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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Morris by Art Isaacs is a family saga that transcends the generation of its origins and weaves through the tightly knit, multicolored tapestry of family. The book is written in a series of first-person narratives and, while intended to reflect continuity in a family journal, Isaacs moves away from the traditional diary entry style and instead employs a running commentary of narrative and dialogue. The points of view are from the family patriarch, Jessie Peterson, his daughter Beth, and his grandchildren, Matt and Billie, with a few ancillary entries by Billie's partner, Janey. Encompassing over sixty years and with a hand to generational change, progress, and some of the most poignant moments of American history, Morris is the chariot that takes us all for a ride down memory lane.
Going into Morris was something I took on tentatively, if I'm being completely honest. Family sagas that are entirely character-driven with themes over plots tend to be the type of book that works better as heirlooms for a family than for consumer consumption. Art Isaacs' book is different. The writing style is straightforward and descriptive without being unnecessarily so. The first-person perspectives provide exceptional insight into the lives of four individuals who are different in every conceivable way except through their lineage, their carrying on the tradition of journaling from the time each is a teenager, and, of course, their connection to Morris. The ambiguity of Morris is a quirky, overriding concept that is explained early on but, frankly, the explanation is unnecessary. The book is good enough to stand on its own four wheels. Recommended.