Wednesday, September 23, 2015

DNF: Deep South by Paul Theroux

I was excited to try out Deep South, by Paul Theroux. Theroux's reputation precedes him, and his writing style was probably the best thing about this travelogue. It's pleasurable to read his words, but in this case the more I thought over them the more problematic things became. I dove into Deep South while we were in Gulf Shores, Alabama because I wanted to learn more about the area of the deep south we were in, and while I did learn a lot, I read 186 pages, and I just don't have it in me to endure for a total of 500+. 

While Theroux is a likable guy, I do have some issues with another white northerner waxing poetic about the allure of the south. He came, he saw, he left, he came back, because the south had him in thrall, people are poor poor poor and race relations suck. But it's so CHARMING! People are so FRIENDLY!

There is no new perspective on the south here. His "true portrait" of this region of the country is built on seeking out the poorest people and the most under-served parts of the south, and while it's necessary to shine a light on these issues, it's a biased, one-sided book that I would probably be more interested in if it came from someone else or took a different approach.

While I'm not in any way mad at this book, Theroux's voice on this particular topic just isn't one I'm terribly interested in. 

Pub Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin
Format: E-galley
ISBN: 0544323521 
Source: Publisher, for review consideration


  1. Sorry this didn't work for you :( I have it sitting on my floor from BEA...I might flip through it a bit, but I'm wondering if I'll ever get around to reading it. 500+ pages is a lot for a travelogue type book!

  2. Yeah, I get exactly what you mean. The south is so much more complex than most people think.

  3. Hmmm....I completely understand your thoughts. And, yes, sometimes it gets a little old hearing about the 'issues' of the South, but also the friendliness. Of course we are friendly. Of course there are issues. But, honestly, other parts of the country have 'issues' too. Somehow, it all sounds a little condescending. I'm not mad either, but a little weary of 'popular' view of things. And a little tired of being expected to be uber friendly, but slightly dimwitted. LOL

  4. Interesting! The topic of this book struck me as your type of thing, but I get your problems with it too.

  5. Yeah, I just -- Paul Theroux's take on my home doesn't interest me at all. People come here with all these preconceived notions about what we're like and what we think and sound like, and just, I'm not interested in hearing about it anymore. I know what we are like. I don't need to stress out my blood pressure having mental arguments with tourists.


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