cover image City Limits: Memories of a Small-Town Boy

City Limits: Memories of a Small-Town Boy

Terry Teachout. Poseidon Press, $18.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-68351-1

From his home in New York City, the author, a former editor of Harper's magazine, looks back on his childhood in Sikeston, Mo., his student experiences at a Southern Baptist school and aimless years of drifting through jobs as a bank teller, bass player in a jazz combo, crisis-line volunteer for a mental health center in Illinois. Attributing his early lack of direction and initiative to a fear of experience engendered by growing up in a small town, he recounts how he eventually had to lift himself out of his comfortable and secure Midwestern life and move to Manhattan to pursue a writing career. While one can argue the premise that people raised in small towns have a limited sense of possibility, Teachout's reminiscences of the family gatherings, school plays and churchgoing Sundays that made up the fabric of his formative years exert a nostalgic charm nevertheless. (Oct.)