Oildale native, Gerald Haslam, doesn’t like it when folks dismiss the Central Valley as boring and flat. In this collection of essays, he argues that it is California’s heartland and economic hub. In addition, the valley has produced a crop of gifted writers. These nineteen essays range from reminiscences of childhood and adolescence to a portrait of Mexican-Americans and their position in the Valley’s society to a moving essay about having the author’s aging father come to live with the family. Even if you have never lived in the Valley, reading this book will give you an entirely new perspective the next time you drive into it.
Gerald Haslam is a professor emertius of English at Sonoma State University and a contributing writer for West, the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine. His book, Straight White Male, won the 2000 Western State Book Award for fiction and was named Book of the Year by Foreword magazine. He lives in Northern California.