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3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,835 Ratings  ·  203 Reviews
"This book is too good to keep to yourself. Read it aloud with someone you love, then send it to a friend. But be sure to keep a copy for yourself, because you'll want to read it again and again."
Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey
Raney is a small-town Baptist. Charles is a liberal from Atlanta. And RANEY is the story of their marriage. Charming, wise, funny, and truthful, it is a n
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 23rd 1997 by Ballantine Books (first published January 2nd 1985)
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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie FlaggThe Help by Kathryn StockettThe Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Great Books of Southern Fiction
27th out of 206 books — 376 voters
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Best Southern Literature
201st out of 887 books — 2,243 voters

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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 03, 2014 Lawyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone but a Baptist without a sense of humor
Recommended to Lawyer by: Donna Callahan, former office manager, Office of the District Attorney, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama
RANEY, Clyde Edgerton's first novel on why it's not a sin to marry a Whiskeypalian even when you are a Free-Will Baptist

First of all, the illustration of Raney by Clyde Edgerton is not that of the first edition, first printing. Seeing as how I'm a goodreads librarian I should fix that.

First Edition, Algonquin Books, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1985

Yep. Fixed. That's now the correct image for the First Edition, First Printing of Raney

I know. I have one. It's signed. The REAL first printing is
Mar 07, 2013 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sue by: On the Southern Literary Trail
At times wickedly funny, at times decidedly not, Raney is the story of the marriage of the titled young woman, a North Carolina Free Will Baptist, to Charles, a (former) Atlanta Methodist cum Episcopalian. Why do I include all these modifiers you may ask. Well, therein lies the story, and the humor, the mores of the 1970s, the story of young love and marriage.

We spend roughly two years with Raney and Charles and their extended families and various Preachers, local folk, debating the roles of wiv
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I zipped through this in an evening, the story of newlyweds in the pre-civil rights, post-WW2 south. The story is told from the perspective of Raney, the wife, who comes from a down-home, family-oriented, Free Will Baptist background in North Carolina. She marries Charles, who is more educated, whose parents are Episcopal, who is a reader and a thinker. He is also a librarian, and while he isn't described as one, I'd like to call him a music librarian. After all, they meet when he is collecting ...more
Michele Casper
Aug 14, 2011 Michele Casper rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, overrated
I wasn’t even going to review this book, but I need to put my feelings about it into words, for whoever may be listening. I was disappointed, even angry, at this book. I returned it to the library as quickly as I could.

I read this book because I found Clyde Edgerton’s Walking Across Egypt, which was cited in a talk at a BYU Women’s Conference, to be inspiring. That book is about a quirky, religious southern woman who, in her way, was a great soul and truly lived her religion.

Raney is also about
Aug 17, 2011 Melee rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The first words out of my mouth after finishing this were, "This book is stoopid."

I didn't hate it, but gosh... I can't think of one commendable thing about it. Not the writing, story or characters. It just rubbed me the wrong way. Why, oh why did the two main characters marry each other? Did they ever have a conversation together before deciding to get hitched? I doubt it, because then they would've realized they are completely incompatible. Raney was alright, but I DETESTED CHARLES. Ooh, it ju
Kirk Smith
May 28, 2015 Kirk Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first year of a marriage is one of the most difficult experiences I know of. Another difficult experience is learning when to seek a marriage counselor to save a relationship. That decision usually comes a bit late. This deceivingly humorous little book addresses such huge issues. I am bowled over by how much wisdom is concealed here as I laugh my way through each chapter.
So, SO un-politically correct. And therefore, SO funny!
May 31, 2010 Reese rated it it was ok
"Halleluyah. Praise the Lord. Etc. Etc. Etc." I finished reading RANEY, the first Clyde Edgerton novel; and I'm pretty sure that, for me, it's the last Edgerton novel. Not long after LUNCH AT THE PICADILLY was released, one of my closest friends read it. She loved it; she bought me a copy; I HAD to read it. It has some charming bits, and a strong friendship got me through the novel; the novel didn't get me through the novel.

Several years earlier, another friend -- a less influential one -- raved
Oct 10, 2011 Rick rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book and some of it was right on the money. But, for the most part I didn't. While it strived to be a story of two different cultures colliding and somehow reaching accommodation in the end, it didn't feel real. The cultures (and the characters) were too different, it is hard to imagine Raney and Charles ever having gotten married to begin with. Also, both Raney and Charles seemed to be more caricature than character. If that's what Mr Edgerton was intending, he achi ...more
Jun 26, 2014 Jamie rated it liked it
Shelves: the-dirty-south
I love a great story about marriage, and this is a great story about marriage. Very funny. Very Eudora Welty. I’m glad I’ve finally read Clyde Edgerton.
Justin Haynes
Raney is such a wonderful little read. There isn't a whole lot to say about the first year of her marriage to Charles Sheppard except that from page to page you'll be mad at one, then the other, then both at the same time. It's obvious the two love each other but coming from different backgrounds leads to a mess of problems that they can solve only on their own.

With Raney Edgerton established himself as a new and unique voice in the south over thirty years ago and today he is considered one of t
Ann Marie Senter
May 04, 2013 Ann Marie Senter rated it it was ok
I spent the first 3/4 of this book wondering why on earth these two would ever have decided to get married. Why did this intelligent, liberal, educated man choose to marry into this family of racist, small-minded, Bible-beaters? Why did a sweet, naive girl like Raney choose to marry a worldly, arrogant snob like Charles? Had they ever spoken to each other, ever had a single conversation about values and beliefs, before walking down the aisle? The story is told from Raney's point of view, so we o ...more
Jan 19, 2009 Bookish rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2009
This was a hilarious book, with lots of "laugh out loud" moments. Though the characters were definitely more one dimensional caricature, with exaggerated weaknesses and biases, they did serve to illuminate some of the disparities in Southern beliefs and traditions in the aftermath of the Civil Rights movement. If I had one quibble with the book, it was the author's broad generalizations of the differences between small town fundamentalists (read ignorant and bigoted) and big city liberals (read ...more
Miss Starling
Aug 20, 2011 Miss Starling rated it did not like it
I was disappointed with this book. After reading Walking Across Egypt, I was excited to delve into another Edgerton book, but alas, this was not fullfilling enough. The main character is annoying with her naivety throughout the story. She listens to everyone's opinions, and TAKES everyone's opinions. She doesn't really think for herself and she's just all around dumb at times, especailly when confronting her husband about the things he does that I don't care for. And Charles, her husband, is an ...more
Oct 08, 2012 Judi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-1998
I was looking for Edgerton's book WALKING ACROSS EGYPT when I came across RANEY and decided to give it a try. I read it one Sunday afternoon, and chuckled over it all the next day. I think I quoted half the book to my sister Lori. (And then she read it and quoted it back to me!)

It's the story of a "modern" Southern woman who is a member of the Free Will Baptist church and her marriage to a liberal well-educated, Episcopalian man named Charles. After their marriage they reside in Listre, North Ca
Marilyn Hartl
Sep 14, 2009 Marilyn Hartl rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Edgerton is a hoot! He has the southern voice down pat, and I love his stuff. This book brings back memories of my childhood in east Texas, and my mother's friends who played bridge together every few weeks at someone's home. Their conversations used to sound like the conversations that Raney's family had around the dinner table, and my mom used to tell my dad about them when he came home after work. I never really realized how apart my parents felt until after I was older and their friendships ...more
Feb 18, 2012 M'diya rated it liked it
Recommended to M'diya by: My sister
Raney is a small-town Baptist. Charles is a liberal from Atlanta. And RANEY is the story of their marriage. Charming, wise, funny, and truthful, it is a novel for everyone to love.

Definitely, a lovely book. It’s so much real like your own life. Responsibilities, relationships, family & everything related to these; fun, happiness, problems. Readers who enjoy light reads must give it a try. Different characters with different personalities & opinions, you may tend to disagree with them but
Jo Sorrell
Feb 05, 2016 Jo Sorrell rated it it was amazing

This is the endearingly funny first novel by Clyde Edgerton who grew up in Bethesda, NC. He currently teaches at UNCW. The story is about the marriage of a feisty Free Will Baptist and a liberal librarian. ""Music is what brought Charles and me together,"" narrator Raney Bell explains. ""He don't look like a banjo picker but he sounds good."" And though Raney has ""a weird way of looking at things,"" Charles appreciates her ""stabs of common sense."" So it's on to the shaky wedding festivities.
Mar 17, 2013 Wayne rated it really liked it
I read this for a Southern Fiction book club. I love Edgerton's characters. Raney's provincialism is endearing, though maddeningly frustrating at times. She and Charles, newlyweds and opposites in so many ways, attempt to find common ground or compromise in all subjects that matter - religion, race, sex, family, just to name a few. The scene on the feed bags gave me a little hope for a marriage that might succeed, despite the odds.
Nov 16, 2013 MJ rated it it was amazing
I read this because I heard the author reading it on the WUGA program Wordland with David Oates a couple of weeks ago. According to Wikipedia Raney was Edgerton's first book. What pleased me so much was Edgerton's craggy voice voicing a 20 year old woman's southern voice. (I'd love to have a copy of the reading!)

Anyway, the misunderstandings of a couple's first 2 years of marriage. So respectful, so funny, so true.
Sandra Hutchison
Jun 29, 2015 Sandra Hutchison rated it really liked it
This is the story of the rocky first years of marriage between a comically unenlightened Baptist (who tells the story in first person, complete with casual unexamined racism and freaking out over sexuality) and a liberal Episcopalian. It's both funny and a little painful. To be honest, even though Raney is portrayed as essentially sweet and capable of change and even though her attitudes are realistic given the time and place, I was uncomfortable with the novel's essentially patronizing relation ...more
Helen Cargile
Aug 10, 2013 Helen Cargile rated it it was amazing
This is such a fun book to read. It is full of humor and memorable characters. Clyde Edgerton takes a look at what happens when two people with different backgrounds and religions get married and come to terms with each other in a small southern town. A real classic, full of more truth than you might realize. Read this book, you will love it!
Jul 10, 2013 Tina rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction-adult
I kept reading this book thinking that I would eventually like Raney or Charles, but unfortunately, that never happened. How they ever fell in love is beyond me. While literature from different historical viewpoints can still be enjoyed today (Huck Finn), this one just wasn't good enough to make wading through the mud of prejudice worth it.
Jul 10, 2014 Pat rated it really liked it
I loved this book. I feel like I know these characters intimately. I hear them talking. I have heard their gossipy conversations. I laughed out loud as I read of Raney, a conservative free-will Baptist girl from North Carolina and her journey in the first years of her marriage to a more educated, free-thinking and well-read Methodist turned Episcopalian from Atlanta. I read this in one sitting laughing all the way. It is a story of learning how to live and love when you see things very different ...more
Jennifer Lassiter
Jun 06, 2014 Jennifer Lassiter rated it it was amazing
I have read this book at least 10 times in the past 24 years. I was 11 (you do the math), when I first found it on my mom's book shelf, picked it up, and read it. I was hooked and couldn't put it down. I found myself massively intrigued about life in my homestate in the 70s in the heart of the civil rights movement. Raney reminded me of people I knew and loved then, and still does today. I went through years where I was angry at the members of Raney's family as I read, and I have come to appreci ...more
Linda Hart
Jun 27, 2009 Linda Hart rated it it was amazing
If you loved Walking Across Egypt, Edgerton's first novel, you'll love this also. It you haven't read either, pick up Walking...& read it, his best, first.
Jun 09, 2015 Amy rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Full disclosure: I read it in 1998, so my memory is very short on details. It just popped up on the explore page for me. It is hilarious, that much I remember. And it rang true to me, in terms of the relationship (granted, I was not married yet so what did I know?) and the southernness--it matched my experience of the south from my time at University of North Carolina from 1988-1992. I remember after I read it, I went on to read more of his novels, but this one was my favorite ...more
Mar 17, 2014 Donna rated it really liked it
This novel is set in the 1970s south where it's residents haven't quite acknowledged that the civil right movement existed. The language is fitting of that time and those types of people and frankly, is quite atrocious. Despite the fact I found myself cringing every time a certain derragatory word was used I found this story of a young married couple really good. I did wonder how Raney and Charles even ended up marrying each other since their belief systems and upbringings were so different, but ...more
Nov 02, 2007 Deb rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-group
2.5 stars.
Jul 17, 2015 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Raney is Southern fiction. You have to be Southern, I think, to enjoy it. If not, you're offended by the porn reference and maybe the drinking. But this is almost a coming-of-age story, and for women raised in the Bible belt of false religion, the message is a freeing one. Lighten up, people! God is not a God of rules (at least not for the people who follow Him ... a strange plot-twist, no?).

Charles, the husband, is so rich, such a well-developed character with whom you can emphathize. Raney, t

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On the Southern L...: Raney, by Clyde Edgerton: March 2013 25 43 Mar 19, 2013 08:29AM  
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Clyde Edgerton is widely considered one of the premier novelists working in the Southern tradition today, often compared with such masters as Eudora Welty and Flannery O'Connor.

Although most of his books deal with adult concerns--marriage, aging, birth and death--Edgerton's work is most profoundly about family. In books such as Raney, Walking Across Egypt, The Floatplane Notebooks, and Killer Dill
More about Clyde Edgerton...

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