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Essay Collection Review    

 

 

Journey of a Gentle Southern Man: Reflections from the Road
by Jackie K. Cooper
Mercer University Press, 2004 reprint
Trade paper, $20.00 (168 pages)
ISBN: 0-86554-974-5
 
 
Seeing life as a journey and each year a different route to be traveled, Jackie Cooper in his first collection of essays shares his observations from Route 86, Route 87, and Route 88 -- or 1986, 1987, 1988. With a mixture of tender emotions and humor, he reflects on his journey from boyhood to manhood in the South.

"There Is Life After High School" is a humorous look at the desire to be popular. Jackie wasn't an athlete and spent his time with movies, books and music. When time came to vote for senior superlatives, he worked up a plan to be "most likely to succeed" -- since "most popular" always went to jocks. When votes were counted, he was tied for "most popular," an honor beyond his dreams. However, in the run-off, the tie-breaking vote from a young lady was for "most likely to succeed," since that was what Jackie wanted.

Jackie shows how humor can break the tension in sticky situations, like with a state trooper. His habit of being lulled to sleep by the drone of an electric fan -- a cherish habit of pre-A/C southerners. Family stories abound in the volume, such as the one of his two aunts, who as children would share the same dream as they shared a bedroom talking in their sleep.

Jackie K. Cooper is currently a critic, columnist, and writer. He has also been a lawyer, personnel manager, radio and TV host, teacher, and game show contestant. Jackie and his wife Terry live in Perry, Georgia.

 

Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews

 

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