44 pages • 1 hour readRick Bragg
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Chapter Summaries & Analyses
Bragg finds his true home with The New York Times: “...to say I searched for stories would be a lie. New York hurled stories at you like Nolan Ryan throws fastballs. All you have to do is catch them, and try not to get your head knocked off” (235). Bragg has particular success writing about the owners of small stores, called bodegas, who are killed during robberies. “People told me it was a ‘real New York story,’ and I was proud of it’ (240).
Bragg gets a special assignment when a natural disaster hits his home-town. A tornado destroyed a church in Piedmont, Alabama, and Bragg was the best person to cover the story. In the aftermath of the tornado, “The funerals lasted all week in the surrounding towns, and the obituaries filled an entire page in the local newspaper. No one died. People merely said God took them” (243).
This chapter tells the story of a unique criminal: Gangaram Mahes is a mostly homeless man who dines in restaurants even though he cannot pay the bill and goes to jail for the crime of “stealing” food. He is one of Bragg’s favorite characters among the many he has written about.
By Rick Bragg