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Summary and book reviews of All Over But The Shoutin' by Rick Bragg

All Over But The Shoutin'

by Rick Bragg

All Over But The Shoutin'
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  • First Published:
    Sep 1997, 329 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 1998, 255 pages

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Book Summary

The story of a violent, war-haunted, alcoholic father and a strong-willed, loving mother who struggled to protect her three sons from the effects of poverty and ignorance that had tainted her own life.

The extraordinary gifts for evocation and insight and the stunning talent for storytelling that earned Rick Bragg a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 1996 are here brought to bear on the wrenching story of his own family's life. It is the story of a violent, war-haunted, alcoholic father and a strong-willed, loving mother who struggled to protect her three sons from the effects of poverty and ignorance that had tainted her own life. It is the story of the life Bragg was able to carve out for himself on the strength of his mother's encouragement and belief.

Chapter 1
A man who buys books because they're pretty

My mother and father were born in the most beautiful place on earth, in the foothills of the Appalachians along the Alabama-Georgia line. It was a place where gray mists hid the tops of low, deep-green mountains, where redbone and bluetick hounds flashed through the pines as they chased possums into the sacks of old men in frayed overalls, where old women in bonnets dipped Bruton snuff and hummed "Faded Love and Winter Roses" as they shelled purple hulls, canned peaches and made biscuits too good for this world. It was a place where playing the church piano loud was near as important as playing it right, where fearless young men steered long, black Buicks loaded with yellow whiskey down roads the color of dried blood, where the first frost meant hog killin' time and the mouthwatering smell of cracklin's would drift for acres from giant, bubbling pots. It was a place where the screams of panthers, like a woman's ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
The questions, discussion topics, and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your group's reading of Rick Bragg's All Over but the Shoutin', a haunting memoir about growing up dirt-poor in the deep South, and about struggling to leave the past behind while still deeply tied to it through bonds of love and responsibility.

Rick Bragg was born in the pinewoods of Alabama to a mean-tempered, hard-drinking father and a strong-willed, loving mother, who struggled to protect her sons from the effects of poverty and ignorance that had constricted her own life. After years of abusing his wife and children, Charles Bragg abandoned the family when Rick was six. Margaret Bragg moved her three sons into her parents' ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews
Chicago Tribune

Deeply affecting.

Constitution Atlanta Journal

[T]ells about the South with such power and bone-naked love. . .that he will make you cry.

Author Blurb Pat Conroy
Rick Bragg writes like a man on fire. And All Over But The Shoutin' is a work of art. While reading this book, I fell in love with Rick Bragg's mother, Margaret Bragg, a hundred times. I felt like I was reading one of the prophets in the Old Testament when reading parts of this book. I thought of Melville, I thought of Faulkner. Because I love the English language, I knew I was reading one of the best books I've ever read. By explaining his life to the world, Rick Bragg explained part of my life to me. You feel things in every line this man writes. His sentences bleed on you. I wept when the book ended. I never met Rick Bragg in my life, but I called him up and told him he'd written a masterpiece, and I sent flowers to his mother.

Reader Reviews
Kelli Robinson

Great Southern Memoir
Although Yankee-born, I have lived in Alabama for nearly half my life and I feel a kinship and loyalty to this State - with all of its beauty and flaws. So that is why I'm quite ashamed that it took me 17 years to read Rick Bragg's memoir of growing ...   Read More

Nellie Gray

My favorite author of all time
I know every person Rick writes about from my life being born in Appalachia and growing up as the "white trash" knowing that " everything might turn to ____ at any second." His words on paper lets me know that someone understands...   Read More

Liz Meyers

All over but the shoutin'
In reading this book, it took me back to when I was a child traveling in the backseat of our old car over to grandma's homemade house on White river in Arkansas. My daddy was from Hamilton, Alabama and his daddy was run out of there to Ark for ...   Read More

Paola

Work of Art
Rick Bragg does an admirable job in narrating his life. The book is very vivid. It made me laugh and almost cry. The characters and scenes were very life. It is my far one of my favorite books. I shake Mr. Bragg's hand for telling his life and the...   Read More

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