Friday, May 23, 2008

Prince of Frogtown

Bryan e-mailed yesterday with exciting news: Rick Bragg has a new book out and B. had one in his hot little hands. Oh joy.

Later in the afternoon, B called to read me a few passages. Discovering new books is one of the great joys of our long friendship. We used to sit in coffee shops and book stores, reading aloud from time to time. Now we have to do that by phone, but it works. When I moved to Missouri, we sorted out our libraries and returned carloads of books to one another.

Oh, but I'm writing about Bragg's new book. Where was I? the part where I say Rick Bragg is one of my favorite writers and his first memoir, All Over But the Shoutin' is one of my all-time favorite books. His sentences are so lush you want to set up a tent and camp in them for the weekend. To thoroughly mix my metaphors, his words paint pictures you could hang in a museum.

Bragg's approach to memoir is the antithesis of narcissistic. He doesn't focus exclusively on his own life. In fact, he's kind of a supporting player in most stories, not present at all in many. His books are portraits of others—his mother, his grandfather and now his father—and he's a necessary part of the picture. In Prince of Frogtown,his stepson joins the rogue's gallery.

I haven't read the whole book yet, only the introduction. With a holiday weekend ahead of us, it feels like I've got a safari planned, one where I'll ride out into another life to see exotic creatures in their own habitat.

Will send word back.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

Love the mixed metaphor.

Amber said...

Thank you. Always want to know about good mems.