i have finished the last of rick bragg's memoirs: the stories of his family set in rural alabama. throughout his trilogy, he takes you on the journey of his life. he first writes about his mother (all over but the shoutin'). the woman who sacrificed everything for him and his two brothers. a woman who was so gentle and pleasing, yet didn't have what it took to walk away from an abusive husband and, so, took every blow to shield her sons. in his second book (ava's man), he takes you back to his grandfather - a man he never knew yet idolized - and gives the story of the man who would be the rock of his family, even after his death. of him, he writes:
"he died in the spring of 1958, one year before i was born.i have never forgiven him for that."
hands down, that is one of my favorite quotes. thanks to this book, i feel like i can finally understand so many of the mysteries of my own grandfather.
in his third book, the prince of frogtown, he finally goes back and explores his father's history. where he came from and what made him the man that he would become. it's a venture that is prompted by his own wedding by which he gains a stepson. after decades of writing his father off as a lousy, abusive drunk, he learns the stories of a charming, popular, strong-willed boy whose future was bright. but however strong his will was, so were his vices - those he could never overcome.
it is a great feat of storytelling - one completely endearing if you have read the previous two. i love bragg. i wish he would sit in my den and just tell me stories.