This was good, but I was a little disappointed. I think a friend of mine (Joanne) hit the nail on the head -- I expected less of the good old boy writing/speech. I just expected more from a Pulitzer Prize winner. I thought the story was good, but it dragged in places and there were several places that I just didn't care, some of it, I felt was very self-serving and overly indulgent. Worth a read, but if I do read the next one from this writer, it will be a while. I couldn't handle them back-to-back I think :)
I really enjoyed this book. I guess if you would like to feel from the poor south this would be a good read. It is also encouragging that it's important to fight for and stick too something you really want. Sometimes our heart leads our heads and families do have a way of holding on to us. You will feel good when you finish the story.
I thought this was an excellent southern memoir. I have Ava's Man, which I believe involves the same people, but I have yet to read it. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes autobios/memoirs or the southern genre.
This is an outstanding book about a boy growing up in Alabama. Very vivid descriptions of his childhood and family. He eventually became a writer in New York and this describes his journey there. Highly recommended.
This memoir of Rick Bragg's life with his mother has made me want to read everything else he has written. It is intensely sad, yet parts are funny as "all get-out". The sacrifices made by his mother are incredible, the writing is terrific, and the story is inspirational.
There's no denying that Rick Bragg is a great writer. He is a man totally deserving of the awards he has won in journalism. This is a richly crafted memoir. I was initially afraid that he would focus on the abuse his mother suffered at the hands of his father, but Bragg proves to be a skillful story-teller as he weaves his threads of the past into the present. An excellent example of how an author can make a reader FEEL for his characters without making you feel sorry for them. Although at times Bragg does seem to hide behind his shield of past-poverty, there are relatively few episodes of his self-proclaimed superiority to muddle through in this book. Overall, I am glad I read it as it has given me insight into lives from which I am so far separated. It is a book I will remember and recommend.
I absolutely adore Rick Bragg's Southern Journal stories in Southern Living magazine. However, this book just goes on and on about how his childhood included a no-good father and a fabulous mother. I'm so glad that he has a wonderful mother but somehow it just doesn't seem to make a novel. His short stories are much more interesting reading. It's OK but not great.
This story of Rick Bragg's journey from the poverty of rural Alabama to the big time as a prize-winning journalist in New York rings true throughout. His accounts of political strife in Haiti to convenience store robberies in New York are heartbreaking. But it's not all serious. Some of his encounters are hilarious. His mother is drawn very sympathetically, giving us a window into the way of thinking of people held down suffocatingly in rural poverty. He glosses over his own romantic relationships except to say that they never work out. But, hey, he's writing the story, he's under no obligation to give us evidence against him. A good read.
Rick Bragg captures the poor white South with an honesty that made it hard to read through the pain and helplessness of children of alcoholics and hopelessness of being born during this time period. Well written and honest to the core.
Growing up really close to where this takes place brought back lots of painful memories along with smiles concerning determined women who worked for every dime they ever had. After the civil war there was nothing left to pass on to ones children and that still is obvious today in parts of the rural South. My final thought is that damaged from our surroundings we are still able to love family and learn what true grit really is.
One of the most beautifully and honestly written stories ever. The best book I've read in a long time. Rick Bragg began his life as the poorest of the poor in Alabama. A drunken father, and a mother and grandma who were always there to support and direct him.... and his own determination and luck.... were that background which he never forgot. Without a college education, but because he had a natural talent for writing, and because he could relate to the people of his storiew and told their stories with honesty and respect...... Rick Bragg ended up working for the New York Times and was a Pulitzer Prize winner. But he remained that same Rick, all through his life, who never saw himself better than anyone else. My words are trivial in trying to describe a book of such unforgetable emotion. You will never forget this book.....
Rick Bragg is another in the tradition of fine writers from the South. The poetry of his writing belies its subject; his hardscrabble upbringing.
He'll make you wince until you cry, he'll make you laugh until you cry. You'll wonder how he was able to work his way out of the shack he grew up in to the halls of power at the New York Times and beyond.
Everyone will be touched by this memorable book, but if you consider yourself a Southerner, it's required reading.
An easy read and a heartfelt story about growing up poor in the South. As a fellow Southerner, I especially enjoyed the inclusion of Appalachian grammar with sprinkling of reckons, plumbs, etc. throughout the story.
Although Yankee-born, I have lived in Alabama for nearly half my life and I feel a kinship and loyalty to this State - with all of its beauty and flaws. So that is why I'm quite ashamed that it took me 17 years to read Rick Bragg's memoir of growing up in Calhoun County, Alabama, and his amazing journalism career. We all have books that stick with us, invade our thoughts for many days or months after you've read the last page. This is one of those books for me. I spoke recently with a Journalism graduate from the University of Alabama where Rick Bragg now serves as a Professor of Writing and we debated the tone of Mr. Bragg's memoir. He thought Mr. Bragg was overplaying the "country bumpkin" card. I feel I can pick out a poser and Rick Bragg is not one of them. He feels quite genuine to me. In fact, he talks quite extensively in this book about the struggles he's had throughout his life with that perception of being "less" because he was born and raised as a poor white kid on someone else's land in rural Alabama county. It is actually just that tone that endeared his story to me, and reminded me of just why I love this State and its people so very much (with a few exceptions - of course). Great southern memoir!
As a Southerner, I LOVED this book. It was like coming home to read so many of the descriptions, I knew these people he talked about! Bragg does an excellent job of weaving his past with the present. Although I have read his other books, this one is the best.
Quite possibly the most well written book I have read in years. Rick Bragg writes in such a way that you could randomly open the book to any page, close your eyes and point and read a sentence or paragraph that is crafted by a master. The story is captivating, the prose is incredible.
YA?On Palm Sunday, 1994, a tornado ripped through a church in Piedmont, AL, killing 20 people. This is Bragg's hometown, and he began his story on the tragedy for the New York Times as follows: "This is a place where grandmothers hold babies on their laps under the stars and whisper in their ears that the lights in the sky are holes in the floor of heaven. This is a place where the song 'Jesus Loves Me' has rocked generations to sleep, and heaven is not a concept, but a destination." It is writing of this quality that won the author his job as a national correspondent and the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. He grew up in poverty, the second of three sons of an alcoholic, abusive father and a loving mother. The early chapters give a beautiful description of warm and happy moments he enjoyed with her and his family even as she struggled to provide for them after they'd been abandoned. Teens will enjoy reading about the resourceful, talented, and lucky young man's career as he moved from local reporter to working for regional and national papers. A book for students with an interest in writing, journalism, or the South and of use for autobiography assignments.?Patricia Noonan, Prince William Public Library, VA
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year. "Part memoir, part confession, this book has everything to do with the South and nothing at all. . . . Like all good writing, it transcends the particulars of time and place." --Raleigh News & Observer
book contents have been covered in many other peoples life stories. Nothing different about this one. Stories all to familiar sadly, in this time of peoples lives. Author had ability to put together a well written story that was enjoyable.
Bragg's memoir covers much the same kind of territory Frank McCourt explored in "Angela's Ashes" -- a grim childhood marked by a drunken, often-absent father and a mother who struggled as best she could to make a life for her children, this one set in Alabama rather than Ireland. Like McCourt, Bragg writes so beautifully that the reader is able to get past the worst of the ugliness.
Excellent story of a man's rise from "poor white trash" and his experiences along the way. I like the way he is able to view his life - the terrible and the good - and make his choices. He doesn't abandon his past, but learns to accept it as part of who he is. He discovers that even his difficult childhood is worlds better than some he sees in his life as a reporter. I've recommended this book to many friends and family.