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God's Little Acre: A Novel (Brown Thrasher Books Ser.) Paperback – February 1, 1995

3.7 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The X-rated scenes in this comic portrayal of rural Georgia life probably seem less shocking than they did in 1933 when the book was first published. They may also seem less amusing. While a dirt farmer named Ty Ty Walden spends 15 years digging holes in his fields looking for gold, his hot-headed sons do less digging and more squabbling over women. Add a lascivious brother-in-law who has been laid off from his job in a mill, another brother from the city who shows up to steal his brother's wife, and a promiscuous sister named Darlin' Jill, and the final blowup is hardly surprising. But there are other less predictable surprises as the story veers toward melodrama. With murder and rape following a killing at the mill, it is as if Caldwell flipped a switch from "farce" to "tragedy." This puts the narrator on the spot, even one as skilled as Buck Schirner. Inevitably, Schirner's hilarious hillbilly accent, which sounds so right at the beginning of the book, becomes a near travesty as the final tragedies unfold. Only academic collections need consider.
Jo Carr, Sarasota, Fla.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


What William Faulkner implies, Erskine Caldwell records.

(Chicago Tribune)

Caldwell is one of the best . . . a master illusionist who can create, as Hemingway did, an impression of absolute reality.

(Time Magazine)

A beautifully integrated story of the barren southern farm and the shut southern mill, and one of the finest studies of the southern poor white which has ever come into our literature. Writing in the brutal images of the life of his poor white people, Mr. Caldwell has caught in poetic quality the debased and futile aspiration of men and women restless in a world of long hungers which must be satisfied quickly, if at all.

(Saturday Review of Literature)

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Product Details

  • Series: Brown Thrasher Books Ser.
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press; Reissue edition (February 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0820316636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820316635
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #272,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think the notion that anyone would attempt to rate this book as anything less than a cornerstone of American literature and a glimpse into what was once a good portion of our country is a little silly. 80 million copies and 40 languages as an indication of success will probably hold up under the weight of a critical Internet Amazon review. In many ways God's Little Acre is a bit like Knut Hamsun's "Growth of the Soil" in the context of simple people and a story is not exclusively American. It is a part of every developing society, regardless language, race, ethnicity, etc., etc...

Simple, uneducated people who comprised the characters in the book, did do not live a life with a perspective derived from college dorms, GameBoy or a value system indoctrination. They didn't know they were racist, they didn't know they were greedy and they didn't realize that being preoccupied with sex was a bad thing. I'm not so sure I did either. I kind of think that is the point, the author's presentation of something he knew and wanted to share with others, a life quite different from ours.

Don't scream and put your head in a paper bag when you read this book. Don't hyperventilate over racism, sex, poverty and a fool's search for gold. The book is good insight, the book captures the reality of a type of person that lived mostly at another place in time. It is a part of American history, it was a part of American life. I was born in the south, but not that long ago. The characters don't frighten me, they don't speak for me, but I know who they are. I honestly don't think going back to 1933 would be necessary to find these types of folks.

A great book, colorful and tantalizing story and it takes only a couple of hours to read. Don't let shrieking PC keep you from a learning experience.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Written in 1933, this story is set in rural Georgia in a time and location of great poverty. It was quite a sensation when it came out, because it was so full of blatant incestuous sex. First, you have Ty Ty who has raised 3 boys and 2 girls on his own. All 3 boys and one sister have married, while the youngest girl, Darling Jill, is a sex-pot sleeping with everyone who she can. Griselda, one of the sisters-in-law, has a gorgeous body and everybody wants to sleep with her. Ty Ty makes sure that he tells everyone he can talk to that her body is really hot and makes a man want to lick her. As you might imagine, disaster results.

So in one way the entire story (209 pages) is about guys lusting after girls, girls choosing to accept or reject a given lustful attempt, and the father either saying "I want everything to be peaceful" while goading every man he meets to sleep with Griselda.

There are other layers here too. The entire region is destitute. But while Ty Ty has a large spread of fertile land, he has dedicated the last 15 years of his life to digging gigantic holes in search of gold. He is starving to death - and his two negro share-croppers are also starving. Only 2 of the kids have escaped this hole-digging escapade. One is the married sister, Rosamond. She's married Will, a mill-worker. Unfortunately, the mill has shut down and the entire mill-town is starving. They are holding out for better wages and have lasted a year and a half on the barest of rations. The second is the oldest son, who made a ton of money brokering cotton and now refuses to talk to the rest of the family because of their foolish hole-digging.

So Will the mill-worker COULD work, but he and the town are holding out for principles.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Maybe this book was too contemporary for its 1930's audience. However, the theme and language are quite tame compared to some of the works of the 21st century writers. Although there are many people in Georgia who are extemely intelligent and have created the best literature to date (Margaret Mitchell & Alice Walker, for example). There are still people who are similar to the characters in God's Little Acre in Georgia and other colorful characters in the United States. This work compares to the writings of William Falkner, who is considered tied for the honor of the greatest writer of the 20th Century along beside Ernest Hemmingway. It also compares with Billy Bob Thortnon's brilliance of charater in his writings as well. The theme is spiritual as well as sensual. Don't take my word for it...Read it and compare it to Slingblade, The Sound and the Fury, and The Color Purple.
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Format: Paperback
I bought Tobacco Road and God's Little Acre because one of the gang, that I respected, said that this was one of his favorite books. And since I like expanding my horizons, especially on the literary front, I bought God's Little Acre. I was surprised. I expected to find Jed Clampett and his family instead I found a man who lived by his own sense of morality, social status, all told in a prose that at times switches from brutally honest to poetry of the highest order. Sure the frank sexuality is present. What isn't usually stated, when people are discussing God's Little Acre, is the basic principal of Ty Ty Walden behind it. With all foundations of social behavior, God's Little Acre, is an example that there are deadly consequences because not everyone that is subject to, or born and raised in that social theory will act accordingly to the theorist imaginings. The novel is about men living up to their own definition of manhood. It is about the clash of social mandates and personal morals. It is the telling of truths that dares to put a reason behind societal misdeeds. Caldwell wrote a splendid back.
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