In the fall of 2005 acclaimed writer Mary Morris set off down the Mississippi River in a battered old houseboat called The River Queen, with two river rats named Tom and Jerry and an ailing, irascible rat terrier named Samantha Jean. Her father had just died. Her daughter had gone off to college. Lost and uncertain, Morris returned to the river of her youth, to the waterside towns where her father had once lived. In this poignant and often humorous memoir, Morris reclaims the world of her childhood as she gets a bearing on her future. She describes traveling down stream through the Midwest, living like a pirate as she survives a tornado and infestation of mayflies, bivouacs on beaches, and ties up to paddleboats in the dark of night. As she learns to pilot the River Queen through these fabled waters, Morris delivers a memoir that “deserves to be both a best-seller and a classic” (The Courier-Journal).
"The River Queen is my new favorite book; I wish I'd been the one to write something so flawless, so honest, and so resonant."--Jodi Picoult, author of My Sister's Keeper
"A journey or quest is one of the oldest literary forms, and The River Queen is a perfect example of why this genre is so satisfying. . . . Morris's trip--and her tale--are something that everyone could envy."--Los Angeles Times
"Fascinating . . . This bittersweet travel tale is told in the very real voice of a smart, sad, gutsy, and absolutely appealing woman whose odyssey transformed her life in ways she never imagined."--The Tucson Citizen
"Morris is a delightfully curious traveler. . . . She has an excellent capacity to be at once acerbic and impressed, and readers settle into Morris's story as if she is an old friend."--Booklist
"Never sentimental or maudlin, this is a realistic memoir of a strong woman on both a physical and an emotional journey at midlife."--Library Journal
"I have read The River Queen with great pleasure, because it is such an American adventure, which Mary Morris handles with verve--the Mississippi, the unexpected storms and odd encounters, but most of all how the adventure and the lark becomes a passage into memory, childhood, and the past."--Paul Theroux