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Ava's Man

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,419 Ratings  ·  428 Reviews
The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of All Over but the Shoutin’ continues his personal history of the Deep South with an evocation of his mother’s childhood in the Appalachian foothills during the Great Depression, and the magnificent story of the man who raised her.

Charlie Bundrum was a roofer, a carpenter, a whiskey-maker, a fisherman who knew every inch of the Coosa Rive
Hardcover, 259 pages
Published August 21st 2001 by Knopf Publishing Group
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On completion: I am sad to leave this book. It was a delight to read. I fell in love with Charlie, Ava's Man. the author's grandfather. Rick Bragg talked with all his relatives to find out about his grandfather. He was in fact born after his death. It wasn't easy finding out about Charlie because when he died everybody simply could no longer talk about him. It was too hurtful. You can look at this man and say he wasn't so great; he did so many things he shouldn't do. The fact is he
Kirk Smith
Feb 16, 2015 Kirk Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this so much I could almost just start over and read again. I found Rick Bragg's style to be pure reading pleasure. Gosh that was good!
Jan 18, 2011 Snotchocheez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 2004, I (by happenstance, if not a strange, whimsical predestination) found myself uprooted from 35 years of stasis in Los Angeles, and replanted in semi-rural Northeast Alabama. Many of my friends and acquaintances back home (and, heck, most people I meet here) wonder why I'd do something that crazy. I really don't have an explanation for any of them, but after reading Rick Bragg's brilliant love-letter to NE Alabama and his family ("Ava's Man"), I can direct any questioners of my sanity to ...more
Nov 09, 2010 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read All Over But the Shoutin' about 10 years ago, and thought it amazing. Why I have waited so long to read another Rick Bragg book, I have no idea.

Ava's Man is the story of Charlie Bundrum, Mr. Bragg's grandfather, who died before he was born. It is a living story though, vibrant and powerful, showing why Charlie Bundrum is a legend in his own family, but also showing his flaws.

Mr. Bragg has a wonderful facility with words, and there are so many delightful turns of phrase in this book. You
Jun 20, 2014 Kg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is definitely on my top ten favorites shelf, and will remain there no matter how many more books I may read and love. The language conveys a heavy, burdened, hot rural Depression-era south, and with so much love and respect. Rick Bragg never got to meet his grandfather and has pieced together this tale from stories gathered from aunts, his mother, grandmother and friends. Charlie Bundrum is an everyday hero, working hard and trying to feed a family on a meager existence in a time when ...more
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Jun 17, 2012 JG (The Introverted Reader) rated it really liked it
Recommended to JG (The Introverted Reader) by: Rick
Rick Bragg never knew his maternal grandfather, Charlie, but the man is a legend among the family and friends he left behind. A good provider, a loving father, a teasing husband, a loyal friend, he was also a bootlegger who loved his own product and had a temper. He never turned it on anyone who didn't deserve it, and apparently some of the best stories about him took place when he'd been drinking.

My uncle has been telling me for--oh, years now, that I just have to read Rick Bragg. I do take his
d Kate dooley
Jul 06, 2011 d Kate dooley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book to read outloud to your best friend. Then read it again, so you repeat all the good parts to yourself. Read it while the rain falls on a tin roof. Read it beside the woodstove. Read it in the cab of a pickup truck while the windshield wipers keep time. Read it to your kids. Read it to your kids in the rain by the light of a kerosene lamp. Keep it on a shelf in the kitchen and when you're feeling down, open anywhere and read. It's like music from an old time radio.

Mar 28, 2007 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderfully gritty biography of the author's grandfather, whom he knows only through family legend, sung beautifully in the voice of the south. Dripping in metaphors and history, it left me whistful for my own past and thankful to be among my family as I absorbed it. As it's sat around the house it's been picked up by almost everyone and has developed an impromptu waiting list. I'm off to drop it at my Grandma Amy's right now.
Jun 03, 2009 Connie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the biography of Rick Bragg's grandfather, a hard-drinking, hard-fighting man who loved his family but couldn't always support them. Very well written but I had to wonder if he was worth all the ancestor worship. An interesting look at growing up very poor and white in the south. He does not mention blacks at all but surely they were a part of his grandfather's world.
Aug 02, 2015 Kendra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this book...everything about it. The story is about the author's grandfather, Charlie Bundrum, who died before Bragg was born. As Bragg writes in the book, [Charlie] "was just a man, I guess, whose wings never quite fit him right."

I don't usually read non-fiction and I was leery but I am so happy that I trusted the suggestion of a friend and the many fabulous reviews. Bragg's way of writing captivated and delighted me. As someone born and raised in the south and a member of a
Gail P
Feb 15, 2015 Gail P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Heart felt story. If I hadn't read "All's over but the Shoutin " first I probably would have given it a 5 star. "All's over but the Shoutin " is the better work.

It's difficult to reach back in time, recent times particularly - times almost remembered. My parents grew up in Alabama during the great depression. I was talking to my father not long before he died at 81. He spoke a little of the hardness, but he was overcome by misery by the memories of the boys - black boys - who were his friends.
Kay Johnson
Jan 19, 2010 Kay Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This follow-up to All Over But the Shoutin' shows us once again why Rick Bragg was honored with the Pulitzer Prize. This story chronicles the life of his grandfather, who Bragg never knew. He relied on the stories and legends handed down from family. Bragg's family is a sort of antithesis to the Tara and Twelve Oaks crowd of Gone with the Wind Fame. Having grown up in the south myself, I learned a great deal about southerners, like me, who aren't part of the mint-julep, debutante South. No, our ...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
In Ava's Man Rick Bragg has written a unique tribute to his maternal grandfather, Charlie Bundrum, a man he never knew but one he learned about through the stories of others. Bragg introduces us to Charlie through the carefully written anecdotes he has collected from those who knew Charlie personally. Charlie was a husband, father, roofer, and bootlegger. He was a man who lived by his own personal code in a specific area and place in time.

Charlie Bundrum was "so beloved, so missed, that the mere
Sep 29, 2010 Deb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author Rick Bragg tells the story of his grandfather, Charlie Bundrum, using the stories told by Charlie's children and grandchildren during a family reunion in 1999. Charlie is a larger-than-life character; a tall, strong man who fiercely loved and protected his family all his life. His story is set in the time of the Great Depression, in rural Alabama.

My favorite quote:

"He ought to have a monument," Travis says, "because there ain't no more like him. All his kind are gone.

In a time when a nat
...more How have I lived without this author? I cannot wait to get my hands on his other books because this is one heapin' helping of wonderful! Rick Bragg never knew his grandaddy, Charlie Bundrum, and also knew remarkably little about him as well. Bragg set about rectifying the situation by asking questions at the family reunion. Turns out the lack of information is not, as he feared, because Charlie was a scallywag, which he was to a certain degree, but because Charlie was so loved and re ...more
Apr 14, 2013 Chanel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really good book. Ava's Man who husband's name was Charlie Bundrum was a blue collar man full of pride, strength, determination and character. He worked hard to keep his family from poverty during the Depression by doing all types of odd jobs. This book takes place in a time when community really matter. They don't make men like Mr. Bundrum anymore.

It was extremely refreshing to revisit this hard but simpler time of life. His grandson (the author) Rick Bragg did a wonderful job givin
Even though right from the beginning of this memoir you knew that Ava's man - Charlie - was going to die young - by the time the book got to that point I still ended up crying. This person got under my skin that much as I read the book. Charlie Bundrum was a backwoods, mostly uneducated, fighting, drinking, poor Southern white man who grew up at the turn of the twentieth century and raised a family during the depression and war years. He and his family moved back and forth between Alabama and Ge ...more
Mar 21, 2013 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wouldn't have picked this up if not for a much appreciated recommendation from one of my goodreads friends.

Rick Bragg wrote a loving tribute to his grandfather, a man he only knew through family stories. Bragg paints a vivid picture of what growing up poor and raising a large family in the south was like before and during the Depression. The book is moving and in parts surprisingly humorous, with many passages that beg to be read out loud.

I will definitely read more by this author.
Feb 23, 2016 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rick Bragg never knew his granddaddy. Charlie Bundrum, his mammaâs daddy, died two years before his birth. Heâd worked hard all his life, which spanned the years of the Depression. He never got ahead and he died young, in his fifties. Charlie Bundrum wasnât exactly the most saintly man in the hills of Alabama. He was a roofer, but that often didnât pay the bills, so he was also a small time moonshiner. One of his pleasures in life was the pint from every gallon that heâd keep for himself; the re ...more
PennsyLady (Bev)
I highly recommend this book

In a beautifully touching manner, Bragg traces the life of his maternal grandfather.

Bragg never knew Charlie Bundrum...but through family and community history , he paints
an authentic picture of this much loved Appalachian man.

The audio was garnish to his story and made the tale compelling to continue.

5* and a favorite

A special thanks to the bookworm challenge and Koren's shelf
Oct 15, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rick Bragg pens a beautiful tribute to the grandfather he never knew. This was a man devoted to his family, not a man without faults (which the author shares as well), but a man who left his family with a legacy of love and kindness after pushing through really tough times in the poverty stricken South. Lots of laughs and suspense to balance the heartfelt moments. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Southerners, you will relate.
Dec 31, 2014 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you did not like this book, you are not from or do not have any roots in the rural South. Rick Bragg captures the heart of the area and times. Though my family roots are in rural north Mississippi and not Alabama, his reflections on his grandfather ring true to stories I have heard from not only my own family but other from these parts and times.

He has a poet's heart in how he describes the character and nature of things, be it an event or a time of the year or a part of nature or t
Mar 20, 2012 Danika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an awful lot like Bragg's earlier book, "All Over but the Shoutin'". If you liked that one, you'll definitely enjoy this memoir, which is based on Rick's grandfather Charlie (who he never met). Set in Alabama/Georgia and spanning Charlie's life, mostly after his marriage to Ava. Lots of "likker", fighting and poverty. But Charlie seems like a pretty admirable guy who inspires admiration in all who know him.
Amy Kannel
Sep 26, 2012 Amy Kannel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, own, southern
Some people can tell a good story—-the kind that makes you crazy to find out what happens, and then brokenhearted when it’s over. Some people can string words and sentences together in a way that makes the English language sing, and makes you marvel at the craft of writing. Rick Bragg is both, brilliantly. His sequel to All Over But the Shoutin’ is every bit as poignant and stirring.
Feb 25, 2016 Collin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Contrary to what my mother apparently believes about me, I'm glad to be a southern kid. I'm incredibly proud of my controversial, troubled, flawed, earth-smelling, back-straightening, gulf-bracing, lazy-days homeland. I love the benign stereotypes, I love the texture of the hundred and one different accents, I love the blistering heat and occasionally blistering personality of Life down here.

That said, I didn't think I'd like this book. Look at that cover. What a nightmare. Snorefest incoming.

Dec 28, 2014 Lyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary, memoir
Looked forward to reading this every night! I picked it up after going to see Rick Bragg speak at a local book signing about his biography of Jerry Lee Lewis. Bragg is such a great storyteller in person that I knew his books would be a pleasure.

Charlie Bundrum is Rick Bragg's grandfather, larger than life but deceased before Rick was born. Bragg set out to do an appropriate tribute and delivered powerful snippets of his ancestor's grit and resourcefulness. Throughout the story Ava, his grandmot
Dec 02, 2008 Kendal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the way Bragg writes. My adoration of this book comes in part from my heritage. I grew up near where much of the book takes place. Bragg writes about poor or lower middle class southerners in a way that rarely works. His character are regal and what some would call "white trash" at the same time.
I don't award five stars to many books, but Charlie's story is a real treasure and I savored every word of the author's almost poetic writing style. Thank you Rick Bragg for bringing the grandfather you never met to life. I don't think I will soon forget him.
R. Brett
May 06, 2016 R. Brett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very close to home......

I, like so many others I suppose, was drawn to Bragg's book due to my own family.
I'm a first-generation Hoosier, raised by folks who emigrated from southeast Kentucky in the 1940's. As a matter of fact, that seems to be the only difference between his family and mine....mine left the south for reasons that I am currently researching and are too lengthy to document here.
And Charlie could have been my Papaw, my great Uncles (one of several), a second cousin. Hell, i kn
Mar 31, 2015 Sally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rick Bragg is a most talented story teller! This is about the life a grandfather he never knew but got to know through visiting with various members of his family. His grandpa wasn't a perfect man but he was one to look out for the underdog and took the best care of his family that he could. This story is filled with humor, sadness, and the reality of the time. It is so well written that you could feel yourself sitting in the back of the car with the kids, a dog on your lap and Hootie's legs acr ...more
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Rick Bragg is the Pulitzer Prize winning writer of best-selling and critically acclaimed books on the people of the foothills of the Appalachians, All Over but the Shoutin, Ava's Man, and The Prince of Frogtown.

Bragg, a native of Calhoun County, Alabama, calls these books the proudest examples of his writing life, what historians and critics have described as heart-breaking anthems of people usual
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“It is easy to be liked when the world has no jagged edges, when life is electric blankets and peach ice cream. But to be beloved, a man needs a dragon.” 12 likes
“But if she was going to live in a damn jungle, she preferred it be a damn jungle in Georgia, she always said, and never saw any reason to elaborate on that.” 10 likes
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