Friday, November 6th, 2009 by

Teddy’s Child: Growing Up in the Anxious Southern Gentry between the Great Wars, by Dr. Virginia Hamilton, has received sterling reviews from First Draft magazine, the Mobile Press-Register, and the Birmingham News. Dr. Hamilton’s book explores the deep roots of family and place in her coming-of-age memoir set in Birmingham, Alabama, in the period between World Wars I and II. She considers the shadows of both the genteel poverty her family fell into during the Great Depression, and of the inescapable family ailment of mental depression and what were then called nervous disorders.

From First Draft:

Teddy’s Child: Growing Up in the Anxious Southern Gentry Between the Great Wars is about the failures and accomplishments of the author’s eccentric family, but the themes extend beyond Hamilton’s family to comment on the struggles of humanity: the dreams individuals reach to possess and the nobility, and at times futility, of that effort.

From the Press-Register:

One of the fascinating things about this book is how readers will identify with some things and marvel at others. It encourages us all to try to assemble and present our childhood memories to younger family members. Perhaps we won’t come close to Virginia Hamilton’s style, but we will be animated by it as we try.

From the Birmingham News:

Southern fiction writers have traditionally created eccentric characters who are intriguing to readers, and Southerners have reputations for embracing local characters who are a bit batty. Capote, O’Connor and Faulkner come to mind. Every good Southern story and town has at least one such character. This book has several.

For anyone who has memories of the years “between the Great Wars” (in Birmingham or elsewhere) or for those who wish to know more about a simpler time of ‘possum hunts, summer trips without interstate highways, home-produced operas and musicals, a time when homemade beaten biscuits and croquettes were staples, this memoir, which includes numerous family photographs, will take you there.

Teddy’s Child is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online retailer.