I am on a memoir kick. I just go to the library and scan the shelf until something pops out at me. This time it was “All Over But the Shoutin'” by Rick Bragg.
The name Bragg is familiar to journalists, especially feature writers. His works covers the pages of journalism compilations. And, yes, he was also accused of plagiarism in 2003. But he is a brilliant writer.
He chronicles the story of his poverty ridden life sans his father in Alabama. He just has this way of describing situations without using cliches. And it’s just the right balance. If it hadn’t been a library book, I would have highlighted dozens of sentences.
Like the one that said the snowflakes were murdered by the warmth on the sidewalk. That’s just brilliant. We all think of snowflakes melting, but not getting murdered by warmth.
I tore through the book, wanting to know how a boy raised by a mother with barely any money to eat, ended up as a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for the New York Times.
The story is a little sad, but Bragg has a humor that helps you get through it. The book is an inside look at the life of an accomplished and notable writer. It’s shocking to see how far he went without a college degree. And, in the end, the story is really inspirational.