In this Book

Home Truths
summary

Novelist Gerald Duff grew up both in Polk County, in Deep East Texas, and in Nederland, near the Gulf Coast, two drastically different areas in terms of social and economic status, and the way they interact. These communities shaped the way Duff thought and lived, causing him to build up certain false personae to fit in with the crowd. These changes and more are described within the pages of Duff’s new memoir, Home Truths: A Deep East Texas Memory.

From dealing with intrusive family members to judgmental classmates to marital bliss and misery, Duff’s memoir describes situations familiar to anyone who has ever lived in a small town. Experiences unfamiliar to the youths of today include growing up during World War II and the descriptions of propaganda tactics, hunting for your own meals, and dealing with the social mores of the 1950s and 1960s. Other occurrences however, such as working a summer job and the awkwardness of first dates, speak to people of every generation, young and old.  

Early in life Duff learned to tell lies as a survival mechanism against his meddling family and occasionally cruel classmates. He describes the ordeal of hiding both his domestic situation and his talent for the written word. Duff’s talents for lies and half-truths helped him not only to discover a hidden talent within himself, but also a future career. 

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Author's Note
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Chapter 1: What You're Named Is What You Are
  2. pp. 1-3
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  1. Chapter 2: God's Hospital
  2. pp. 4-8
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  1. Chapter 3: The War in Texas
  2. pp. 9-17
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  1. Chapter 4: The Cat and Dog Picture Shows
  2. pp. 18-22
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  1. Chapter 5: The Calves of Dolly Robert's Legs
  2. pp. 23-25
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  1. Chapter 6: The Brass Knucks in Mama's Dresser
  2. pp. 26-29
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  1. Chapter 7: What Reading Smelled Like
  2. pp. 30-33
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  1. Chapter 8: The Fall from Grace
  2. pp. 34-37
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  1. Chapter 9: A Talent for the Lie
  2. pp. 38-39
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  1. Chapter 10: The Water We Had to Drink
  2. pp. 40-42
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  1. Chapter 11: Washed in the Blood
  2. pp. 43-50
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  1. Chapter 12: What We Hunted
  2. pp. 51-54
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  1. Chapter 13: Take, Eat, This Is My Body
  2. pp. 55-58
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  1. Chapter 14: Kissing Linda Smith and Loving Jannis Jones
  2. pp. 59-60
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  1. Chapter 15: Leaving for Marshall Hall
  2. pp. 61-65
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  1. Chapter 16: Who Is a Cajun and Who Is a Negro?
  2. pp. 66-73
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  1. Chapter 17: Wanting Some Tongue, Too
  2. pp. 74-79
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  1. Chapter 18: Burning the Sofa My Sister Slept On
  2. pp. 80-82
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  1. Chapter 19: Arriving Late at Nederland High
  2. pp. 83-86
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  1. Chapter 20: The Way Louisiana Girls Smelled
  2. pp. 87-88
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  1. Chapter 21: Margaret, I Could Have Been a Good Abe Lincoln for You
  2. pp. 89-91
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  1. Chapter 22: Multiple Choice Questions
  2. pp. 92-94
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  1. Chapter 23: A Need for Relief
  2. pp. 95-99
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  1. Chapter 24: A Change of Major
  2. pp. 100-102
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  1. Chapter 25: Licking Down My Lunch in Fayetteville
  2. pp. 103-106
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  1. Chapter 26: A Foreign Student in Illinois
  2. pp. 107-109
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  1. Chapter 27: Not the Thing, But the Thing about the Thing
  2. pp. 110-111
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  1. Chapter 28: Fugitive at Vanderbilt
  2. pp. 112-116
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  1. Chapter 29: A Fortunate Fall
  2. pp. 117-121
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  1. Chapter 30: As Kool-Aid Is from Gin
  2. pp. 122-130
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  1. Chapter 31: Women Writing about Women Writing about Women
  2. pp. 131-133
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  1. Chapter 32: Cousin Joseph Winston Tells the Truth
  2. pp. 134-146
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  1. Chapter 33: From Honey Island to Menard Chapel
  2. pp. 147-149
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  1. About the Author
  2. p. 150
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