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The Front Porch Prophet

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3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,379 Ratings  ·  225 Reviews
What do a trigger-happy bootlegger with pancreatic cancer, an alcoholic helicopter pilot who is afraid to fly, and a dead guy with his feet in a camp stove have in common? What are the similarities between a fire department that cannot put out fires, a policeman who has a historic cabin fall on him from out of the sky, and an entire family dedicated to a variety of decease ...more
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Medallion Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,614)
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Maryann
Aug 04, 2011 Maryann rated it it was amazing
While The Front Porch Prophet is described as a humorous work of Southern fiction about two young men who come of age in North Georgia, it is at times as serious as a rattlesnake. In those moments, the author does not hold back when it comes to the tough issues of broken relationships, death and dying, divorce and a myriad of other not so pleasant moments along life’s journey.

A.J. Longstreet and his friend Eugene Purdue have been through a lot since their carefree childhood days spent playing fo
...more
Heather
Nov 13, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it
This was a free download for the Nook a while back and it sat there on my Nook kind of rotting. I finally got around to reading it this week, and I was pleasantly surprised. The reason why I was putting off reading it was because I wasn't entirely convinced I was going to like it, but the more I read, the more I realized it was right up my alley. A book about a terminal cancer patient and his (and everyone elses') coming to grips with the finality of his condition? What more could an aspiring nu ...more
Ken Medernach
Nov 30, 2008 Ken Medernach rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with a thirst for a great read I own a copy that I want to keep and re-read
'Front Porch Prophet' kept me between tears, that is tears of human emotion and tears of laughter.

Up in the Northwestern corner of Georgia, live a folk like everywhere in Appalachia, torn between the old ways and the new, life in the country and "just makin' do" and the life in the 'mill town', these are the folks that Ray captures and inserts in the lines of "The Front Porch Propet", I say that Ramond captures these characters because no one could "make them up" , he hsd to have been there.

Ray
...more
June
Feb 19, 2009 June rated it it was amazing
A book to be read and absorbed. Mr. Atkins is definitely a "word craftsman." The characters were indeed, characters. Lots of back stories, very excellent character development. I especially loved the ever-changing names of the local diner.

I think the overriding theme of the book was loyalty to friends, and promises made, and how to fulfill them.

My very favorite character in the book was Rufus. Somehow I thought in the end he would end up not so much among the living, but Mr. Atkins surprised m
...more
Steve Diamond
Apr 17, 2012 Steve Diamond rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-literary
A surprising gem. Beautifully constructed, very moving, and very enjoyable to read.

Atkins gives us deeply felt portraits of life in rural Georgia, alternately laugh-out-loud funny, deadly serious, and poignantly personal -- sometimes all three at once. Don't be put off by the setting if you think you don't like "southern novels." The message and the characters are universal.

Some of the set pieces are a little too pat. Otherwise I'd give it 5 stars. Highly recommended.
Bob Arnold
This book surprised me. When my Nook was new and short of titles, I worked to fill it up. Since this was a Nook Free Friday selection, I figured why not. So a quick down load, the passage of a year and suddenly I’m reading an amazing story. The first thing that appealed to me was the fact that the story is set in the Northwest Georgia Mountains and has a wonderfully slow country feel. The characters are full and complete and even the minor characters have depth. The two main characters remind me ...more
Diana
Dec 27, 2011 Diana rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I can hardly do this book justice, but I will try. If you are curious about this book, you truly need to sit down and absorb it. I can assure you that it will not be what you are expecting.

Atkins is a genius with words. His writing is Mark Twain, William Faulkner and Stephen King rolled into one.

Yes, I said Stephen King. I do not care for King's subjects and foulness, but I can't help but admire his way with words and describing scenes. Atkins has that same aptness, without the foulness.

Upon fi
...more
Gail
Aug 21, 2011 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book would have so much more enjoyable if some of the language had been cleaned up. The writing style is excellent, I just don't enjoy the 'F' word, I think it's crude and unneccessary. The story is about A.J. and his best friend Eugene and various family members and others in a small GA town. Mostly the wild escapades of the two. Eugene lives up on a mountain in a cabin, A..J. is married and lives in town. Some rather wild things happen such as a house being moved by helicopter and the por ...more
Jennifer Dunn
Dec 31, 2012 Jennifer Dunn rated it it was amazing
I'm from North Georgia where this book is set and The Front Porch Prophet is the unicorn (Bigfoot?) of a novel that I look for - one that evokes the region without, as a professor of mine once called it, "too much country store." The characters are colorful but realistic, nobody kicks a good dog, and the main character, A. J. Longstreet could just as well be my dad. Heck, the town, known if it's cotton mill "famous for its denim products and its abuse of the hired help" could be my town!

Atkins i
...more
Tasha
Dec 25, 2011 Tasha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I never usually give up on books, but this one I had to. I actually found myself skipping whole pages at a time. At first the book was awesome but then the author kept delineating from the main plot with all this nonsense stuff from the character past.

I'm all for using the past to tell a story but (an actually example from the book) I don't want to hear about the main characters Co-workers life from when he was born, then continue on to the girl the co-worker liked and he whole life story, which
...more
Jen
May 24, 2014 Jen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: southern-lit, humor
I got this book on Barnes & Noble's free Nook Book Fridays several years ago. It's been hanging out there for a while, waiting for me to read it. After a dissatisfying Southern book, I wanted to clear my palate with what I hoped would be a better one, so I finally cracked this one. I was not at all disappointed - in fact, it was far better than I even imagined it would be.

This is a book that is essentially about the slow wasting death by cancer of a quirky friend of the narrator, and yet it
...more
Tara
Jul 19, 2014 Tara rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, family
If anyone can write a memory inside a flashback inside a reverie, Raymond L Atkins can.

This book isn't awful; it gets the job done explaining who's who in town and how they are connected. It makes a good attempt at exploring death from illness in a realistic way with a good smattering of believable dialogue and humour. The grammar is good and there are only a few typographical errors.
The story is plausible and believable. Unfortunately, it's just not very engaging. Our protagonist, A.J., spends
...more
T.C.
Jan 27, 2014 T.C. rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008
If you lived in a small town when you were growing up, or are just redneck enough, you'll know exactly what's going on in this story.

That's what makes The Front Porch Prophet so hilarious and relatable. Author Raymond L. Atkins' subtle implementations of dry humor and unlikely-but-possible situations are what drive this otherwise melancholy perspective on a man's slow battle with cancer while residing in the small town of Sequoyah, Georgia. The story's bulk are the family branches of the slowly
...more
Lissa
May 01, 2013 Lissa rated it really liked it
Not my usual read, but I rather liked this book anyway. I found the characters interesting and I enjoyed getting to know them all through flashbacks and the musings of the main character, AJ. More than once I found myself identifying with AJ's wife. I laughed out loud more than once and even teared up a couple of times. All in all, I'm glad I picked it up.
Kelli
Sep 07, 2011 Kelli rated it really liked it
What a wonderful book of friendship, reconciliation, family, love, and a mean dog named Rufus. Porches drop from the sky, you can't bury dogs in the people cemetery, green jello is better than the alternative at Thanksgiving, you can't really hide a school bus. Read this one, y'all.
Gary Parkes
May 12, 2015 Gary Parkes rated it it was amazing
I loved this rural fiction novel by Raymond Atkins. The author is a master storyteller. In fact, he could describe the phone book and make it sound great. The wit and wisdom are rich throughout this book. The author brings you to the point of reconsidering things, without telling the reader what to think. The characters are flawed, funny, and many, a down right hoot. One could pull so many phrases and sayings to fill another whole book. This is a book you could read over and over and learn new t ...more
Benjamin Sobieck
Oct 13, 2011 Benjamin Sobieck rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of short quirky stories
The most fun I've had in a long time. Give this book a chance. I wanted to write a lengthy review, but I finished it too long ago. The feeling I got from it is still fresh in my mind, though. It's sad and funny at the same time. One of my new favorites.
Isabel Garay
Jan 15, 2015 Isabel Garay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beloved-books
This book was not something I would usually pick up off a shelf, and yet Im so glad I did. Front Porch Prophet is a coming of age book for two country boys and it could not be any more raw and beautiful. While its listed as a comedy, I find it touches upon every possible emotion. I laughed, I cried, literally, and it was as if I had known the characters and grew to love each and every one of them for their flaws. These characters are real, all of them and they must exist somewhere out there. If ...more
Ann
Jul 19, 2012 Ann rated it it was amazing
I stretched this book out as long as I could. That's what I do when I fall in love with characters. One of the best reads this year and that is saying a lot because I've read a lot of great books. Strongly suggest this book.
Amy
Jul 10, 2011 Amy rated it it was amazing
Amazing. Loved the tone, the language, and the characters were incredible. A great read for a lazy summer afternoon--or any day of the week.
Michelle
Jul 23, 2014 Michelle rated it really liked it
This was a free Friday download on my Nook a long time.
I have no idea why I avoided reading it for so long.

A.J. and a host of characters live in a small town in GA.His friend Eugene confesses to having cancer, and the book revolves around his relationship to Eugene and a host of other family members and local townspeople.
As Eugene nears his end, AJ reflects not only on his relationship with Eugene, but on life in general.
We see a lot of their back story, how their friendships/life lives, and fa
...more
Gayle
Apr 07, 2013 Gayle rated it it was amazing
I loved this book - funny, poignant, Southern, characters I recognize.
Jackie
Touching, yet full of life's humor, The Front Porch Prophet takes us on a journey in the lives of two childhood friends who are closer than most, even though their disagreements have driven them apart for a time. But, when Eugene Purdue shows up at A.J. Longstreet's house asking for a favor, it is as if the time adrift is non-existent.

Eugene is dying and he asks A.J. for two favors: to visit him on his solitary mountain frequently and, when the time comes, to put him out of his misery before th
...more
Sue
Sep 19, 2011 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
Surprise, surprise, surprise. I acquired this book on one of Barnes & Noble's Free Fridays (Nook)(perhaps months ago) and was saving it until a day I had nothing better to do, not expecting to enjoy it much. Was I surprised.

It probably took me a month to read it, not that it was overly long, but it was a like a nice piece of chocolate ... letting it melt in my mouth was a nice thing to do.

Anyone interested in the plot can surely find that on Goodreads or Amazon or somewhere else, so that's n
...more
Sally Kilpatrick
Jan 06, 2011 Sally Kilpatrick rated it it was amazing
If you’re looking for a wonderful Southern yarn, look no further than The Front Porch Prophet. Atkins has carefully crafted a southern town full of richly drawn characters amidst very real conflicts. Front and center, you’ll find A.J. Longstreet who must not only face the impending death of his best friend but also that same friend’s desire that A.J. dole out a swift mercy killing.

The Front Porch Prophet traces A.J.’s story, a meandering, thoroughly southern tale that understands that the past i
...more
Rebecca
Sep 07, 2008 Rebecca rated it really liked it
The Front Porch Prophet is a debut novel by Raymond L. Atkins about a fictional small town in Georgia. The story is told through its main character, A.J. Longstreet, and opens with the tale of how he came to know Eugene Purdue, his childhood best friend who is now dying of cancer. Eugene and A.J. had a tumultuous relationship in recent years, nearly ending their friendship after a drunken argument three years ago. But A.J. runs into Eugene's ex-wife and is told Eugene wants to see him up at the ...more
Steven
Sep 06, 2011 Steven rated it really liked it
Quite possibly the funniest, most poignant book I've ever read. Atkins does a good job of capturing the flavor of his Southern-style protagonists while adding in enough silliness to make this an amusing, easy read. He couches what on the surface is a tragic story with vignettes, flashbacks, and outrageous circumstances, that are funny, touching, and ridiculous. Most importantly, he does a good job of keeping it pretty real. Very little suspension of disbelief is required to accept any of the cha ...more
Brandy Hunt
Aug 08, 2011 Brandy Hunt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Generally, I dislike novels that try to catch the "voice of Georgia." As a Georgian native, I know that the accents and backgrounds of people change drastically as you travel through the state.

However, Mr. Atkins has a very special ear, I think, at least for those who live in North Georgia.

This novel was both funny and poignant. On the one hand, you have this very vibrant man dying from pancreatic cancer, but on the other hand, life is going on for the point of view character, and his life is p
...more
George
Jun 28, 2011 George rated it really liked it
Shelves: nook-st
A VERY ENTERTAINING READ.

“The Battey clan esteemed only unemployment and alcohol above ignorance, and Hollis was in school solely because the county sheriff had insisted.”—page 13

In hues reminiscent of Fannie Flagg and Rick Bragg, Raymond L. Atkins’ novel ‘The Front Porch Prophet’ paints a warm, humorous and melancholy portrait of small-town, southern Appalachia, with an engaging cast of quirky characters.

I agree with goodreader, June, who wrote in her review: “A book to be read and absorbed. M
...more
Vanessa
Apr 08, 2016 Vanessa rated it it was amazing
"Permanence was an illusion, and nothing really mattered but now. So he vowed to make the most of the present and let the future lie."

"Around here, you're an abomination in the eyes of God."
"I just hate being one of those."
"I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it," ... "He's looking elsewhere most of the time."

I loved this book. I loved that religion was respectfully acknowledged as a way of life but was also included in the laughs. I loved the earthy feels - the backroads people, death, and the
...more
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Who has read this book? 12 29 Oct 03, 2012 06:13PM  
When I read "~~~~Prophet" 1 22 Nov 23, 2008 06:47AM  
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Raymond L. Atkins resides in Rome, Georgia, where he is an instructor of English at Georgia Northwestern Technical College. He lives in a 110-year-old house with a patient wife and a fat dog. His hobbies include people-watching, reading, and watching movies that have no hope of ever achieving credibility.

His first novel, The Front Porch Prophet, was published by Medallion Press in 2008 and was awa
...more
More about Raymond L. Atkins...

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“Gone with the Wind, a self-help manual that dealt with the subject of how best to cope with Yankees when they venture south.” 2 likes
“The only thing I hate worse than a hero is a stupid hero.” 2 likes
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