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Chattanooga: a novel Paperback – November 17, 2011


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About the Author

Chet Raymo grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee and is Professor Emeritus of physics and astronomy at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. He is the author of more than a dozen books on science and nature for a popular audience, and four novels. His novel The Dork of Cork was made into the motion picture Frankie Starlight. He is a winner of the prestigious Lannan Literary Award. Raymo’s weekly column “Science Musings” appeared in the Boston Globe from 1983-2003, and his musings can still be read online at www.sciencemusings.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Platypus Multimedia (November 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983681007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983681007
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #368,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I can't remember the last time that I just stopped reading a book.
Linda Luchnick
The characters seemed well developed, some more so than others, but the plot meandered into a boring nothingness.
Polish Princess
I just felt like half way through that the story really wasn't going anywhere.
Kristina

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By David Lloyd on May 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Chattanooga uses a clever format in which each chapter is told through the eyes of a different character, and each character is an essential part of the mosaic which makes up a unique and dysfunctional household. As we weave through the story, we witness the same events through varying viewpoints, and realize just how much our rendition of things is based upon selective memory.

The characters each have a distinct, unique flavour, accentuated by differing dialects, accumulated baggage and a clearly separate way of looking at the world. The strength in the depiction of the characters is in the stark appraisal of their humanity. Some characters are more favourably portrayed than others, yet none are spared a harsh revelation of their weaknesses. But we are also witness to their strengths, no matter how frail they appear at times.

We learn that the most intricate ties are not solely based on the physical structures in which we are housed, but still carry on, even when these physical edifices are torn down, albeit differently. The ending is a simple and fitting testimony to the subtle manner in which we touch each other at times.

It is not easy interweaving the testimonies of the individual characters and maintaining the momentum of the unravelling plot, at times. Although I felt myself carried along during the first half of the book, I found that things struggled through the next few chapters, but was caught up again as things began to come together towards the end.

If you enjoy character driven plots and an unusual approach to story telling, I think this is a book you will want to read.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By eolian on May 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just finished this novel and i must say i had the best laugh in a long time when Buddy found the Canary, 5 stars just for that!!! I will be looking to buy some other Raymo books after reading this one!!!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bunny Watson on January 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. One of the joys of having a Kindle is stumbling across stories like this. I live in Chattanooga where the book is set, and it was fun reading the descriptions of life in the city and its neighborhoods during the war (WWII). We had one of the nation's biggest (or the biggest) TNT plants, which was in full swing during the war. One of the characters worked there. The site is now the location for VW's first American manufacturing plant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mindy Sue Duffner on April 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When I downloaded this book for my kindle I never imagined I would get into it as much as I did. I tend to gravitate to books set in the WWII Era and this one had a different twist (which I'm not going to give away in my review). I will say that I got totally caught up in the antics of this highly dysfunctional family. The first person narration comes from alternating points of view from different family members who are "colorful," to say the least. Chet Raymo offers his readers a humorous look at some very serious issues. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Jones on April 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a most delightful story. Using the voices of several family members instead of just one narrator is what made the story work. The family members struggle with truth versus perception all the way through. For example, Buddy sees himself as being a big contributor to the family's well being, when, in fact, he is more of a crude leech. Roger, who is probably the smartest in the family, provides the most money for the Buffons, but he doesn't give himself much credit for it. The mom, Mamie, isn't the family leader at all because she doesn't want to deal with any negative circumstance. There really isn't any leader in the family, because no one seems suited to be one, so chaos broils up constantly.

Using humor in writing can be extremely challenging to do effectively. Often a funny quip or a funny situation sticks out from the flow of the story and makes it seem that the author created the situation for the sake of its humorous content, rather than having the humor as an offshoot of the situation. The Raymos did a superb job with the humor in this tale. I seldom laugh out loud while reading, but Iggy made me laugh more than once.

My only complaint is that I think Buddy was dispatched too quickly. Maybe he should have had a chance to do something more upsetting than making eyes at the nurse. Maybe his injuries should have been ones that didn't require stationary restraints so he could have done something like pinch the nurse's fanny, or some other inappropriate touching, thereby giving Button a more legitimate reason to end the relationship at that point.

I definitely recommend this story, but if strong language bothers a person, this book would be rather upsetting. In my opinion, the language is natural to the characters, because they are the types who don't have extensive vocabularies, so they use shock words, just like many inarticulate real life characters do.

What a fun read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Payne on March 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I liked the twist in this book where instead of just focusing on civilian life during ww2 there was a lot about racial tensions that existed. Interesting look at a crazy time in American history. Makes me wonder how people would handle rationing now if it was necessary to support the troops.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Tye on April 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book grabbed me within the first chapter, and I found it difficult to think of little else until I had completed it!
A many generational family all living in the same home in Chattanooga,TN near the end of WWII......the good, the bad & everything in between!
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