Book details

Through the Groves

A Memoir

Author: Anne Hull

Through the Groves

Through the Groves

About This Book

Hypnotic and tender, this book reminds us that even if we leave our homes, our homes never leave us.
—Oprah Daily

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Book Details

Hypnotic and tender, this book reminds us that even if we leave our homes, our homes never leave us.
—Oprah Daily

“[Hull] has that sly eye for sublime details, but also a killer instinct for tight storytelling.”
Carl Hiaasen, New York Times Book Review

A richly evocative coming-of-age memoir set in the Florida orange groves of the 1960s by a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist

Anne Hull grew up in rural Central Florida, barefoot half the time and running through the orange groves her father’s family had worked for generations. The ground trembled from the vibrations of bulldozers and jackhammers clearing land for Walt Disney World. “Look now,” her father told her as they rode through the mossy landscape together. “It will all be gone.” But the real threat was at home, where Hull was pulled between her idealistic but self-destructive father and her mother, a glamorous outsider from Brooklyn struggling with her own aspirations. All the while, Hull felt the pressures of girlhood closing in. She dreamed of becoming a traveling salesman who ate in motel coffee shops, accompanied by her baton-twirling babysitter. As her sexual identity took shape, Hull knew the place she loved would never love her back and began plotting her escape.

Here, Hull captures it all—the smells and sounds of a disappearing way of life, the secret rituals and rhythms of a doomed family, the casual racism of the rural South in the 1960s, and the suffocating expectations placed on girls and women.

Vividly atmospheric and haunting, Through the Groves will speak to anyone who’s ever left home to cut a path of their own.

Imprint Publisher

Henry Holt and Co.



In The News

Named one of Garden & Gun's Best Books for (and about) Southerners of 2023

“[Hull] has that sly eye for sublime details, but also a killer instinct for tight storytelling...Through the Groves isn’t just another lament about a ruined paradise. Hull’s time-stamp of Florida is the muggy, buggy, sun-beaten setting for a girl struggling first for a social toehold, then for a way out.”
Carl Hiaasen, New York Times Book Review

“Hull is such a discerning reporter of her own past. She fills page after page here with the kind of small, charged and often wry details that make a lost world come alive...”
—Maureen Corrigan, NPR

“Able to spin memories into literary gold, Hull’s warmth and sadness call to mind the grotesqueries of Flannery O’Connor. . . Through the Groves hits that perfect place between pain and love, and Hull makes it look easy. At the end of the book, and the end of her parents’ lives, I cherished them both as characters so much that I actually wrote 'No' in the margins, as if I could stop the book from ending.”
The Washington Post

“Captivating....The wit and shimmer of Hull’s prose remind one often of Eudora Welty, as does the deft way she shifts registers when grappling with deeper, sometimes darker matters...Through the Groves might be a tender evocation of change at the speed of Florida, but it’s one that rewards slow savoring.”
Garden & Gun

“Evocative and haunting, Through the Groves is reminiscent of Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit what with its handling of a precocious child who discovers a sexual identity at odds with her matriarchal yet still repressed family. Both books have oranges, but Hull’s story is thoroughly Southern and utterly unique. You will return to it again, just as the Canada geese continue to fly south for the winter and the Yankees return to Disney World.”
Southern Review of Books

“Hull writes...with warmth, humor and a devastating eye for detail in her new memoir, Through the Groves. That will come as no surprise to anyone who has followed her stellar career as a journalist...It’s a rich nostalgia trip for longtime Floridians, and a witty and tender tale of coming of age and coming out.”
—Tampa Bay Times

“ evocative coming-of-age and coming-out story...Pulsing with humor and tenderness, with characters quirky and vulnerable, Through the Groves is a joy.”
—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Through the Groves captures the ugliness and the beauty of growing up in a Florida now long gone.”

Through the Groves joins a growing body of powerful queer Florida lit. This coming-out and coming-of-age memoir from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anne Hull is a moving portrait of queer adolescence in 1960s Florida.”

“Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anne Hull's vivid memoir, Through the Groves, re-creates a 1960s childhood among Florida's citrus trees, compassionately tracing how the nuclear unit broke apart, and how she came to accept her sexuality.”
—Shelf Awareness

“This warmly evocative recollection of [Hull's] formative years will appeal to a wide audience, especially those who enjoy understated, stylishly well-told stories....a funny, candid, and authentic memoir.”
Kirkus Reviews

“[An] entrancing coming-out and coming-of-age memoir...[Hull] paints a masterful, full-fleshed portrait of the Florida of her youth...this is a stirring account of growing up at odds with one’s environment and making it out on the other side.”
Publishers Weekly

“Honest, tender, wistful, Through The Groves is a clear-eyed evocation of a very particular time and place and people. It’s also a gut-punch of a story about a childhood filled with uncertainty, questions, longing. This feels like the book Anne Hull has been wanting to write, needing to write, and also maybe the book she felt a little afraid to write, which are the perfect conditions for a heart-rending memoir. I’ve long admired Hull as a journalist, but I turned the last page feeling she was a friend.”
—J. R. Moehringer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Tender Bar

“Stunningly beautiful. A spellbinding trek into a long-lost Florida and a girlhood whose heroine you will never forget.”
—Andrea Elliott, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Invisible Child

“Anne Hull stole my heart in chapter one with her childhood stories of driving long miles through dusty orchards while building the quiet confidence born of helping dad at his job. By the end of Through the Groves, she had given it back to me, fuller and wiser, and with a new gratitude for the ‘orange people’ who provide the sweetness to our mornings.”
—Hope Jahren, author of Lab Girl and The Story of More

“Anne Hull's memoir takes the reader on a rattletrap, strangely private, exquisitely moving ride. Hull can remind one of Welty at times, both in her humor (subtle, wild, forgiving) and her disarmingly skillful prose. Yet Hull is zanier and sexier than Welty, and there is also an erotic coming- of-age story discreetly embedded in this book.”
—Terry Castle, author of The Professor and Other Writings

“Anne Hull has written some of the most important stories of our time, beautifully, unflinchingly. We should not be surprised that in her memoir, as she turns her pen toward her own heart, own ghosts, it would be beautiful, too. A memoir is supposed to be brave, and it is, but this is more than that. Here, we learn that an orange grove can contain all the terror and all the beauty in the world, and that the trees will cut you up, inside an out. As she tells her own story she tells a tale of old Florida, all but extinct by now, a place where you can trust an orange grower but never a tomato man, and the mermaids, made from department store mannequins, still call to you, somehow, across miles of dust and grit and pesticide. It is, ultimately, a story of breaking free, only to see, as all of us do, that there is no such thing.”
—Rick Bragg, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of All Over But the Shoutin'

“Anne Hull writes with detail so evocative, unsentimental, and deliciously funny that to read her is an uncommon joy. There is a gift on every page of Through the Groves, a memoir that shows the world what many of us in the newspaper world have long known. Anne's a wonder, one of a kind.”
—David Maraniss, author of Path Lit By Lightning

About the Creators

Through the Groves

Through the Groves