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Crapalachia: A Biography of Place Paperback – Deckle Edge, March 19, 2013
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About the Author
More About the Author
He lives in West Virginia, where he is co-founder of Holler Presents (hollerpresents.com), and would love to eat chicken wings with you.
Top Customer Reviews
This is a book about suicide, dead miners, and children being left to scream and writhe in pain because their parents can't afford doctors.
And yet, I couldn't stop laughing.
"She told us the story about how he was trying to get his pension from the mines. But before he got it, he had to fight for a couple of months. He finally got a letter that went..."Dear Mr. McClanahan, we regret to inform you that we're unable to approve you at this time. Please send your response within seven days and we'll schedule another hearing."
Elgie didn't say anything.
He just took it down to the outhouse and wiped his ass with it. Then he put it back into the envelope, sealed it up, and sent it back."
McClanahan creates wonderful, embellished portraits of family members and friends, at their best and at their worst, doing the things they need to do to endure life.
Here is one tale of young Scott and his Uncle Nathan, who had cerebral palsy:
"The next night was radio preacher night. That only meant one thing. My Uncle Nathan was going to drink beer. He just kept groaning and pointing at the beer and then pointing at his feeding tube. What was the use of drinking beer when you could immediately pour a six-pack in your stomach tube and have it shoot into your bloodstream that much quicker? I poured the beer in and then I poured another. I cracked another and another. Then I did the rest. He smiled and then burped. It smelled like a beer burp."
Though I did not grow up in rural West Virginia, this reminded me so much of my mother's side of the family. They were farmers, beauticians and business people.Read more ›
McClanahan uses a stream-of-consciousness narrative to tell stories or mini stories about people he grew up with as a boy in West Virginia. This narrative tool is brilliant in that it wonderfully captures the inner-thinking of a young teen; i.e. inability to stay on one subject, casually tosses out a profundity then changes the subject, mistakes nonsense for profundity and elaborates with more nonsense, etc. The narrator is quite believable and very entertaining.
Within a few pages, I was strongly reminded of Truman Capote's stories about his childhood in New Orleans. Like Capote, McClanahan has the gift of finding humor and fascination amongst people that many of us would dismiss. I do not possess that gift and am humbled by people who do. It would never have occurred to me to write about a 52 year old man who had cerebral palsy, who watches Benny Hinn, and lived with his mother. I would have found such a person pitiful. But, in McClanahan's hands, his Uncle Nathan comes across as a funny devil-may-care personality who might be more aware of what's going on than most.
In writing down these stories of, if I may use the term, forgotten people, McClanahan makes the plea that even though these people may not have been great or noble, they deserve to be remembered.
Don't we all?
Scott McClanahan has every reason to be proud of this book.
Crapalachia is a condensed family history made up of anecdotes, evidence from family albums, gossip, and everything that, put together, takes on new meaning. For, you see, Crapalachia is its own sort of textbook. In each of its tales, it provides examples and lessons via scenarios gone awry.
Someone give Scott a piece of history and he'll cut it down to size. It might not be the right fit for the history books, but he'll find something personal and beautiful. He'll turn anything into a true testament of humanity and survival.
This book is evidence of the fact that McClanahan would live through the treacherously bad times and still manage to bring that big grin around and wide. He'll say "CURE FOR DEPRESSION" and he'll show you what's up. How to do it. How to keep from letting a bummer bring you down.
I don't waste any time trying to discern between which parts of Crapalachia are true or not; set together as a singular entity, family history as Crapalachia, it is all true, and every single word of it must be read.
Fiction. Nonfiction. It doesn't matter. We live through it.
We live through all of it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I got this for a friend who is familiar with Appalachia region, and he found this book depressing. He got halfway through it and told me he stopped reading it. Read morePublished 11 months ago by jazz n justice
Found by accident. a quasi memoir in the vein of glass castle. since my dad grew up in West Virginia and we visited my grandparents there, it resonated.Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
Never read a book like this....thought it was unusual and amazingPublished 16 months ago by Joy G Woodrum
I attended a reading by Scott McClanahan at my college. I thought, "What a strange individual this is... I *must* read his work. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Jessica
As a young person in Appalachia, and someone who is interested in Appalachian studies, I really wanted to read this book, which is about being young here. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Anonymous
A forgettable book. I was intrigued by the title of the book, but it wasn't at all interesting and only mildly amusing. Save your money.Published 19 months ago by Marlene
I really recommend this book, especially if you are from the Appalachian region. I am from West Virginia and nearly cried more than once while reading the book. Read morePublished 19 months ago by CapitalTTruth