The only child of a hard-drinking father and a Holy Roller mother, Rodney was no stranger to either barroom brawls or Pentecostal sermons. Though anguished by their violent predilections, he adored his epilepsy-racked mother, who scorned boring preachers and improvised wildly when the bills went unpaid. And he idolized his blustering father, a honkytonk man who took his son to hear Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, and had him playing drums in his band at age eleven.
Shot through with neighborhood capers, raggedy friends, hilariously awkward adolescent angst, and an indelible depiction of the bloodlines he came from, ChinaberrySidewalks vividly recreates frontier Houston, where icehouses sold beer by the gallon and apocalyptic hurricanes were a fact of life. But at its heart this is Crowell's tribute to his parents and their troubled yet ultimately redeeming romance. Wry, clear-eyed, and generous, it is, like the very best memoirs, firmly rooted, never dismissive, and truly fulfilling.
From the Hardcover edition.