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Crazy in Alabama Paperback – August 9, 1994
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From Publishers Weekly
Family tumult and nationwide social unrest converge to shake the world of 12-year-old orphan Peejoe Bullis in the summer of 1965, "when everybody went crazy in Alabama." This wise, funny novel by the author of Tender opens as Peejoe's relatively tranquil life with his grandmother is jolted by the arrival of his Aunt Lucille, who is on her way to Hollywood to become a star after poisoning her husband (in the first of the book's many violent images, she pulls the dead man's severed head out of a tupperware container). Peejoe and his older brother Wiley move on to their Uncle Dove's home in Industry, Ala., where racial conflict brings frightening bloodshed as well as oratory from George Wallace and Martin Luther King Jr. Meanwhile, on the road and in California, the newly emancipated Lucille brings every ounce of her desirability and determination to bear on her quest for stardom. Childress tells his story through the masterfully crafted voice of the adult Peejoe reminiscing from his home in present-day San Francisco. He depicts each character with convincing detail and all the vividness of childhood memory; there is magic in his mixture of humor and pathos, boyish candor and time-earned understanding. The narrative has a unique gentleness that tempers even the most extreme horrific or comic events without dismissing or oversimplifying them. Terrible crimes go unpunished, and good people face tragedy--not always nobly--but this remains a tale of laughter and great hope, one not easily forgotten. Literary Guild featured alternate.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
The year is 1965. The place is a small town in the deep South. Having murdered her redneck husband, Lucille drops her six kids off at her mother's and heads for Hollywood to audition for a part in The Beverly Hillbillies . Now that his grandmother has others to care for, 11-year-old Peejoe goes off to live with an uncle a few towns away. The story is told in parallel narratives (first person as Peejoe relates his own life, third person as the boy learns about Lucille, his enthralling aunt), a structure that does not usually lend itself to audio. Here, however, it works perfectly. This wonderfully tragicomic tale records various attempts at freedom: Lucille kills her husband in "self-defense" because he's been killing her for 13 years, while Peejoe becomes embroiled in the civil rights struggle and its various murders. With gentle, self-mocking humor, this coming-of-age novel describes memorable people, in a vivid time and place. Highly recommended despite a contrived ending.
- Rochelle Ratner, formerly Poetry Editor, "Soho Weekly News," New York
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
However, can I say how wrong my gut was about this book?! This was one of the best books I've read in months, and I read a lot. (aka- no life for me....) Childress has that rare ability to bring characters to life. He expertly knows every facet of a wide array of characters. Yet, I felt each was very diverse in their own way.
Meanwhile he knows how to really move a story along. The story is told from multiple perspectives, and ranges from shocking, to sad, to funny, and it was a major page turner. I think it's hard to do what Childress has done here. He tells a powerful and unforgettable story- dealing with some major issues in a light hearted way, exposing you to the compromises that people make sometimes in order to save themselves and their families, or just to take in someone as family. Told in a true Southern voice this book with leave you wanting more.
I am looking forward to reading more Childress. Just love love loved this book!