author: John Berendt
average rating: 3.91
book published: 1994
read at: 2018/06/28
date added: 2018/07/04
As a Georgia native, I’ve always known of and had a fascination with the little jewel down at the end of I-16, but Berendt’s Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil brings the city and its eccentric inhabitants to life in such a colorful way that–had it been about any other city in the country–I would have thought it a work of complete fiction! The truth, it seems, is often stranger and more interesting than one could imagine.
It’s a long read, and one could get bogged-down in the many long-winded descriptions of settings, but pick up the audio edition for a truly dramatic reading that brings the wonderfully goofy cast of characters directly into your mind’s eye!
North Georgia never had to worry about affordable flooring when one could buy factory-direct from Carpets of Dalton. Remember when the CoD sign was the ONLY “big sign” on I-75 North? It was a sort of waypoint signifying more-or-less halfway to Chattanooga, from my childhood memory.
Then there’s Atlanta Braves announcer Don Sutton walking us through the unbelievable Seven Football Fields of Savings, under the Big Sign in Dalton, Georgia.
In 5th grade, our class took a trip to the barrier islands off the coast of Georgia–part of an ecological study program and one of the highlights of my elementary years. Some time later, probably late 5th or early 6th grade, I took it upon myself to recount those days in a sort of travelogue. I believe that I was mostly just playing around with an early version of Microsoft Works, and–like most kids at the time–I probably had more fun digging for appropriate clip art and creating word art than I did actually writing the piece.
Also of note is evidence of my writing style. Granted, I admit that I probably didn’t put much effort into it, but I’ve never had much of a gift for flowery prose. I have always been more of a technical writer, having a knack for describing concrete details in a concise manner (one of my college TAs memorably described this to me once: “Matthew, you’re quite a minimalist, aren’t you? You’re a minimalist, but you’re an essentialist, and that makes it work”).
The details are on point, even if the prose is lacking, but enjoy a little peek into my early writing with “The Trip to Cumberland Isle“.
Yes, I’m on a nostalgia trip here, but when I lived in Athens, Little Italy was my go-to place for good pizza and better sandwiches. The place was open until 4am, had unbeatable prices, and was one of the last few places one could find a real arcade cabinet (Strikers 1945 tucked into the back corner of the dining room)! I don’t know how much it has changed with the rest of downtown (I pray that it hasn’t), but 15 years ago, it was the place to be!
Adventitious Geekery and other distractions created or curated by Matthew "Atari" Eargle