Walking the Llano: A Texas Memoir of Place by Shelley Armitage (review)

Walking the Llano: A Texas Memoir of Place by Shelley Armitage (review) The richest part of the book is the detailed examination of Shelton’s relationship with his father, Red, the alcoholic bootlegger and house painter. Red dragged his family from state to state, house to house, each home filled with the threat of violence and menace, each painted lovingly by him as a contrast. Shelton’s fears of and devotion to his father are told unflinchingly throughout the book, up to and including his role as his father’s caretaker at the end. To call the relationship conflicted doesn’t begin to convey its impact. In the last days of Red’s life, Shelton takes his grandmother on a drive for milkshakes and she tells him, “He wasn’t always the way you remember him as a child. When he was younger, he was different. I don’t know how to describe it. He was a good man who made a lot of bad decisions” (279). The book is a difficult love letter Shelton writes as he searches the generations of his family for his own place in it. It time travels effortlessly from past to present with an abundance of tales—real, tragic, and comic. W. T. Pfefferle College of Coastal Georgia Shelley Armitage, Walking the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Western American Literature The Western Literature Association

Walking the Llano: A Texas Memoir of Place by Shelley Armitage (review)

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Abstract

The richest part of the book is the detailed examination of Shelton’s relationship with his father, Red, the alcoholic bootlegger and house painter. Red dragged his family from state to state, house to house, each home filled with the threat of violence and menace, each painted lovingly by him as a contrast. Shelton’s fears of and devotion to his father are told unflinchingly throughout the book, up to and including his role as his father’s caretaker at the end. To call the relationship conflicted doesn’t begin to convey its impact. In the last days of Red’s life, Shelton takes his grandmother on a drive for milkshakes and she tells him, “He wasn’t always the way you remember him as a child. When he was younger, he was different. I don’t know how to describe it. He was a good man who made a lot of bad decisions” (279). The book is a difficult love letter Shelton writes as he searches the generations of his family for his own place in it. It time travels effortlessly from past to present with an abundance of tales—real, tragic, and comic. W. T. Pfefferle College of Coastal Georgia Shelley Armitage, Walking the

Journal

Western American LiteratureThe Western Literature Association

Published: Aug 16, 2017

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