Book Report: The River of Used To Be by Jim Hamilton (1994)

This is a collection of columns written by the editor of the Buffalo Reflex, a paper up in Dallas County. As such, it’s not a true memoir; instead, it’s a bit bland, driven by deadlines and the easy columns at some points.

There are some gems in it, such as his tale about cold weather camping or a couple of his imaginative tall tales regarding Christmas. Unfortunately, the really good things stand out so much from the common seasonal musings or the progress-is-destroying-what-I-remember templates.

The most poignant thing about the book is outside the text: it’s dedicated to his daughter who died her freshman year of college. The same as my freshman year of college. There’s a column about his daughters, there’s a column about her going to school, and then a column about moving out of his house where they all lived. I think it’s more striking because the book alludes to it and because she was born just two months before I was.

If you’re deeply into Ozarkania, it might be worth a browse.

Books mentioned in this review:

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