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Walking Across Egypt (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Paperback – June 23, 1997


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Product Details

  • Series: Ballantine Reader's Circle
  • Paperback: 215 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (June 23, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345419073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345419071
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA A quietly humorous story set in a small town in North Carolina. Seventy-eight year old Mattie Riggsbee, spunky and determined, has one regret: she has no grandchildren, as her son and daughter inconveniently remain unmarried. The story gathers momentum after a slightly sluggish start, when Wesley Benfield, wayward teenager and orphan, comes into Mattie's life. Their need for each other is apparent, and their attempts to get together, despite the disapproval of Mattie's family and neighbors, are the focus of the story. Wesley is captivated by Mattie's good cooking and grandmotherly attention, and when he escapes from a house of detention, he heads straight to Mattie. There is a hilarious scene in church, where the fleeing Wesley and the pursuing deputy sheriff, both disguised as choir members, sit beside each other in full view of the congregation. Edgerton infuses all of his characters with reality, and provides a balanced perspective on age and youth. His understanding of teenagers is nowhere more evident than in the contrast between the reality of Wesley's situation and the humor of his exaggerated fantasies. Rita G. Keeler, St. John's School, Houston
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This second novel by the author of Raney is warm and comforting, like a visit to Grandma's. Mattie Rigsbee, at 78, is slowing down. She plans her funeral so as not to be a burden; she supports the local Baptist church and entertains herself with hymns at the parlor piano; she tries not to meddle in her children's lives, though she does wish they'd marry; she longs for grandchildren. Then comes Wesley. Reared in an orphanage until he graduated to the reformatory, Wesley touches her heart, revives a life gone to seed. Just as he needs a grandmother's love and stability, so Mattie needs his challenge, dependence, and love. How she reconciles that need before family, neighbors, and church congregation is a beautiful story of determination, made more poignant by a Southern small-town setting. BOMC alternate. Thomas L. Kilpatrick, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

It was funny and well written.
Jamie Bloodworth
This book was good, I've rradi it twice, I recoomend it to anyone who enjoys easy reading and southren authors.
Jen
This is one of the few books that have made me laugh out loud.
Susan H. Peele

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Clyde Phillips on June 30, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
All to often, "Southern" novels seem to dwell upon the darker side of humanity and to be fascinated with the macabre. Faulkner and O'Connor immediately come to mind. Walking Across Egypt is the antithesis of this reputation. The novel is sweet, full of wholesome characters, set in a Mayberry RFD-like community where even criminals have their good side, and is full of descriptions of good home cooked Southern meals.
Mattie Rigsbee is in her seventies "and slowing down." She is the mother of two unappreciative (and unmarried) children, goes to church regularly, and loves to cook for anybody who happens to drop by. She also has a propensity for helping the unfortunate and gets another chance to help when she becomes involved in the life of a juvenile delinquent. The story of that encounter is told with humor and with a genuine affection for the characters involved. If the story is somewhat schmaltzy and the ending is predictable right from the start, this only lends to the charm of the novel.
The book is very simply written and can be read by readers of all ages. Edgerton doesn't have one bone of pretentiouness in him and his story is related in a straightforward manner chiefly through dialogue and the thoughts of his characters. The dialogue is excellent -- it is as if the author turned on a tape recorder in his grandmother's house during Sunday dinner and later transcribed the conversation.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By David J. Gannon on March 22, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read several of Clyde Edgerton's novels. While the man is gifted with the ability to develop wonderful characters, my experience is that his characters often far outshine his stories--you are often left with the sense that the character deserved a much better story than the one they ended up in.
This is not the case with Walking Across Egypt, a book where the story is the equal to the characters--which is good because the characters are among Edgerton's best.
Mattie Rigsbee is an independent, strong-minded senior citizen of 78 years who might just be slowing a bit--after all, it does take her two days to mow her acre of lawn these days.
In short order Miss Mattie has picked up two strays--a moth eaten mutt of a dog and Wesley Benfield, a young delinquent on the lam. Miss Hattie, lonely as she can be, sees it as her Christian duty to see to these two strays--with hilarious consequences.
The book has a fine sense of comedic flair and is wonderfully paced. The dominant story is both quaint and heartwarming without getting schmaltzy or overly sentimental. And, for once, there is a genuinely serious side to this book as it examines how Mattie's friends-all good, Christian church going ladies, react to her acts of Christian charity.
Edgerton has a good feel for the nuances of small town life and the characters who live there.
This is a little gem of a book. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By L. King on August 10, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The voice of the Southern writer, Clyde Edgerton, will dance a jig across your heart in "Walking Across Egypt." Edgerton's characters are more than realistic. They're alive and kicking and most definitely of the Southern persuasion.

The widowed Mattie Rigsbee's belief that she must follow the Lord and "love the least of these my brethren," nearly gets her in a heap of trouble when she meets young Wesley Benfield, a pie-lovin', biscuit-eatin' juvenile delinquent who's not yet seen the error of his ways but relishes her cooking and likes taking a bath in her tub anyway. Mattie decides to help reform the boy, but only after she's finished watching her daily dose of "All My Children," gone casket shopping with her sister Pearl before it's too late for either one of them, and worriedly wondered whether her own two children will ever settle down and have families of their own.

The book made this Southern transplant long for good ol' Southern meals and the pitch and timbre of the Southern accent. Even if you're not a Southerner, these are voices you'll want to hear
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Vincent on May 9, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First I read Raney. Then I read everything Clyde Edgerton has written. And I don't know why this book is classified as YA; I'm a good 5 decades removed from YA status, and I loved this book.
Walking Across Egypt, the title of church-going Mattie's favorite hymn, is southern folks, southern setting, southern cooking, and southern humor at their best. Once she's finished watching her soap operas, Mattie Riggsbee, a 78yo widow, decides to take in Wesley, a small-time juvenile delinquent, and determines to see if her pies and biscuits can make an honest young man of him. They need each other in wildly different ways, as rapidly becomes apparent. The plot gathers speed when Wesley high-tails it to Mattie's house when he escapes from a detention center - and the sheriff comes a-calling.
Highest recommendation - for adults, and yes, for YAs, too.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 16, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When I finished this book, I must have bored everyone I spoke to in the next few days with the story of Mattie getting stuck in that rocking chair! It was as if it had happened to one of my own neighbors. A funny, sweet, and spiritually uplifting book, and it takes a lot to lift my cranky spirits! Read this book if you are feeling down, way better than Prozac!
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