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The Prince of Frogtown (2008)

por Rick Bragg

Séries: Rick Bragg (3)

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4141346,614 (4.03)30
In this final volume of the beloved American saga that began with All over over but the shoutin' and continued with Ava's man, Rick Bragg closes his circle of family stories with an unforgettable tale about fathers and sons inspired by his own relationship with his ten-year-old stepson. He learns, right from the start, that a man who chases a woman with a child is like a dog who chases a car and wins. He discovers that he is unsuited to fatherhood, unsuited to fathering this boy in particular, a boy who does not know how to throw a punch and doesn't need to; a boy accustomed to love and affection rather than violence and neglect; in short, a boy wholly unlike the child Rick once was, and who longs for a relationship with Rick that Rick hasn't the first inkling of how to embark on. With the weight of this new boy tugging at his clothes, Rick sets out to understand his father, his son, and himself. The prince of Frogtown documents a mesmerizing journey back in time to the lush Alabama landscape of Rick's youth, to Jacksonville's one-hundred-year-old mill, the town's blight and salvation; and to a troubled, charismatic hustler coming of age in its shadow, Rick's father, a man bound to bring harm even to those he truly loves.… (mais)
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    Ava's Man por Rick Bragg (koalamom)
  2. 00
    All Over but the Shoutin' por Rick Bragg (koalamom)
    koalamom: The three titles complete a good down home story of the author's life by reading about those he loves the most.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 13 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
This third installment in Rick Bragg’s family saga wobbles a bit at first, but quickly gets its legs under it as Bragg searches for a new understanding of the father he remembered only as a disruptive force who came and went with the violence of a hurricane.

What he found, through the eyes and voices and memories of relatives and childhood friends was a child born to a family of hard-working, hard-drinking, hard-fisted men, a child who grew into a boy of stubbornness and pride and a refusal to give an inch, and a boy who became a man touched early and often by the liquor and violence that had nurtured him.

Bragg intersperses these interviews with brief vignettes about becoming a father unexpectedly in his forties, when he married a woman with three boys, the youngest only five when Bragg began courting their mother. Somehow, the contrast between this child, growing up without his father present, and Bragg himself making the same journey but in very different shoes, drove him to want to learn more about the angry ghost who had for so long haunted his life.

What he finds does not lead to a Hallmark Movie Moment of forgiveness and redemption, but it does allow him to discover a man whose memory he can live with and whose struggles he acknowledges. Along the way, Bragg produces his powerful and lyric prose, dragged up from his soul and hammered into a thing of beauty on the page.

Bragg understands innately that time and place create the man. His descriptions of the brutal, man-eating cotton mills of the mid-20th century South equal anything Upton Sinclair ever wrote about the killing floors of Chicago’s meat-packing houses, threaded through with a dark and terrible poetry thrown in at no extra charge. He writes of times and places that no longer exist, acknowledging both their beauty and their cruelty, with the understanding that both of those forces created the man who fathered, loved, disappointed, and abandoned him.

Taken together, All Over But the Shoutin, Ava’s Man, and The Prince of Frogtown are monumental as portraits of a vanished way of life, and a heartbreakingly real story of an American family. ( )
  LyndaInOregon | Mar 21, 2020 |
What a great author! After reading his previous books quite awhile ago I reacquainted myself with his wonderful prose. His descriptive stories puts you right in the thick of things. This was a book about his alcoholic father and having to revisit the memory due to becoming a stepfather to a 10 year old. Makes you laugh out loud and shed a tear or two. Great book! ( )
  camplakejewel | Sep 21, 2017 |
After reading Rick Bragg's book, All Over But the Shouting, I longed to hear his voice. I wanted to experience all his wonderful "southernisms" in their home dialect. I'm just at the beginning of The Prince of Frogtown, but so far I'm not disappointed. It sounds like a cross between a poetry reading and a noirmal audio book. Hearing it, I know Rick Bragg relishes his home tongue as much as I do. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
The Prince of Frogtown. Rick Bragg. 2008. Oh my Gosh, I loved this book! Bragg is a great writer anyway but the development of the relationship between him and his stepson was one of the moving stories I’ve ever read. Of course I have a special place in my heart for stories of “steps.” As Bragg struggled to become a stepfather, he was haunted by nightmare memories of his own father, and he finally realized that what Willie Morris told him was true: “My boy, there is no place you can go he will not be.” So in order to understand his new son, he delved into the hard life of his own father and his family. In alternating chapters, Bragg relates his father’s sad saga and the “one step forward, two steps backward” story of becoming a father ( )
  judithrs | Aug 30, 2013 |
In The Prince of Frogtown, Rick Bragg sets out to discover the father that he never really knew. I have read these books all out of order, but apparently in All Over But the Shoutin', Bragg painted his father, Charlie, as a no-account mean drunk. After its publication, people who knew his father came to him and said, "I wish you'd talked to me before you wrote all that." So he talked to them and this is the result. His father is still a no-account mean drunk, but Rick and the reader come away with a better understanding of the man.

Having now read one of Bragg's books and listened to another, I am torn about the best medium. I'm left thinking that the best thing for everyone would be if his publishers just gave us one of those readalong books I remember from when I was little. "You'll know it's time to turn the page when you hear the chime ring like this: Dlililing!" Man, I loved those things. I could listen to Rick Bragg all day. His slow speech, his accent, his word choice--it's all the language of my family and the stories we tell. We might not be up on a stage telling stories, but we sure can take the smallest event from our days and spin it out into a good long tale. But as I was listening, I found myself just absolutely dying to mark quotes in a physical copy. Whether Bragg was cracking a joke about understanding a woman's thinking (A passage that included mapping the stars on a bubble gum wrapper with chalk and only got better from there), telling a hilarious story about his father scaring his grandmother half to death when he was little, or making a keen observation about fathers and sons or even mothers and sons, there were real jewels in here. And I couldn't mark them or flag them. Readalong books. Are you paying attention, publishers? That's the way to go.

Anyway, I loved this just as much as I loved Ava's Man. It's a darker book because his father had a lot of darkness inside him. But I enjoyed the stories of Charlie as a child and teenager, before he went to war and came back haunted. His life even then was not an easy one and I think we all are left wondering whether he would have turned out pretty much the same way even if he hadn't ever gone to Korea. He had good moments sometimes too, and even though I knew how things had to turn out, I was left hoping that this time he would change his life. He never did and I was left thankful for my own steadfast father.

The book goes back and forth between stories of Charlie and stories about Rick and his stepson. I really liked that setup. It felt like Rick gained a better understanding of his father as he realized how hard fatherhood is if you're trying to do it right. His long-suffering wife deserves an award, I swear. He makes mistakes along the way, but it sounds like he gets it right in the end. The love he feels for his stepson just comes through so clearly as he reads about him, even when he's talking about what a mama's boy the kid is.

I have discovered that I love Rick Bragg's writing, so I'll be searching out all his books. I highly recommend him. ( )
  JG_IntrovertedReader | Apr 3, 2013 |
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In this final volume of the beloved American saga that began with All over over but the shoutin' and continued with Ava's man, Rick Bragg closes his circle of family stories with an unforgettable tale about fathers and sons inspired by his own relationship with his ten-year-old stepson. He learns, right from the start, that a man who chases a woman with a child is like a dog who chases a car and wins. He discovers that he is unsuited to fatherhood, unsuited to fathering this boy in particular, a boy who does not know how to throw a punch and doesn't need to; a boy accustomed to love and affection rather than violence and neglect; in short, a boy wholly unlike the child Rick once was, and who longs for a relationship with Rick that Rick hasn't the first inkling of how to embark on. With the weight of this new boy tugging at his clothes, Rick sets out to understand his father, his son, and himself. The prince of Frogtown documents a mesmerizing journey back in time to the lush Alabama landscape of Rick's youth, to Jacksonville's one-hundred-year-old mill, the town's blight and salvation; and to a troubled, charismatic hustler coming of age in its shadow, Rick's father, a man bound to bring harm even to those he truly loves.

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