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Download The River Queen: A Memoir epub

by Mary Morris

This story of a middle-aged woman's odyssey down the Mississippi River is a funny, beautifully written, and poignant tale of a journey that transforms a life
Download The River Queen: A Memoir epub
ISBN: 0805078274
ISBN13: 978-0805078275
Category: Biographies
Subcategory: Memoirs
Author: Mary Morris
Language: English
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; 1st edition (April 3, 2007)
Pages: 288 pages
ePUB size: 1698 kb
FB2 size: 1307 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 301
Other Formats: rtf txt doc mbr

At the end of the book the boat is about to be docked at Paris Landing, Tennessee, the end of the southerly journey. Five years (and a couple of owners) later, my wife and I stumbled across it and (gulp) bought it.
So we had a special reason for reading "The River Queen." I was looking for clues about the boat -- apparently the exhaust leak in the starboard engine's exhaust manifold is a recurring problem (she mentions it on p. 22). But at least we know the boat was out of the water and the bottom repainted in 2005 (pp. 18, 23, 80).
But the book is really not intended to be about the boat but about those crises that hit us in midlife -- the recent death of her father, and being left an empty-nester as her daughter moves off to college.
On that level, the book is great. Mary Morris is relentlessly honest, but her sense of humor removes any hint of grimness. The river pilot acting as captain reminds her in many ways of her father, giving insight into why she works so hard to win his approval. Although she never says it quite that baldly.
This is one of those books that reminds us that such works are written by real people, who live and breathe and stub their unprotected toes on the hawse-pipe on the forward deck.
Oh, the best speed for the engines? That would be 1500 RPM, as Captain Jerry explains on P. 130. Which is a way to say that Morris's writing is enlivened with hundreds of little razor-sharp observations of fact about her journey.
A good example for us all, as we travel on our own voyages.

joe white
Nashville TN
This is a riveting tale of the author's trip down the Mississippi River to visit the places where her recently deceased father lived as a boy. Morris skillfully brings the reader along during the difficulty of learning to live on the river in a far from luxurious houseboat with two river pilots, and the joy of finally connecting with the places she remembered from the "river tales" she heard as a child. Through Morris' eyes, we also get to meet the fascinating father she adored. It was both fun and enlightening to take this amazing trip with her.
I'm a Russian Occupant
This book really tells it like it is on the upper Mississippi River, I have been sharing this book with several other friends who also know and love the Upper Mississippi and they have been equally pleased.
This author knows how to make her journey down the Mississippi River alive in our imagination and as a source of understanding the lady river.
I ordered the book, it arrived quickly and in good shape. Love the story makes me want to hop on a boat and head down the Mississippi.
The River Queen by Mary Morris is the tale of the author's journey to find something of her father as she boats down the Mississippi from northern Wisconsin to northern Kentucky. Morris' father passed away at the age of 102, but left unanswered questions about his childhood and his life. She decides to try and discover what it was about the Mississippi River that so caputred his imagination as a young man. She hires a houseboat, not quite the sparkling white, new model she was expecting, and two eccentric men to captain it down the river. Tom and Jerry (honest, that's their names) come with their own stories about the river (and Tom also brings along his dog Samantha Jean who he refers to as his spouse). Morris does an excellent job of mixing the story of her trek down the river with stories about her family as well as historical tidbits about the river and its denizens, making for a meandering tale that imitates the river itself. Some of her sidetracking includes intriguing people, like Bix Beiderbecke, who I found myself listening to last night. Morris, who is grieving the loss of her father and empty nest syndrome as her only daughter leaves for college, battles mayflies, tough memories and the differences between men and women with aplomb, but when it comes time to actually investigating her father's stories, only once in Hannibal, does she dig into them. Often when the time comes, she passes them by with small comment or observes as one of her shipmates does it for her. This is a fascinating tale of a woman's journey out of grief, but it would have been more compelling if she had spent more time looking for the long lost island and less time attacking tourist trap Hannibal, MO. Due to Hurricane Katrina, Morris is unable to fulfill her desire to travel the river to its end, and it feels like her journey ends without completion of either desire.
In Brooklyn, travel author Mary Morris was mourning the death of her father as her daughter was going off to college when she decided the walls of her empty nest abode was increasing her anxiety caused by these recent reminders of her mortality. The travelogue writer needed something different to occupy her middle age thoughts as pictures from the 1920s of her father makes her feel she must do something to honor his memory and to get her out of the doldrums. She hires a Mississippi River houseboat the River Queen owned by Captain Jerry to take her down the great river starting in Wisconsin with plans to reach Hannibal, Missouri home of Twain and her dad, who told her and her brother many river tales.

The memoir is at its best when Ms. Morris observes the "mallization" of the river towns that make places like Dubuque different than what she describes in her dad's vivid images and metaphors. Also fun is when Jerry teaches her how to steer their vessel though she is not a grade A student. When Ms. Morris goes introspective the travelogue turns muddier than the Mighty Mississippi especially when she rages about her dislikes. Still this is a fine memoir that is entertaining when Ms. Morris brings to life the changing upper river basin especially in the latter half of the journey as if the river eventually cleansed the visitor's hurting soul.

Harriet Klausner