The River Queen: A Memoir

Front Cover
Macmillan, Apr 3, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 270 pages
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
In fall 2005 acclaimed travel writer Mary Morris set off down the Mississippi in a battered old houseboat called the River Queen, with two river rats named Tom and Jerry--and a rat terrier, named Samantha Jean, who hated her. It was a time of emotional turmoil for Morris. Her father had just died; her daughter was leaving home; life was changing all around her. It was then she decided to return to the Midwest where she was from, to the river she remembered, where her father had played jazz piano in tiny towns.
Morris describes living like a pirate and surviving a tornado. Because of Katrina, oil prices, and drought, the river was often empty--a ghost river--and Morris experienced it as Joliet and Marquette had four hundred years earlier. As she learned to pilot her beloved River Queen without running aground and made peace with Samantha Jean, Morris got her groove back, reconnecting to her past. More important, she came away with her best book, a bittersweet travel tale told in the very real voice of a smart, sad, funny, gutsy, and absolutely appealing woman.

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THE RIVER QUEEN: A Memoir

User Review  - Kirkus

Rambling author Morris (Revenge, 2004, etc.) hires a houseboat and captain to take her down the Mississippi on the trail of Mark Twain and the father she missed.Restless in middle age, with a newly ... Read full review

The River Queen: a memoir

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, travel writer and memoirist Morris (Nothing To Declare ) set out on a decrepit houseboat with two river guides named Tom and Jerry. As her life was changing rapidly ... Read full review

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About the author (2007)

Mary Morris is the author of three other travel memoirs, each one representing a different moment in her life: Nothing to Declare: Memoirs of a Woman Traveling Alone (0-312-19941-4), Wall to Wall, and Angels and Aliens. She is also the author of six novels and three collections of short stories. When she is not traveling and writing, Morris is on the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College where she teaches creative writing. The recipient of the Rome Prize in Literature, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.

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