Homegrown in Florida

Edited by William McKeen

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"Sparkles with all the colors of our childhood, like the Florida sun setting over the Gulf. A surprising cross-section of thirty-four talented writers, poets, politicians, and entertainers transport us to a state where anything was possible, where memories take on a life of their own and have lasting consequences."--Victor DiGenti, author of the Windrusher series

"Brings back a world in which kids played outside unsupervised, when grandmothers wore pearls and smelled of talcum powder and cooked hot breakfasts, and when a mother might spend Sunday morning immersed in the Miami Herald but felt it her duty to have grace said at the dinner table."--Joy Wallace Dickinson, author of Remembering Orlando

Florida can seem like a child's dream of paradise: endless sunny days, trips to the beach to swim and build sandcastles, bike riding without a jacket in the middle of January, and magical themeparks only a short drive away. But what was life really like for those who grew up here?
During a recent reunion, writers Bill McKeen, Tim Dorsey, and Jeff Klinkenberg found themselves lamenting that so many of their childhood memories were fading away. For them, and for many, Florida is not just a place people go to, it’s where they come from.
That can mean many things to many people, as the stellar cast of writers, journalists, and musicians eloquently reveal in Homegrown in Florida. This utterly satisfying and powerful anthology aims at the heart of the glories of childhood and the pain of growing up. Both a celebration of the exotic, untamed wilderness of a youth filled with moss-draped oaks and citrus fields, evergreen winters and palmetto fronds, and a reminder that innocence often gave way to experience as bike paths became private developments, and swimming holes were paved over by interstates, Homegrown in Florida is filled with tears and laughter alike.
Featuring contributions from Carl Hiaasen, Tom Petty, Zora Neale Hurston, Michael Connelly, and many more, this is a book for every child of old Florida, and every child at heart.

William McKeen is the author of nine books, including Mile Marker Zero, Outlaw Journalist, Highway 61, and Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay. He teaches at Boston University, where he chairs the Department of Journalism.

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"A powerful anthology aimed at celebrating those who spent their childhoods in Florida, and considers what life was like for those who grew up in the state." The Midwest Book Review

"A crazy quilt of an anthology that differs from one writer to the next in the same way that Florida looks and feels vastly different from region to region and, in some places, from one side of a city to another." Florida Book Review

"Florida can be an amazing place to grow up. This is an anthology of some of the state's best writers talking about romance and the pain of growing up here." The Daytona Beach News-Journal

"A superb book" Slate Magazine

“Mixes the bitter with the sweet, and while it is particular to a time and place, it also has a coming-of-age universality.” On a Clear Day I Can Read Forever (blog)

"A valentine to growing up in the Sunshine State… Homegrown shows a raw, slower-paced Florida." Arude Magazine

"Reveals a world of vivid memories and black and white photographs, of quiet towns and close families, of details that might easily have slipped through the cracks." Arude Magazine

"Well-known writers along with journalists, poets, and musicians team up to reminisce about coming of age in that once unspoiled paradise." Atlantic Journal-Constitution

"This exceptional collection reveals that Florida kids face the same challenges as others, but they may just be a little bit luckier because they can do so with their toes in the sand." Library Journal

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