Why Three Books?
Rick Bragg’s memoirs of home and childhood are related but not linear. They sufficiently connect so that readers could start with the newest book, The Prince of Frogtown, then move on to one of the others. Rick Bragg already has many fans in our community. Even now, more than 10 years after its publication, Shoutin’ still garners a waiting list at KPL.
Here’s what readers can look forward to:
With colorful language and emotional honesty, Rick Bragg recounts a turbulent and poverty-stricken childhood in rural Alabama that gave rise to a career in journalism and a Pulitzer Prize for reporting. His book is a sensitive but never self-pitying look at the fruits of his alcoholic father’s abuse and abandonment of the family, and at his mother, who bore the brunt of the pain.
Bragg celebrates his mama’s daddy, Charlie Bundrum, a heroic figure whose life was symbolic of a people and way of life nearly gone today from the Southern landscape. An ode to his grandfather, but also a study of the history and culture of the rural South, richly seasoned with all-but-forgotten lore and language.
This completes the cycle of Rick Bragg’s stories about his childhood. Bragg was convinced the last thing he wanted was to become a father. Now married and suddenly stepfather to a young boy, Bragg looks back to move forward. Through conversations with people who knew Bragg’s father, he builds a picture of who Charles Bragg really was, searching for shreds of goodness in him. Stories about his father alternate with chapters about the developing relationship with his stepson.