Deep South is a travel memoir by Paul Theroux, where he recounts his road trips taken in Mississippi, South Carolina, Arkansas, and other states below the Mason-Dixon line.
The book explores the paradoxical nature of the region, which is full of incomparable music, unparalleled cuisine, but also some of the nation’s worst schools, housing, and unemployment rates.
The main themes of the book are kindness, generosity, and welcome, which Theroux discovers during his travels. He visits churches and gun shows, meeting many people along the way, and finds that the Deep South is a place where people are willing to help each other despite their differences.
Useful takeaways from the book include:
- The Deep South is a region full of contradictions, with both good and bad aspects.
- The people of the Deep South are kind and welcoming, despite their differences.
- Traveling by car allows for a more comfortable and personal experience than traveling by bus or train.
- Exploring lesser-known areas can lead to unexpected discoveries and insights.
What I Liked
I will read anything by Paul Theroux and Bill Bryson. They are both crochety old guys. But Theroux especially is master of observation, talking to people, and traveling in a way to truly understand a region and the people who live there. He’s also funny, direct, and interesting.
Also – I am from The Deep South! It was interesting to read about places I’ve been and themes that I am familiar with (ohhh..the gun shows) through the eyes of a visitor.
What I Did Not Like
Nothing – excellent read. It’s still on my shelf to read again.