In A Taste of the Sweet Apple, Jo Anna Holt Watson serves up bites of her own past to let us taste a way of life that no longer exists. When we meet her, shes a spunky little tomboy growing up on the family tobacco farm. Completely uninterested in being a young ladymuch to the dismay of her mother and auntsshe instead makes it her personal goal to be just like Joe Collins, the farm foreman and her best friend and mentor. He nicknames her Pig, and she follows him around and absorbs his lessons, learning to set, tend, and harvest tobacco, to smoke and to chew it, and to love the very soil that nurtures itand her. Holt Watsons memoir is full of colorful characters, from her sometimes loving, sometimes dangerous physician father to germ-fixated cousin Dot, all vividly rendered in well-chosen and deftly woven words. But none looms so large in her childhood world as Joe, and the humorous, touching, and loving relationship between Pig and her hero is the thread that holds this collection of anecdotes together.
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