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Tobacco Road Kindle Edition
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|Length: 265 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
The tragic elements, initially almost undiscernable, strike sharply and rapidly in quick lunges before vanishing again beneath the book's brilliant comic surface.
The novel has an archetypal framework: Patriarch Jeeter, dispossessed of his ancestral land, upon which nothing will now grow but "broom sedge and scrub oak," perpetually dreams of bringing his dead and depleted soil to life.
While musing on his farm's infertility, and when not lusting after the women around him, Jeeter, a father of twelve, is preoccupied with ending his own ability to reproduce via self-castration. Like the Hanged Man of the Tarot, habitually procrastinating Jeeter is continually hamstrung and locked in the stupefying eternal moment.
Caldwell is particularly cruel in drawing his female characters: simple-minded and otherwise beautiful daughter Ellie May has a disfiguring harelip; man-crazy, self-appointed preacher Bessie has a good figure and a set of nostrils but no nose, the unnamed, unspeaking grandmother is starved by the other family members, who will no longer acknowledge her; struggling wife Ada, who has not always been faithful, dreams only of having a dress of correct length and current style to be buried in; and twelve year-old child bride Pearl has lost the will to speak and sleeps on the floor to avoid her adult husband's sexual advances.
In contrast, Jeeter and handsome teenage son Dude are merely imbecilic, gullible, and grossly self-serving.Read more ›
It's hard to decide whether or not I liked this book because it's hard to decide what exactly this book is. It's a wisp of a thing really, about 150 pages of nothing happening. Yet it's not boring. There are parts of it that I found funny, but they are so grotesque that I'm not sure they're supposed to be funny. I wanted to sympathize with these poor, pathetic people living like animals, yet I didn't, because they so frustratingly refuse to do anything to help themselves.
Erskine Caldwell's story involves a couple of days in the life of a dismally poor one-time sharecropper and those members of his family who haven't yet left home, scraping a living out of the dust in Depression-era Georgia. Like I said, not a lot happens in the way of plot until the hurried ending, which feels tacked on by Caldwell at the last minute as if to justify to his readers why they spent their time reading his book.
If you thought the Joads of "The Grapes of Wrath" had it bad, wait until you get a load of the Lesters. This family has none of the dignity displayed by Steinbeck's characters, and it's this difference that ultimately makes the Lesters not worth caring about. Jeeter, the family's patriarch, stubborly refuses to leave his land, even though other poor families are finding opportunities and means for providing for their own families in the nearby mill towns. Jeeter justifies his refusal to leave by taking on a martyred air and feigning a noble attachment to the land, but in reality he's victim to an intensely lazy malaise that will prevent him from ever doing anything to help himself.Read more ›
He and his wife live in a ramshackle house with two children,18 year old Ellie May who has a congenital deformity and a 16 year old imbecile, Dude, along with Jeeter's mother, who is completely ignored by the family. They had 17 children, 5 died and the rest flew the coop as soon as they could from this mad house except Ellie May and Dude. They have an equally comic neighbor, Bessie, a widow in her late 30's, who ends up marrying Dude. She lures Dude by promising him a brand new car with the money she received from her husband's insurance. She is a promiscuous nit wit and pretends to be a preacher! This "preaching", she contends is inherited from her husband. Using this logic she wants to marry Dude and make him a preacher.
Jeu d'es-prit of the book is when Jeeter, Bessie and Dude take the brand new automobile to Augusta to sell wood and end up spending the night in a sleazy motel, where Bessie is taken to different rooms by various men. Jeeter and Dude sleep in one bed, wondering why the motel owner keeps changing Bessie's room and why don't they leave her alone so she can get some rest. However, Bessie never complaints.
The book reminded me of Steinbeck's unforgettable paisanos of Tortilla Flat. It is a MUST read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was interesting to discover the race of the family and to know how pooor they were.
Amazed that they could live so long on very little food. Read more
I don't know what to make of this book.
I couldn't put it down: from the first paragraph, I was hooked. Read more
This simply written novel frank and brutal depiction of the toll of the grinding poverty ,lack of education and near starvation on the 1930's Georgia sharecroppers is... Read morePublished 1 month ago by charles blackman
There's a lot of controversy about this book. Is it a pulp novel, black comedy, tragedy, trage-comedy, does it "bash The South"? Read morePublished 3 months ago by John A. Brissette
This is a classic. It's not politically correct, but it is accurate in its description of a poor uneducated family in the deep south in the early 1930s. There were such families. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Karen
I read the book on Kindle. It depicts the extremely poor rural South in the 1930s. Obviously, this will not be a pleasant story. In fact, it is brutal. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jeanne
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