By People Staff
August 02, 1999 12:00 PM

A Memoir of a Texas Childhood

by Horton Foote

Early in these reminiscences of Depression-era Texas, the playwright and veteran screenwriter of Oscar winners To Kill a Mockingbird and Tender Mercies boasts of his father: “There were topics he would hold forth on for hours.” The magnolia blossoms do not fall far from the tree. Foote’s topic is his boyhood in a “tiny, dwindling town” near Houston. While his dry style saves him from folksiness, it also parches his rendering of southern stereotypes—the beauty who becomes the town eccentric, the inept scions who squander the family name and fortune. This latest addition to the long shelf of southern literary autobiography ends with 16-year-old Foote leaving Texas on the obligatory bus, heading for Pasadena, Calif., to become an actor, leaving most readers happy to say goodbye to Farewell. (Scribner, $24)

Bottom Line: Hollywood writer’s tedium vitae