A memoir about growing up in the environmentally and economically devastated rural flatlands of Oklahoma, the entwinement of personal memory and the memory of popular culture, and a family thrown into trial by lost love and illness that found common ground in the television.
In this propulsive memoir, Howard tracks what feels like a lifetime of childhood dislocation, but in fact is only a single year when Howard is between the ages of five and six. She wields the voice of a five-year-old with grace ... This narration feels like a younger Howard dictating her days to an older, wiser Howard who shapes each story to a sharp point. It’s this un-self-conscious, observational deadpan that lends humor and wit to an otherwise heartbreaking tale.
It is a gamble to compose an entire book in the voice of a child. When I opened Joanna Howard's Rerun Era I was prepared for a gratingly arch put-on but was quickly won over by this tour de force of a memoir. It works because in every sentence, the high, confused voice of a 5-year-old girl is doubled by the 'woman of a certain age' who understands, with increasing stridency and bitterness, what the girl lived ... The immediacy of the girl's bewilderment comes through in that painful voice of not knowing.
The thing about eras is that, someday, they’re bygone, and Howard records this one with clarity and a kind of reverence. This is both funny and touching, and likely to reach readers in wholly unexpected ways.