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I Am One of You Forever

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  958 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
Wonderfully funny and also deeply touching, I Am One of You Forever is the story of a young boy's coming of age. Set in the hills and hollows of western North Carolina in the years around World War II, it tells of ten-year-old Jess and his family -- father, mother, grandmother, foster brother, and an odd assortment of other relatives -- who usher Jess into the adult world, ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published July 1st 1987 by Louisiana State University Press (first published 1985)
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Aug 16, 2015 Melki rated it really liked it
To go fishing with your father: that is an ancient and elemental proposition, and it is not as overwhelming as sex or death or the secret lives of animals, still there are legendary shadows about it entrancing to a boy twelve years old.

This is a simple, lovely, elegiac novel of a young boy's life on a North Carolina farm during the forties. The story is woven as a series of events and anecdotes. Visiting relatives take on almost mythological proportions as tellers of tall tales, sprouters of my
Sawsan Amien
Nov 18, 2014 Sawsan Amien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
أنا معكم إلى الأبد" العنوان جواب لآخر سؤال في نهاية الرواية
مزيج بين الواقع والخيال والغرابة في الأحداث وبعض الشخصيات, وأيضا مزيج بين الفكاهة والحزن
جيس" صبي صغير يروي ذكرياته عن حياته في مزرعة بين الجبال في الجنوب الأمريكي في بداية الحرب العالمية الثانية
كل فصل بحكاية جديدة وشخصيات جديدة, يكونوا صورة عن حياة جيس وأسرته
العمل الشاق في المزرعة, الزوار والأقارب, المشاكسات والمعابثات التي يقوم بها الأب والأخ مع أفراد العائلة

رواية جميلة بدايةً من الغلاف, الشخصيات لها حضور قوي وخاصةً شخصية الأب
أسلوب جميل
Anson Mount
Aug 09, 2009 Anson Mount rated it it was amazing
The perfect rendering of a Southern childhood. I'm buying this book for people constantly
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Jess, his mom, dad, grandmother and farmhand/adoptive brother, Johnson, live a quiet life in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. They farm, visit with relatives, play some baseball, and get up to a whole lot of no good, as my grandmother would say. Jess's dad is a mischief-maker. He just can't help it. Johnson and Jess adore him and follow his lead in everything. Whether it's Halloween tricks or trying to find out exactly how long Uncle Gurton's beard really is, they are always up to som ...more
Julie Morrow
Jun 15, 2015 Julie Morrow rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, delightful
Fred Chappell tells a tale of a young boy living in a mountain town of North Carolina around the time of World War II. Jess is no older than a third grader, and as most young boys do, he admires his farmer dad and the family hand, Johnson Gibbs, a young man who was pseudo-adopted by the family via employment as a helper on the farm. Johnson and dad are mischievous, and Jess yearns to partake in the mischief, though oftentimes, he is a mere bystander or the object of the tricks. In this novel, yo ...more
Mariam Al-Naqr
Dec 09, 2009 Mariam Al-Naqr rated it really liked it
Read an Arabic translation by Nehad Seleha
نهاد صليحة

The book is not an ordinary adventure book. It is very funny but so touching too. The of integration of magical realism into the book is done very beautifully. There is a 4-page chapter called البرقية The Telegram ... it is one of the best things I've read EVER.
Sep 29, 2012 Ed rated it it was amazing
Fred Chappell is one of my favorite Appalachian writers--maybe one of the most enjoyable writers I've read in general. This book (published in 1985) is the first of what some call the "Kirkman Tetralogy"--four books narrated by Jess Kirkman. Jess would seem to be a thinly veiled autobiographical representation of Chappell. In this book, we visit his memories of preteen years growing up in North Carolina in the 1940s. We come to know the Kirkman/Sorrels family, particularly Jess's father Joe Robe ...more
Black Elephants
Sep 13, 2011 Black Elephants rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This was a lovely, slice of life book by Fred Chappell. I'm not sure if it is a collection of short stories made into a novel or was originally intended as a novel, but the final product is filled with loveliness. I think what surprised me was the balance between realism and surrealism. The book begins very realistically. The language paints the landscape with such care. Then, the surrealism pops in, like in the story "The Beard." Our characters want to find out how long an uncle's beard is and ...more
Mar 12, 2008 Claire rated it it was amazing
How do I explain a book like, "I Am One of You Forever"? It was deeply satisfying - the luminous prose, the tying up of loose ends...just tight enough...the mix of strange and commonplace. There are few books that cause me to make audible sounds when I read them (unless I'm reading aloud of course). This book made me laugh outloud as well as gasp at the pure genius of how Chappell strings words together. His writing is filled with unique similes and metaphors, creating clear pictures for my mind ...more
Jul 19, 2009 Lianne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nc-author, favorites
This has been in and out of my "to read" pile for close to 15 years. I am so glad it made it to the top of pile when I needed lots of laughs. Another title might be "Men (and the Boys Who Love Them) Behaving Badly in a Kinder, Gentler Time." Pick this one up when you need to be reminded of one universal truth--families, whether they have all the advantages or not, are only as strong as the love, patience, and acceptance they give each other.
Dec 29, 2010 Michele rated it it was amazing
My all-time favorite book. It is a masterpiece of Appalachian story-telling, seamlessly blending the fantastic with harsher realities. I have never wanted so much to read a book aloud, as it needs a mountain twang to be heard properly. Amazing imagery, vivid characters (real people? who can say?). A book with great heart.
Dec 04, 2014 Anne rated it really liked it
I loved this book! It's a quick read with stories that you're sure did not happen but wish were true!
Richard Wright
Jul 07, 2012 Richard Wright rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
It has been a while since reading but remember just loving every part of this book.
Raül De Tena
Dec 04, 2008 Raül De Tena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
Pudiera parecer que Libros Del Asteroide se está centrando en la Norteamérica rural de mediados de siglo. Si Adiós, Hasta Mañana de William Maxwell (una de las últimas referencias de esta editorial) miraba hacia allá, Me Voy Con Vosotros Para Siempre hace lo propio... pero con ciertas variables más que gratificantes. Para empezar, el tono general de depresión social se ve ungido por una mirada infantil que no duda en incurrir en un realismo mágico que tiene muchísimo más de poesía que de (¡Dios ...more
Mar 28, 2007 Tara rated it really liked it
Favorite Quotes

The tear on my mother’s cheek got larger and larger. It detached from her face and became a shiny globe, widening outward like an inflating balloon. At first the tear floated in the air between them, but as it expanded it took my mother and father into itself. I saw them suspended, separate but beginning to slowly drift towards one another. Then my mother looked past my father’s shoulder, looked through the bright skin of the tear, at me. The tear enlarged until at last, it took m
Jun 05, 2008 Bookish rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2008
Funny book, and the blurb on the back is accurate when Fred Chappell is compared to Eudora Welty. They are certainly similar in their styles. However, I believe Welty is the stronger writer, and if one is looking for Southern/country comedic writing, I would recommend both writers, though I would personally lean toward Welty over Chappell.

I thought the first half of the book (prior to The Telegram) was better than the second half. I don't know why that was...perhaps I was just getting tired of
Feb 29, 2012 Brianna rated it really liked it
This story is told from the perspective of a young boy, or sometimes from the perspective of a grown man reflecting upon his childhood. The story line is rather time fluid, and episodic, which might seems difficult at times, but press through and it's worth it. I have enjoyed this book for its (almost) magical realism, and fantastic imagery, and the quirkiness of the characters. At points, I literally laughed out loud.
The only qualm I have with this book is that Chappell doesn't expand the cha
Apr 15, 2008 Steveg rated it really liked it
Heh. This is on my top ten of alllll time. Fred's one of my favorite writers. He's from NC, so he's most certainly a southern writer. More specifically, he's from the mountians of Applachia, and entirely distinct and interesting culture if you've never ventured to that part of the country. This book is told through the POV of Jess Kirkman, a young boy growin gup on a farm in the NC mountains and a thinly veiled depiction of the author's early life. The writing is rich, evocative and poetic. A se ...more
Apr 09, 2015 Vickie rated it it was amazing
The story of Jess, a young boy growing up in North Carolina and all the bright, crazy, and unusual characters that make up his family! There's Uncle Luden, who glides into town and receives calls around the clock from "those loose women", and Uncle Gurton, who has never shaved his beard! He keeps it tucked into his bib overalls and Jess and his Dad tranquilize him so they can sneak up at night to see the actual length! Uncle Runkin brought his own self made coffin along with him to sleep in. A d ...more
Mar 05, 2014 Lydia rated it liked it
Shelves: required-reading
The ending!!! Oh my, it made it all worth it! I love when the title of the book makes sense only after you read the whole story - definitely the case with this one. Strange book, it totally got better towards the end, though.
Hasan حسن  منصور
غريب كيف أن بعض الكتاب ممن يكتبون روائع لا يحظون بشهرة كمن هم أقل منهم إبداعا وموهبة!..فريد تشابل مثال على ذالك
وروايته هذه ممتعة ولطيفة وحميمية على الرغم من الفنتازيا داخلها.. قراءة ممتعة على أمل أن تترجم له أعمال أخرى
Zack Hayhurst
May 07, 2016 Zack Hayhurst rated it really liked it
A truly mystical and magical world through the eyes of one southern boy's experiences living in the South during the 1940s. Things aren't always as they seem, and Chappell paints a picture of Southern living that you can taste, smell, touch, and hear.
Oct 28, 2014 Katie rated it it was amazing
Top 5 all time favorite book.
Beth Ingersoll
Jul 08, 2014 Beth Ingersoll rated it really liked it
Not a bad read...
Aaron Coder
Mar 16, 2014 Aaron Coder rated it it was amazing
A river flows from an old man's beard. What's not to love?
Donna Butler
Jan 21, 2015 Donna Butler rated it it was amazing
Poetic, charming, moving. Fred Chappell is like none other!
Oct 11, 2016 Beaner rated it it was ok
I didnt mind the characters individually but I didn't get the point of the book. There were times that I laughed but I wouldnt read it again and I wouldn't recommend.
Aug 22, 2016 Kumar rated it really liked it
"We often hosted wandering aunts and uncles, all on my mother's side, and they intrigued my father endlessly and he was always glad when one of them showed up to break the monotony of a mountain farm life. Especially glad of Uncle Runkin."

Army of uncles and other relatives visit a country family as life is observed through the eyes of a young boy. The mischief and language are reminiscent of Twain but the experience is uniquely original. There is an acceptance of being stationary in country life
Oct 11, 2014 Mark rated it it was amazing
"The bright happy days darted past us like minnows."
Jess Kirkman, is a ten year old boy, growing up on a "scratch-ankle mountain farm", in western North Carolina. It is the early years of World War II. He lives with his parents, grandmother and an, older foster brother, he idolizes. Revolving through this wonderful coming of age novel, are a cast of visiting uncles and aunts, each more colorful and eccentric than the next, keeping Jess wide-eyed and awestruck.
The prose is gorgeous; poetic, touch
Alex Myers
Jul 18, 2015 Alex Myers rated it liked it
Loved the voice here. Found this to be a mix of Thurber for the humor - sometimes almost slapstick, sometimes a little forced - and Ferrol Sams for the innocence of the narrator. What unsettled me was the mix of the supernatural with the real; it wasn't smoothly done and took me out of the stories. Also, I had the sense that many of the stories were told simply for the punchline, as if they were set pieces. The characters didn't have enough room to breathe. That said, the people and the setting ...more
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Fred Davis Chappell retired after 40 years as an English professor at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He was the Poet Laureate of North Carolina from 1997-2002. He attended Duke University.

His 1968 novel Dagon, which was named the Best Foreign Book of the Year by the Academie Française, is a recasting of a Cthulhu Mythos horror story as a psychologically realistic Southern Gothic.

His l
More about Fred Chappell...

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“Our thoughts were so awesome to us, that no one could speak a word, not even ‘Goodbye.’ We hugged and clasped and wept silently.” 11 likes
“In the midst of life, we are in death.” 6 likes
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