Saturday, September 28, 2013

Reflections: The Prince of Frogtown

Adam C. Zern shares his thoughts on Rick Bragg's The Prince of Frogtown:

"About ten years ago I read All Over but the Shoutin', which I still consider one of the finest books I've read.  About four or five years ago I read Ava's Man, which is the follow-up to All Over but the Shoutin'.  Although I wasn't as affected by Ava's Man, it was still a wonderful piece of writing and well worth reading.  A few months back I came across The Prince of Frogtown.  It took me a minute or two to realize it was the third book in Bragg's unofficial autobiographical/biographical trilogy of his and his family's life.  It only took reading a page of The Prince of Frogtown to remember how impressively talented Rick Bragg is as a writer and how poignantly he can tell a story.

The Prince of Frogtown is, without any hesitation on my part, one of the best books I have ever read.  On the back of the hardback copy I have, a reviewer compares Rick Bragg to Harper Lee in terms of his abilities as a writer.  That praise is deserved and well-founded.  His portrayals of his life in the deep South of Alabama and the tragedy, heartbreak, and even the good times have not been matched anywhere that I know of.  There are plenty of autobiographies about drunk fathers and the bruised children they leave behind, but Rick Bragg is able to say it all better than anyone else.  What would be throw away sentences if I or most authors were writing become poetic and pithy and absolutely essential in Bragg's establishment of tenor, place, and time.  He is just that good.  No, he's great.

I have nothing negative to say about The Prince of Frogtown.  It's a masterpiece, in my opinion.  When I turned the last page I was so affected by what I had read I just sat in my car, pondering, remembering.  At times I laughed out loud reading The Prince of Frogtown.  Other times I wanted to cry.  But at all times I wanted to keep reading. 

To truly appreciate what Bragg has done, a reader should read all three books--All Over but the Shoutin', Ava's Man, and The Prince of Frogtown.  There simply aren't many books out in the wild that can compare to what Bragg has written in those three books, especially when compared to our contemporary selection of books.  Read these books.  I can't give any stronger endorsement than that."

Other Topics of Interest:
Her Name is Scout
Dandelion Wine
Swamplandia!

1 comment:

  1. This man writes magic. Thanks for recommending The Prince of Frogtown.

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