Tuesday, December 13, 2011

ALL OVER BUT THE SHOUTIN' by Rick Bragg


Rick Bragg's memoir is like Angela's Ashes set in rural Alabama. His mother repeatedly has to bundle up her family and return to her mother's farm to escape the wrath of her alcoholic husband. For her three sons, anything is preferable to life with their father, where starvation is just around the corner, since his employability makes them ineligible for welfare. Like Frank McCourt, Rick Bragg's love of books helps lift him out of poverty. Bragg manages to inject a good amount of humor into his story as well, but I could have done without the bad grammar that just helps propagate the myth that all Southerners butcher the language. The book became less engrossing after the author reaches adulthood, working as a reporter for a string of newspapers. I have to say, though, that the most moving section of the book was his account of his mother's accompanying him to New York to receive his Pulitzer Prize.

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