RICK BRAGG BOOKS

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BOOK REVIEW: THE PRINCE OF FROGTOWN
BY RICK BRAGG

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In the late 1990's, Rick Bragg published a memoir of his Alabama childhood, which provided a loving tribute to his mother as well as a remembrance of the high points in his writing career. He followed it up a few years later with AVA'S MAN, about his maternal grandfather. These books both provided a marvelously warm description of a way of life often denigrated by popular culture and various one line jokes. I found Bragg's writing the best sort of memoir, a window to a part of America I knew nothing about yet learned to respect as a result of my reading.

In the first two books, Bragg's father did not come off well. He had succumbed to alcoholism when his three sons were very small, and left his wife to struggle with poverty and the daunting task of raising three boys on her own. Yet a few years ago, Bragg himself married, and acquired a stepson. With his own boy to care for, he found himself wondering more about his father and went in search of his story.

Chapters in THE PRINCE OF FROGTOWN alternate between what Bragg discovers about his father through interviews with other family members and friends; and what Bragg learns about himself and the challenges of parenthood. But there is brutal honesty in Bragg's account. Not all of his father's actions can be understood or forgiven. THE PRINCE OF FROGTOWN joins Bragg's other two books to complete a remarkable trilogy.

REVIEWED BY WOODSTOCK

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, WOODSTOCK


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