quite get the subtitle though, Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta. Not sure what was supposed to have been lost, but it's easy to see that they found a whole new way of life in Pluto during this year in a life view.

Richard and Mariah move into Doc Foose's old house. There they make battle with the wildlife including alligators, cottonmouths, armadillos, rats and more. And they learn to live closer to the land, hunting and growing some of their own food. The homey parts of the book are many at first and then the direction changes and there is less about setting up house and more of a discussion of racism in the Delta area.

It's an intriguing book. The culture of the Delta is different from many other places including other places in the Southern United States. The culture itself is really split. There is black culture and white culture and even subdivisions within those categories.

It was nice to read about the generosity and hospitality that most of the people showed Mariah and Richard. Whether the people were white or black, for the most part, they had positive encounters with them. Headshaking encounters occasionally, but more often than not pleasant encounters.

I found the book to be interesting whether the author was writing about the struggles with setting up and maintaining a household in Pluto or having adventures of sorts meeting new and different people. He visits juke joints and a prison. He follows around a candidate for mayor. He visits blues legend, T-Model Ford. There are many more mini-adventures that make up the overall large adventure of moving from New York City to the Mississippi Delta area.

If you are curious about the region and racism issues there, then this would be a good book for you. If the topic of racism bothers you, then don't pick up the book. It just can't be avoided in this memoir. And remember this is just a slice of life in the area and it varies depending on where you go in Mississippi and the South.

I gave this book 4 stars out of 5. It's well written. It keeps moving and doesn't get bogged down in one place. And the people are interesting too.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

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