The Prince of Frogtown by Rick Brag

The Prince of FrogtownReviewed by Allen Hott

That boy can write!

Rick Bragg’s Prince of Frogtown is the final in the trilogy about fathers and sons. I for one am sorry to see it end. Hopefully Mr. Bragg will continue however to write about his homeland of Jacksonville, Alabama. He certainly captures the ambiance of the south as he pictures his family, neighbors, and surroundings.

Sadly much of his past includes problems with a father who preferred drink and overall problem causing instead of parenthood filled with happiness and tranquil surroundings. Charles Bragg, the father, had grown up in a family that thought nothing of weekends completely ruined by the over-indulgence of “white liquor” or as known to many by white lightning. Although Charles didn’t actually turn into the man that he became until after World War II he did have the background which helped lead him into the wrong life.

Charles did however, according to some of his old buddies, refer often to an incident that he could not forget and which may have been a major part of his later lifestyle. While he was in the Marines and fighting in the Pacific he actually killed one of the enemy but not by the conventional method of gunfire. He recounted quite often of seeing the enemy’s eyes as Charles held him under water and drowned him. No doubt that could shake most folk’s psyche!

Rick Bragg in his telling of this entire tale uses a very interesting method. He pretty much follows the method of using one chapter to tell about his father and his life. In those chapters Rick brings in his own boyhood as he remembers it while growing up under the in and out auspices of his drunken father.

In the alternate chapters Rick depicts his own ordeals and happenings in raising a stepson. He had no children of his own but he then married a lady with three sons. One was already out of the house, one was about to be gone off to school, and the youngest was the one that Rick was awarded as a new project. Quite an undertaking for a forty-six year old who in many ways had not really quite grown to adulthood himself as yet. These chapters are funny, interesting, and in some cases they can about bring the reader to tears but happy tears at that.

Another really great book by an author who realistically can compete with any of the great authors of not only the South but of literature as a whole. Well done, Mr. Bragg!!

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