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Junior Ray Paperback – October 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 158 pages
  • Publisher: NewSouth Books (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158838232X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1588382320
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,280,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mississippi state tourist officials won't be handing this book out anytime soon, though they might be surprised by its effectiveness if they did. Pritchard's hilariously tasteless debut novel is the profanity-laced story of a racist, violent sheriff's deputy in the Mississippi delta of the 1950s. Junior Ray Loveblood is an ignorant bully who sees no reason to carry a pistol if he can't shoot someone. He doesn't like rich folks or black people, and he especially hates Leland Shaw, an obscure white Mississippi poet and crazy World War II veteran who has just escaped from a mental hospital. The story of Junior Ray's pursuit of Shaw is extracted from the unrepentant deputy 30 years later by an academic researcher with an interest in Shaw's lost (and found) notebooks. Junior Ray, accompanied by his dim, slack-jawed sidekick, Voyd Mudd, searches everywhere for Shaw, but most folks, especially Shaw's equally goofy family and their black neighbors, do everything they can to bamboozle and trick the cops. Junior Ray's peculiar views on marriage, redneck sex, religion and law enforcement are laugh-out-loud funny, as are his descriptions of getting lost in the woods, finding a German submarine and being rescued by a troop of snickering Boy Scouts. As Junior Ray's pompous interviewer points out, "this book is not for the squeamish," but its irreverent humor will win over most. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

A short, funny novel [with a ] colorful narrator for a messy Mississippi tale. -- The Tennessean

Although Junior Ray is hateful, he is sometimes very funny and, on occasion, insightful... -- The Tuscaloosa News/ Alabama Public Radio

John Pritchard has brought to life one of the most tangible, offensive, realistic and rascally characters... -- Jackson Free Press

Junior Ray is a novel about understanding the unlovable. -- The Mississippi Press

Junior Ray's peculiar views on marriage, redneck sex, religion and law enforcement are laugh-out-loud funny... -- Publishers Weekly

Pritchard's hilariously tasteless debut novel ... "is not for the squeamish," but its irreverent humor will win over most. -- Publisher's Weekly, March 7, 2005

Underneath this violent language and narrative, there is a sweet truth. It deserves to be read. -- Harry Crews --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

I was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but that does not make me a Tennessean, for I was raised in Tunica, Mississippi --in the Mississippi Delta . . . that "Mississippi" Delta of legend and song -- which more accurately may be the Yazoo Delta. But, most important, it is the strange and fertile, alluvial, literary plain of Tennessee Williams and of Moon Lake and of Amanda, in The Glass Menagerie . . . Blanche in Streetcar, and Maggie the Cat.

I was born in Memphis only because the road, Highway 61, was paved in 1937, the year before my birth; and my mother decided to go to the hospital in the big city rather than stay in Tunica, a decision which turned out to be fortunate for both of us because I was a high-forceps delivery, pulled from my mother by force in an attempt to save her life and to perhaps forfeit mine.

I survived and so did she. As a result I have no occiput at all, am exceedingly high-strung, and have led a desperately neurotic existence. All in all I seem to be quite fine.

My mother never got over it. The event, itself, and, later, having to deal with me was all a bit too much. I bear survivor's guilt and have never found philosophy to be the consolation it was to Marcus Aurelius.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Leigh Fraser on April 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a book strong on character and place. As such it preserves and describes a most peculiar region of the American South, a nonfictional place most notably written about by J.Cobb in "The Most Southern Place" on Earth. That is the setting of Junior Ray.

Though "Junior Ray" is about the change from hand labor to mechanized agriculture and from the ways of the 19th century to the technology of the twentieth, all combined with an elemental savagery, there is a large dose of high buffoonery woven throughout the book. Readers will find "Junior Ray" one of the most fascinating and funniest books they've ever read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Foster J. Dickson on April 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Pritchard has succeeded in creating a character on the par with Holden Caulfield or Ignatius Reilly: you don't like them at all really, but you can't stop reading to see what they'll do next. At a time when the modern South constantly tries to show that it has left behind its old ways, Junior Ray Loveblood doesn't give a crap whether you approve of his way of looking at things. This book is funny, aggravating, intriguing social commentary from a man whose time has gone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dixie Lily on April 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
It would be easy to characterize Junior Ray Loveblood as some sort of redneck avatar. He IS, after all, a self-proclaimed racist; he's unreflective, vulgar, and casually violent. His personal philosophy is based on angry class consciousness; he knows his place in the caste system of the South: redneck/white trash. Junior Ray is an enthusiastically diversified bigot who hates lots of things: bankers, planters, women, blacks, foreigners, preachers, politicians, etc. And he's not shy about saying so. "...what I was really up against was all them versus me."

But that's not all there is to Junior Ray. In spite of the crudity, in spite of the trash talking persona, Junior Ray is a nuanced character (though I'm sure he'd whup my ass for saying so). He's a strange hybrid--what you might get if you crossed a wounded Cape Buffalo with Pap Finn and Samuel Pepys.

Junior Ray is Juvenalian satire, Southern Fried. This book is scathingly and sctologically funny ("I guess if I could say one thing about screwin' sheep, it really made me appreciate family values."). Above all, Junior Ray is honest. And he's not even a very good racist--having a sneaking fondness for "niggas" who he says have a kind of humanity that bankers and planters don't have, and with whom he seems to be more comfortable.

The South he grew up in has been totally changed by civil rights, women's rights, political correctness, and urbanization--the loss of farms and woods and more importantly, human scale. None of this suits Junior Ray. He's not exactly a good ol' boy--he's the antithesis of goodness, and he's honest about that too--but he's a true rendering of a type. A lineal descendant of the Snopes. You might not like Junior Ray, but you will remember his voice, and you will probably laugh at his story. John Pritchard has created a character who "casts a shadow" to use Faulkner's terminology.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Daniel N. Copp on May 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I grew up in the South, and although Junior Ray is somewhat older, I understood his millieu. I had friends who were as bloodthirsty, and relatives who were as racist, but I knew no one who was as philosophically sophisticated as Pritchard's protagonist. JR is a latter day Falstaff, Caliban, Aaron the Moor, and Don Quixote combined into one marvellous character. Don't be misled by the setting: Pritchard's planters, bankers, "niggas," and "white trash" are all around us still, and if we look deeply enough, JR is us. Let's hope that Pritchard will delight us again in the near future. In the meantime, Junior Ray will remain a cult classic -- unless of course, the NYTimes has the courage to review it.

PS: Junior Ray includes by far the most amusing human copulation scene ever to appear in literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. SORRELLS on January 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
THIS BOOK IS A TRUTHFUL BOOK WITH ALL THE NAMES CHANGED . MOST OF THESE PEOPLE I KNOW OR KNEW . IT GIVES A VIEW OF THE PLACE I GREW UP. BUT I NEVER RELIZED HOW BAD THE PLACE REALLY WAS . UNTIL THIS DAY I DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SUBMORINE .I HEARD MY PARENTS TALK ABOUT IT . THE AUTHOR COULD HAVE USED A FEW LESS NASTY WORDS . BUT IF HE WAS WRITING LIKE POEPLE TALK IN THAT TOWN THEN HE HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD. A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T LIKE THE BOOK BECAUSE IT IS GRAPHIC BUT THAT IS JUST THE WAY IT WAS AND STILL IS ONLY IT IS IN REVERSE NOW.
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By Mary Ann Spain on January 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Honestly, I didn't read but a few chapters. I'm no prude but I got sick of the profane language. Found myself counting the f-words on each page.
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