- Highway 51: Mississippi Hill Country (2009) Photography book
- The Seasons of Women (1996, edited by G. Norris)
- Three Stories (1986)
- Looking for Bobby (1985)
- The Working Mother’s Complete Handbook (1979)
by Sarah Foley (SHS)
Mississippi is famous for its excellent writers. The South is overflowing with promising writers with a large amount of knowledge about their respective states. Gloria Norris is one of these talented writers.
Norris was born in 1937. She began her life in the town of Holcomb, Mississippi. The area was know as “a small town straddling the Delta and the red clay hills of northern Mississippi” (Norris Book Jacket). After a childhood of watching adults and wondering if they had complicated lives (Norris, 1996), Norris began her journey into the adult world. As a young adult, Norris achieved what any person would want to. She graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi magna cum laude (Lavers). Norris then continued her studies at the Ohio State University. She obtained her M.A. there.
Norris has led a full adult life. She is the former chief-editor and judge of the BOMC (Book of the Month Club). She has received three major awards. She received the O. Henry Prize for her book Three Stories, was chosen as Mississippi Woman of the Year in 1986, and named one of “America’s 100 Most Important Women” in the Ladies Home Journal in 1983. Norris’s accomplishments do not end there. She has written three books and compiled two anthologies. The books are Three Stories, Looking for Bobby, and The Working Mother’s Handbook (co-authored with Jo Ann Miller). Norris’s short stories have appeared in the Sewanee Review and other journals.
Norris has been back to Mississippi since the publication of her books and has spoken at Mississippi Southern University. Even with her busy schedule she has not forgotten her Mississippi heritage, a trait of many famous Mississippi writers.
A Review of Looking for Bobby
by Sarah Foley (SHS)
The novel Looking for Bobby by Gloria Norris is centered around a young southern woman named Marianne. She is smart, beautiful, and has the potential to be anything but ordinary. It seems throughout the book that there is only one thing holding her back. It is her older and very mysterious cousin Bobby. The story revolves around Marianne dependence on having Bobby in her life. The only problem with that is that every time their relationship is about to peak, Bobby disappears. In the beginning, the book is not very suspenseful. However, it is worthwhile to keep reading because the more the reader gets into the book, the less he or she will want to put it down.
Norris once stated, “Knowing the difference in what sells and the bubble in her subconscious thinking” (Lavers) is what helped her create Looking for Bobby. This one simple statement describes part of the protagonist’s personality. Marianne does what is in the moment (like her job as an agent), but she is also subconsciously aware of what she really wants: Bobby.
The characters in the novel contains must deal with internal conflict. Each character has a conflict that is deeper than what is first shown. From Bobby’s mother’s drinking to Bobby’s love-yet-leave ways with women, each character has a difficult challenge to meet and overcome.
The atmosphere and style of the novel Looking for Bobby are key factors of this book’s essence. The atmosphere never stays the same. From southern culture to elaborate Mexican feasts, the reader is exposed to many different things that he or she might not know about otherwise. Change also ties in with the book’s style. Norris uses the literary device of flashback often in her novel. The book skips around from as early as 1949 to as late as 1981. With the facts scattered around because of the differences in the years, it is like putting together a puzzle of different places and various people.
As in any novel, some parts were more enjoyable than others. I can’t say what part I liked the most. This book really surprised me. However, people may get an impression of Mississippi that, I believe, not true. The book as a whole is a good example of a novel worth reading.
- Mississippi Writer’s Project page on Gloria Norris
- Interview – Gloria Norris and her Mississippi Road. 2009. Jackson Free Press
- Abadie, Ann., Susan M. Glisson, and Aleda Shirley. Mississippi Writers Directory and Literary Guide. University, Mississippi: The Center of the Study of Southern Culture, 1995.
- Lavers, Sarah. “Gloria Norris.” The Mississippi Writers Page Online. Available
http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/english/ms-writers/norris_gloria/ 29 Oct. 1998.
- Miller, Jo Ann., and Gloria Norris. The Working Mother’s Complete Handbook. New York, New York: New American Library, 1979.
- Norris, Gloria. Looking for Bobby. New York: Alfred A. Knof inc., 1985: book jacket.
- Norris, Gloria. The Seasons of Women. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 1996: introduction. Starkville Daily News. Starkville, Mississippi: na.