Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tobacco Road

Erskine Caldwell, 184 pp.

Well first, I'm going to apologize for not posting about this book sooner. Had nothing to do with that I was busy or that sort, but It was because I could not think of what I wanted to say about the book. Coming out in 1995, I bought the book in 2004 and let it sit in my bookcase until just a few weeks ago. Picked it up, read it (very quick and easy read) and then I put it back. Nothing had changed, nothing was impacted, nothing was affected.

Well that remained the case until I let it soak in a few days, then got the itch to reread it. This time I started to pick up on themes and imagery I previously fell blind to and I also felt a tie to the main character, Jeeter. I then decided to reread certain passages one last time and now I think this is one of the best stories told. Dealing with only a short period in an area struck hard by the Depression in Central Georgia, the family described goes through drastic changes that to my eyes and most likely every reader's eyes, seem very story-esqe and fiction, but with hints of reality. Yes, that's a mouthful and probably in virtually non understandable except to me, so I will explain myself.

The events in the story seem like actions that are not characteristic of humans. In one particular scene, the family, instead of helping a family member that was just hit by a car, leave them in the road to rot. To me, it made me sick to my stomach but it get the dog eat dog world that was around during the depression. That theme of survival at all cost is apparent in the whole story and makes you really think about it after the book slaps you in the face with it multiple times. While the description of the scene where the family member (NO HINTS SORRY) was hit by the car was disturbing, the imagery in the rest of the story was fantastic. The description of the landscape, tobacco road near their home, the hovel they lived in, and the whole world they lived in was sad and yet amazingly descriptive to the point you could almost remember being there at one point in your life.

I know for once i have a lot to say about this book, but to me it hit right at home. While none of my family were similar in anyway to the personalities of the characters in the story, my family did have to live in a poor shack during the depression as sharecroppers. Some of the scenery described in the book reminds me of looking over family picture albums sitting in my living room as a child. Other than that I can't really say if the book was great or not. I defiantly enjoyed the book, but many people would probably not. I recommend it, and FYI: I got it used for only 4 dollars, so definitely cheap.

***If you do end up reading this, another book that I would recommend to go with it is "All Over But the Shoutin'" by Rick Bragg. Both are in the same time era and describe the lives during that time.***

-Maj. MajorMajorMajor

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