Truman Capote: The Thanksgiving Visitor

Up until now, the only work by Truman Capote that I had read was his short story “A Christmas Memory”.  In looking through the titles of his stories, I ran across “The Thanksgiving Visitor”.  On further reading, I found that it was a companion or sequel to “A Christmas Memory”, which I plan on re-reading in the near future so look for a post about it soon.

Both stories involve Buddy, a grade school boy who lives in small-town, Depression-era Alabama with five elderly relatives.  Why he doesn’t live with his parents is only vaguely touched upon.  His relative, Miss Sook, whom he refers to as “my friend”, is a very child-like adult for reasons that again are only vaguely explained.

In “The Thanksgiving Visitor”, Buddy is threatened by an older boy at his school, oddly named Odd Henderson.  While he doesn’t explain to Miss Sook why he fears going to school, she intuitively begins to understand that it is because of “the Henderson boy” whose family she has known most of her life.

With child-like naivety, Miss Sook decides that inviting Odd to her and Buddy’s family Thanksgiving will solve the bullying problem.  For obvious reasons, world-weary Buddy strongly opposes this.  Odd accepts the invitation and the reader realizes there is more to him than meets the eye.

Capote’s descriptions of the geographical region, the time period and the Thanksgiving dinner, itself, make up the best parts of the story.   Odd Henderson’s invitation to Thanksgiving strangely enough solves Buddy’s problem; however, as the story borders on being too sentimental, Capote wisely keeps Buddy and Odd from ever being anything more than acquaintances.  Even with the sentimentality, it’s a beautiful story in its own right.


4 responses to “Truman Capote: The Thanksgiving Visitor

  1. Hi Dale,
    My first book club read Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s and someone I work with is now reading In Cold Blood. I’ve read a couple stories and both were great. I think I posted about his A Tree of Night not too long ago, which is when I realized he was a real heavyweight among writers. I’d love to get a book of his stories. Do you own the one pictured, or is it a Library book?

    • Hi Jay, I got the book pictured from the library. It’s not that big, so I’m thinking about maybe reading the whole thing. Your post about A Tree of Night is what reminded me of the Christmas Memory story. I’ve never read In Cold Blood, but I’ve seen a film version of it. What intrigues me is that these stories that I’ve read are so sentimental, it’s hard imagining the same person writing about a brutal murder.

      Speaking of short stories, I’ve got my 2013 Deal Me In project ready to go. I’ll probably post about it sometime later this month. Along with these 52 short stories, I will probably read additional short story collections next year, because there are just too many that I want to read!

  2. Pingback: “One Christmas” | Mirror w/ Clouds

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