Jackson is one of my all time favorite contemporary Southern authors. She writes about Georgia and Alabama and small town life in a way that brings out all my bittersweet Southern nostalgia. Jackson's South is full of small towns and people who know everything about you - except the few skeletons you and your family have hiding in the closets. Her themes revolve around those secrets and around growing up and leaving and growing up and staying. I would also say that Jackson's most successful theme, and the theme that draws me back to her books again and again is home: particularly the roots and connections that come with home - both good and bad. I don't think you need to love the small-town South the way I do to enjoy her books, though. Everyone can identify with what it means to be home, how we are always connected to our families, and the things in the past that can come back to haunt us or help us as we grow up.