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My Last Days As Roy Rogers Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books (January 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446523887
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446523882
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,285,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The setting for this nostalgic coming-of-age first novel is the last "polio summer" of 1954, just before the Salk vaccine ended the annual poliomyelitis epidemics. With the Bainbridge, Ala., swimming pools and movie theater closed, and fear and germs in the air, eight-year-old narrator Tabitha "Tab" Goodloe Rutland, her 13-year-old friend Maudie May, and Maudie's two young brothers?who can speak but don't or won't?build a hideout and christen it Fort Polio, the scariest name they can think of. Near a creek and hidden by kudzu (the official flower of Southern literature), the fort affords the perfect vantage point from which to watch the local bootlegger and his seemingly respectable customers. Here they plot to free the neighbor boy whose mother makes him stay inside the house all summer, and ponder the truths they read in Silver Screen. Meanwhile, Tab's mother, considered a northerner because she was born in Tennessee, seeks acceptance in the exclusive Ladies Help League. Devoto's story has its charming moments, but Tab's voice is often cloying, the ending is contrived and much of the narrative has a by-the-numbers quality. Roy Rogers makes a brief appearance at the beginning, then vanishes with his white hat and reassuring promise that justice triumphs, just as Tab begins to realize that it doesn't.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

YA-Life is easy and innocent for 10-year-old Tabitha Rutland, narrator of this novel about one "typical" 1950s summer in Bainbridge, AL. Tab and Maudie build a fort in the kudzu, and watch Mr. Jake sell his bootleg liquor to a range of customers including the mayor. But life in this Southern town is not as easy as it seems. Mama is rejected from the Ladies Help League because she expresses progressive opinions and is a Northerner (from Knoxville, TN). Tab's friend John spends the summer in his basement, being protected (so his mother hopes) from the local polio epidemic. Then there is the unspoken issue of racism. Tab and Maudie play together in their "Fort Polio," and window-shop together for Roy Rogers lunch boxes. But at the movies, Tab sits downstairs, and Maudie joins the other "Colored" folks in the balcony. Time seems to be passing Bainbridge by this summer, but then something happens that will change life in this bastion of traditional Southern culture forever. Like the narrators in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and Olive Burns's Cold Sassy Tree, Tab is both childlike and wise; the story is both humorous and poignant. Devoto provides a highly readable and entertaining novel packed full of rich and delightful dialogue, funny situations and vignettes, and all-to-human insights and drama.
Becky Ferrall, Stonewall Jackson High School, Manassas, VA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

The author was born and raised in Florence, Alabama, graduated from the University of Tennessee with a BS in Secondary Education. She lives now in Atlanta and Alabama. For more information go to: patcunninghamdevoto.com

Customer Reviews

This book made me laugh outloud at times.
LUV TO READ
I borrowed this book from the library and after reading it in one sitting oredered my own copy to enjoy over and over again.
l.c.davis
Southern Fiction is my favorite genre and this is one of the finest.
Sherri McHugh

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Beverley Strong on April 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a story of an innocent childhood , set in the 50's in a small Southern town in Alabama. It's almost a Girls Huck Finn in that the main character Tab Rutland and her friend,Maudie May "the lightest brown skinned person that I know", get up to all sorts of mischief and fun in what turns out to be their last summer together and the virtual end of their childhood.I'm sure that this will bring back happy memories to many readers and a sense of nostalgia for a more innocent time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ramona Honan on March 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book reminded me a lot of my childhood. Long summer days, Roy Rogers, the polio scare, hideouts, and long-lost childhood friends.
It is the story of Tab Rutland who lives in a small Alabama town in 1954. The 1954 polio scare is on, and all of the swimming pools are closed in the town. So with her new friend, Maudie (who is the daughter of the neighbor's African-American maid) they set about to build a fort in a kudzu vine thicket which they nickname Fort Polio. They then begin a summer spying on the local moonshine maker, taking a fishing trip to get money for school supplies for Maudie, Tab's friendship with her neighbor's son, John (who is brilliant in his own right), in addition to other adventures. Meanwhile, Tab's mother is blackballed by the venerable Ladies Help League and especially by the head of the League, Mrs. Grace Poovey.
But the summer ends--and what happens to Mrs. Poovey? And--what happens to Maudie and why does she have to leave town?
This is a wonderful coming-of-age novel set in the 1950s and those have grown up in this time period will enjoy this book immensely.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Having grown up in Knoxville, Tennessee and living in the south all of my life, I really enjoyed this book. It brought back memories! Although it is light reading, it has a great story line. I have recommended it to my 80+ year old mother and fellow book club members!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By jjw01@home.com on July 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
From debating the merits of Roy Rogers over Gene Autry to building fantastic forts, from being afraid of catching polio to being adventurous enough to tackle local mysteries...the only thing missing from My Last Days as Roy Rogers was trading comic books and eating all the banana pudding I wanted. Pat Devoto lived in a world parallel to mine (is it true we all have a twin?). Ruleville, Mississippi, in the 1950s had the same quirky characters, the same colorful dialgue, and all those old familiar places that have held a lifetime's worth of excitement.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joy Johnson on October 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those books I wish that didn't have to end. It a shame that this is Devoto's only novel because I would love to read other works by her. She is extremely talented. After reading this book, I have been searching bookshelves for something of the same quality but nothing compares. Although, I did not grow up in the fifties, I can still relate because Devito portrays her story as truly from the eyes of a child. And several instances made me recall my own childhood. Also, the historical detail was exceptionally interesting. The polio vaccine, segregation, and other parts of history were portryed in way that anyone with an ounce of humanity can relate to.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Luke E. Alexander (gbalaw@getaway.net) on June 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed the book. I grew up about 20 miles from the book's fictional town of Bainbridge, Alabama.(It's really Florence, Alabama, the author's hometown) The characters and story in the book share a little "To Kill a Mockingbird" and a little "Huckleberry Finn", even though the two main characters are young girls. Everyone who grew up in a small town in the south knows or knew someone like the adult characters in the book, and possibly even Tab and Maudie. It brings back memories of more innocent times when children could wander around the neighborhood at night and people left their doors unlocked.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. C. Crammer VINE VOICE on June 11, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even after a month has passed, I still find myself thinking of this book, and when I was reading it, I couldn't put it down. Devoto tells a story of childhood in the South (northern Alabama) in the early 1950s, where fear of polio and segregation were pervasive realities. 8-year-old Tab (Tabatha) is friends with a boy whose mother, fearful of polio, makes him stay in the basement while she's at work. Tab's other friend is Maudie May, a 13-year-old "colored" girl whose younger twin brothers (known only as the Brothers) tag along around, kept in check by their strong-as-iron older sister. It is a time when children really were free to spend their summers with little adult supervision during the day. As a result Tab and her friends have some amazing and funny adventures, including an unforgettable episode on the Tennessee River in a rickety rowboat they've borrowed. I laughed out loud at a number of points in this book, both from the funny situations and the funny commentary by Tab.
This book is a keeper.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William R. Oliver on August 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
One can agree with some of the criticisms levelled in other reviews, but still call this a very enjoyable look at a specific period in time - the mid-1950s before the Salk and Sabin vaccines removed the specter of polio from our daily lives. So it's not To Kill A Mockingbird: What is? It is very funny and well-written. My congratulations to Ms. Devoto for a fine first novel.
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