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Ava's Man

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  3,775 ratings  ·  366 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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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

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
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!
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
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)
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
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.

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.
Gail P
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Rita Kay
A touching story of southern life during the depression. There is a nobility about the simplicity and lack of sophistication of Charlie Bundrum, the author's grandfather who died before he was born.
If you enjoyed Bragg's "All Over But the Shoutin'" and feel the desire for more of the same, this is your book.
Like the other work, this book is long on Southern charm in retelling a life story that includes some socio-economic and political realities as a framework. It is short on plot, however. And maybe that is just the nature of all biographical works. Here, though, I never felt any curiosity or compulsion to see what happens next.
For me, reading the two books back to back was a mistake. Eve
This is a personal history of Rick Bragg's family set in the deep south (Appalachian foothills) dring the depression years. He is a Pulitzer prize winning author and has written other books but this particular one revolves around his grandfather, Charlie Bundrum, who was a carpenter, roofer, moonshiner, fisherman, and loving father and grandfather. He was a hero to his family and although he had many faults, he was a hard worker, who seemed to not be afraid of anything and who gathered friends a ...more
Catherine Shattuck
Rick Bragg is one of the best living writers today. He sings the South alive with every beautiful word he writes.
Ellis Amdur
Beautiful, heartbreaking stories of the Deep South of several generations ago. Bragg writes of his grandfather: “He was a tall, bone-thin man who worked with nails in his teeth and a roofing hatchet in a fist as hard as Augusta brick, who ran a trotline across the Coosa baited with chicken guts and caught washtubs full of catfish, who cooked good white whiskey in the pines, drank his own product and sang, laughed and buck-danced, under the stars…He was just a man, I guess, whose wings never quit ...more
Rick Bragg has quickly become one of my favorite authors. He writes in a way that is so easy to read, so enjoyable, and so familiar. Reading his writing brings so many of my own memories to mind. In telling his stories and the stories of his family, he is telling so many parts of my own story. While his history and mine are so different, they are also so similar. He makes the south come alive. He brings the south to life in a way that is romantic and realistic all rolled up into one. I wish I co ...more
January 2013

I have decided this is the year for rereading a lot of my favorite books. I have to admit the first time I had contact with this story it was audio version read by the author. (I got it from I've listened to it several times. This is the first time I am reading this book in print, and while it's still a great story, I think it appears much more rambling in print than it does when you listen to it. If you don't have a good southern drawling narrator in your own head, you'
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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
More about Rick Bragg...
All Over But the Shoutin' The Prince of Frogtown Somebody Told Me: The Newspaper Stories of Rick Bragg The Most They Ever Had Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story

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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.” 11 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.” 9 likes
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