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All Over but the Shoutin'
por Rick Bragg
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A view of growing up poor, white, and Southern. Even though Bragg grew up in Alabama just an hour or two drive south of Appalachia, this is a much better account then Vance's Hillbilly elegy. There is very little in the way of a political agenda in this book. ( )
Rick Bragg needs you to understand three things about his life: One, he grew up with a strong mother. Two, his family was poorer than dirt. I don't know what's more poor than dirt, but Bragg will never let you forget he grew up less than dirt with words like white trash, ragged, welfare, slums, poverty, raggedy, and did I mention poor? Three, he's southern to the core, despite moving to New York City. Maybe it's this last point that makes it okay for him to use words like Eskimo. To be fair, we are a society becoming more and more sensitive to slights, real and perceived. But, I digress.
Bragg travels the world seeing atrocities far worse than growing up in poverty or having a delinquent dad or a drug-addled brother. His ability to tell stories from a compassionate point of view draws a great deal of attention and eventually, fame.
It is funny how when we are on the cusp of carrying on traditions from childhood we say we will do things differently than our parents. "I will not be my father. I will not be my mother." Yet, at the same time we are just like them without trying. Bragg spent a lifetime trying not to be his father, but at the end of All Over But the Shoutin' he is compelled to write his long-gone father a few words.
I bought this book accidentally, but glad I did. Rick Bragg is a born storyteller. In this book he shares memories of his mother's hard life in rural Alabama and how much he and his brothers appreciated her years of sacrifice. It is told in a descriptive "down-home" manner. He also describes the several stories he covered as a journalist, and the difficulties in separating human feelings from relaying the facts. I found it both interesting and enjoyable.
Here's what I wrote in 2008 about this read: "Gift to Dad and then read myself. It was a Southern family with challenges, but a family none-the-less ("the forgotten heart of 'white trash' America" - online Amazon review). Remember the mother only having one decent dress in x? years. Good read."
Superb! Great to hear Frank Muller again. Wonderful writing, well delivered. A terrific look at a life I was blessed to miss. A real eye opener. I'm ready to listen again to the abridged version read by Rick Bragg just to hear the author's voice. These stories bear repeating. I'm delighted that my cousin recommended it to me. I know my Mama loved it as well. I'll be looking for anything else by this talented author. It does remind me of Angela's Ashes in some ways. I think I would suggest this to folks who loved Angela's Ashes and vice versa. I was glad I was listening to it. I think the humor comes through more with a good narrator.
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Wikipedia en inglés (1)
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year This haunting, harrowing, gloriously moving recollection of a life on the American margin is the story of Rick Bragg, who grew up dirt-poor in northeastern Alabama, seemingly destined for either the cotton mills or the penitentiary, and instead became a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times. It is the story of Bragg's father, a hard-drinking man with a murderous temper and the habit of running out on the people who needed him most. But at the center of this soaring memoir is Bragg's mother, who went eighteen years without a new dress so that her sons could have school clothes and picked other people's cotton so that her children wouldn't have to live on welfare alone. Evoking these lives--and the country that shaped and nourished them--with artistry, honesty, and compassion, Rick Bragg brings home the love and suffering that lie at the heart of every family. The result is unforgettable.
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