44 pages • 1 hour readRick Bragg
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Chapter Summaries & Analyses
The author Rick Bragg explains why he came to write his and his family’s story. He states, “This is not an important book. It is only the story of a strong woman, a tortured man and three sons who lived hemmed in by thin cotton and ragged history in northeastern Alabama” (xi-xii). He talks about the sacrifices his mother made for him and his brothers and how he was able to “climb up her backbone and escape the poverty and hopelessness that ringed them, free and clean” (xii).
He also introduces the reader to his father, Charles, and the intense drama of his childhood and adolescence, wherein his daddy “whirled through our house in a drunken rage, and as always our momma just absorbed it, placing herself like a wall between her husband and her sons” (xvii).
In the first chapter, Bragg gives us the essential background information on his family. His parents were born in “the most beautiful place on earth, the foothills of the Appalachians along the Alabama-Georgia line...close to nothin’ but the dull red ground. Life here between the meandering dirt roads and skinny blacktop was full, rich, original and real, but harsh, hard, mean as a damn snake” (3-4).
By Rick Bragg