A Memoir of Farm and Family
Foreword by Hilary Masters
poet’s story of the land that shaped her life
book should be interesting to anybody who can read."
—Margaret Jones Bolsterli, Arkansas Historical Quarterly,
prose style is beautiful; the book reads like an extended
poem in places. It's a fascinating history, a gripping family
drama, a tender memoir; it's one of our best poets writing
about the things she loves and has lost."
—C.L. Bledsoe in Hollins Critic
manages, in the space of only 169 pages, to relate not only
her moving and interesting personal story but also to bring
to life a bygone era."
McDougall’s memoir is a joy to read for the story itself,
but the joy is even greater for the use to which she puts
the English language; similes and metaphors abound that are
rarely found in prose.”
devoured it. It is wonderful, absolutely wonderful. I can’t
remember any other memoir that I liked so much. Read Daddy’s
Money; it’s a clinic on how to write a memoir.”
—Lewis Nordan, author of Wolf Whistle and Music
of the Swamp
clean, clear, and rivetingly precise prose, award-winning
writer Jo McDougall delivers the story of her childhood and
of the Arkansas Delta—farm, town, and people—that
helped shape her life. But
McDougall’s tale is more than her own story. Like all
good memoirs, hers not only discloses the life of its author
but also teaches us something about our own. Daddy’s
Money is a literary achievement of the highest caliber.”
—Andrea Hollander Budy, author of House without
The Other Life, and Woman in the Painting
brings a poet’s sensibility to memoir. Recounting five
generations of Delta rice farmers, through family archives
and oral histories, she traces how the clan made their way
into the fabric of America, beginning with her Belgian-immigrant
grandfather, a pioneer rice farmer on the Arkansas Delta at
the turn of the twentieth century.
As John Grisham has for a 1950s Arkansas cotton farm, McDougall
illuminates an Arkansas rice farm in the 1930s and 1940s.
The Garot family’s acreage near DeWitt and the town
itself provide the stage for McDougall’s wry, compelling,
and layered account of the day-to-day of rice growing on the
farm that her father inherited. In that setting she discovers
a rich “universe of words” in the Great Depression,
comes of age during World War II, and finds her way alongside
“that whole quirky, compelling cast of characters”
that comprised her kin.
In this conflicted, ironic, southern-but-universal account
betrayal, heartbreak, loss, and joy, “the vagaries and
the grace” of the land join forces with the power of
money as family bonds are both forged and dissolved.
felt, unsentimental, and often humorous, Daddy’s Money
presents McDougall’s life and the lives of her relatives
in the way that all our lives are eventually framed—as
stories. “When all else is lost,” the author maintains,
“the stories remain.”
McDougall lives in Leawood Kansas. She is
the author of five books of poetry, including From Darkening
Porches and Towns Facing Railroads (The University
of Arkansas Press).
Masters is the author of Last Stands:
Notes from Memory and Post: a Fable.
6 x 9, 184 pages