Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Cherokee Strip - a Tale of an Oklahoma Boyhood by Marquis James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you grew up in Oklahoma, and particularly in Northwest Oklahoma, and even more particularly in Enid, OK - then this book should interest you greatly.

James recounts his boyhood living on the claim his father staked in the Land Run. Later, his family moves to Enid as he attends Enid High School (originally housed in a downtown building alongside an opera company!), and he begins his career in journalism working as a reporter, a subscriptions manager and a printer in Enid's various papers.

The most remarkable part of this book is the amazingly quick change that the town of Enid undergoes. At the beginning of the story it is a frontier, wild-west, tent city complete with saloons. By the end of the story, a scarce 10-15 years later, it is a brick-building town with a $"100,000" courthouse at the center. It has essentially transformed into the town it is today.

James is an entertaining personality, precocious and energetic. Enid's two-time Pulitzer prize winning author is a wonderful narrator throughout.

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