Honestly, when I purchased Glisson’s The Creek, I knew little about it. I was simply eager to learn more about the people and land of Cross Creek. The general description on the book seller’s website sounded interesting, and judging from the customer reviews, it was a good story. I bought it along with a few other rural Florida reads.
The Creek is a book of memories from the eyes a young boy, written as a grown man, who grew up next door to Mrs. Rawlings. Readers are told the tale of young J. T. growing up in rural Florida. Glisson recounts about the day his family moved to Cross Creek (and those pesky Florida mosquitoes), the medical procedures to fix his clubfeet, fishing in the surrounding lakes, the triumph of breaking his own horse, schooling in Hawthorne, attempts to enlist in the military, and how he handled death within his Cross Creek family.
Along with his stories of everyday life, the reader also follows the lives of the residents of Cross Creek, namely Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. “Miz Rawlings” lives next door to the Glisson’s. She frequently picks fights with J. T.’s father and frequently reconciles just in time to argue again. We learn of Rawlinigs’ driving habits and walking routines, her love of children and unique ways of living life all through the eyes of a young friend.
Being involved in the arts, some of my favorite parts of the book concerned J. T. and his interest in the arts. (J. T. became a successful illustrator and created all of the images for The Creek.) I recognize his struggle with deciding to pursue art as a career, and I could relate to his emotions as he dealt with his father’s reaction. I loved reading about his excitement over viewing illustrated books, such as the Yearling, and I was ecstatic to read of young J. T.’s meeting of the illustrator when he visited Cross Creek. How amazing would that be?
I can see myself picking up Glisson’s The Creek again in the future, just as I would any book by Rawlings. He gives a unique perspective on the Florida town that I have come to love. I believe that anyone interested in recent Florida history will quickly fall in love and appreciate the sincerity of the stories captured by Glisson.