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Crazy in Alabama

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  4,398 Ratings  ·  244 Reviews
Comic and tragic, unique and outlandish, CRAZY IN ALABAMA is the story of two journeys--Lucille's from Industry, Alabama, to Los Angeles, to star on 'THE BEVERLY HILL BILLIES' and her 12-year-old nephew Peejoe's, who is about to discover two kinds of Southern justice, and what that means about the stories he's heard and the people he knows.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 9th 1994 by Ballantine Books (first published 1993)
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May 28, 2012 Steve rated it really liked it
Just finished a re-read after many years. This is decidedly not really a comedy no matter what the blurbs say. The two parallel stories explore family, race, class, and insanity with the honesty and clarity of a child and the experience of that same child grown. Childress turns his small town of Industry, Alabama into a microcosm of the civil rights movement as seen through the eyes of a young boy, and gives one a different glimpse of funeral directors as well. The second thread is the weird ...more
Jul 19, 2011 Snotchocheez rated it it was ok
A flood of emotion overswept me after reading this rather strange novel. I immediately checked out Mark Childress on wikipedia to see where this guy presently lives For someone who was born and raised in Alabama (according to the book's profile blurb), Mr. Childress must certainly have hated living here, because with the exception of one of his protagonists, nearly all of the characters in "Crazy In Alabama" come off as either racist buffoons or homicidal maniacs (or, in a few instances, racist ...more
Renee King - Hooks
Mar 14, 2012 Renee King - Hooks rated it it was amazing
As one born and raised in Alabama I can relate to much of this hilarious story of one crazy Bama Belle. This twist and turns in Mr. Childress book will leave you wanting more.

Lucille starts in a little town of Industry, AL, yes I know where it is and have relatives there to this day, and winds up in LA, not Lower Alabama but LA as in Los Angeles, California. Follow her trip through crazy ideas and hilarious doings with Peejoe, her poor nephew.

I promise you'll laugh yourself silly and never look
Mar 18, 2015 Joe rated it it was amazing
Crazy in Alabama, Mark Childress, 383 pages. While this is the best Childress novel I’ve read thus far, I still would recommend starting with V for Victor, which builds more evenly and conveys an almost nostalgic mood, despite its subject matter of World War II and Nazi infiltration. But. Crazy is grand Childress.

At first, I thought the two storylines in this novel entirely too disparate to work : a mostly comic tale of a thirty-something woman who murders her husband and trots off to Hollywood
Feb 05, 2008 Shannon rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one!
What a disappointment after reading One Mississippi, which I thought was a great book. This one has the same over the top quality, but the storyline isn't as good and the sexual content is just gratuitous. I can handle some racy scenes in a book if they are central to the plot, but I felt this was just for the sake of sensationalism. While the author tries to address a serious theme, he is only somewhat successful in that. A real disappointment.
Dec 29, 2008 Christa rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club, library
Crazy in Alabama kept me interested, but after finishing it, I can't really say that I liked the book. Some of the characters were not at all sympathetic, and the events in the book were sometimes too over the top for me. There was more than one story taking place during the book, and I liked some of them less than others.

This book tell the story of Lucille, a beautiful small-town mother of six who dreams of making it in Hollywood. Lucille's husband does not share her dreams for herself, and he
May 31, 2016 Eleanor rated it really liked it
I read 'One Mississippi' years ago and it was one of the first books I just walked into B&N and blindly chose. I liked the cover and it sounded interesting; since then I've reread it multiple times and find that it grows with me. I've been wanting to check out one of his other books for a while but never sure what to commit to - similarly I happened on this at one of the last days of St. Marks Books. This book is a wild and tense ride of emotions and scenes. Less humor than One Mississippi ...more
Jul 26, 2007 Boatgirl rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Heartbreaking on so many levels, yet very funny.
The book deal with a small Southern town during the civil rights movement, with that town's struggle coalescing around a public swimming pool. Meanwhile, the protagonist's aunt has escaped an unhappy, psychologically abusive marriage by murdering and decapitating her husband.
The aunt's murder of her husband is an interesting counterpoint to the casual brutality of the whites against the blacks.
The most interesting thing in this book was not the whi
May 28, 2011 Jean rated it really liked it
Mark Childress grew up in Monroeville, as did Harper Lee. This book is set in a small Alabama town in the early 60s. Like TKAM, we have two threads of the story that eventually meet up in the middle. Thread one? Young, beautiful wife with six kids and an abusive husband who poisons the husband with D-Con in his coffee and then decapitates him so that she can flee to Hollywoood where her deepest wish (to appear on the Beverly Hillbillies) can come true. Did I mention she carries the head with ...more
Mar 10, 2012 Hilary rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I picked up this book not really knowing much about it. A friend actually lent it to my husband a few years ago and my dog chewed a corner, so I bought the friend a replacement book and we ended up with the chewed copy. Years later I pick it up somewhat randomly and couldn't put it down. I fell in love with the characters and couldn't wait to see what happened next. I particularly liked the storyline about the young boys. Mark Childress is clearly a talented writer as he could tell the story ...more
Jul 14, 2007 Barb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers looking for something unusual
I am a real sucker for uniqueness in a book, and this one has it! There are two stories being told in parallel. Every other chapter tells one story, and vice versa. One story is a dark sad story of a young boy staying with his uncle, an undertaker, as the experience a tremendous problem in their town with racism and violence. The other story is about his aunt who has taken off cross-country with her husband's head in a lettuce keeper and a hat box in order to appear in the Beverly Hillbillies tv ...more
Oct 24, 2012 Mike0brien rated it it was amazing
I picked this one up at a used book store because the cover, a headless man in a casket, caught my eye and it turned out to be one of my favorite books ever.

The whole concept is pretty out there: Peejoe and his brother are orphans living with their grandmother. Meemaw sends them to the fictional town of Industry to live with an uncle because she's got her hands full with the other five kids who've recently moved in. Because their mother, Peejoe's Aunt Lucille, beheaded her husband and ran off to
Nov 28, 2007 Chris rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who's had a bad relationship
This book was a quick read, but seriously, if you've ever been in a bad relationship and want a quick, decisive way out, this book offers a couple suggestions, albeit illegal suggustions. It's really funny and well written, but what sets this apart from other standard fiction novels is it is also a commentary on the civil rights movement in the 60's south, but from a childs perspective. The confusion of having to decide between family and friends, black and white, laws versus ethics, right and ...more
Carolina McCollum
Jan 24, 2008 Carolina McCollum rated it it was amazing
I read this book on the plane/in the hotel during my brother's graduation from college. I could NOT put it down, and after having seen the movie, the book is at least five million times better. Peejoe goes from being a spoiled, naive kid to an enlightened, opinionated kid in a matter of months when his aunt comes along and kills her husband in an attempt to escape to Hollywood. Peejoe and his brother are sent to live with their coroner uncle in 1960s Alabama, where race riots are breaking out ...more
Apr 01, 2010 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I cannot just say I didn't like this book. I can say that I didn't particularly enjoy it. The story of the crazy Aunt was interesting, but the intense racial scenes were very upsetting to me. I am a southerner, though not old enough to have lived through integrating and to read such graphic (even if fictitious) accounts of the atrocities that went on back then was very hard for me. I believe Childress is a good story teller, but I guess this story was such a sad one its hard for me to say I ...more
Megan Mcewen
Jul 19, 2014 Megan Mcewen rated it really liked it
Always a quality read. This is my third time reading it and, although the beginning is a bit slow (strange to say, as it entails a woman killing her husband because the skull and bones on the rat poison can winked at her, then takes her husband's head on the lam), the book is as engrossing and moving as I remember. The aforementioned murder is great, but the story of Alabama in the 60s is what really drives it.
Frank Richardson
Apr 14, 2014 Frank Richardson rated it it was amazing
This book is a page turner. It deals with Alabama during the civil rights conflicts and oh by the way, there is also one of the characters who kills her husband, decapitates him, and puts his head in a hatbox and takes it with her on a cross country trip to Los Angeles Ca, and this Alabama lady with six children has sex with several men on her road trip, and then gets a role in "the Beverly Hillbilly's" with Buddy Ebson and Donna Douglas and Max Baer Jr and it goes from there!
Jan 01, 2008 Shawnee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: readin2007
Great story, absolutly funny in a dark humor kind of way. Part coming of age, this book is narrated by a young boy who tells a tale of the racially divided time bomb of the 1950's-60's, as well as the story of his aunt who has killed her husband and taken off to Hollywood to be a movie star- but brings along her husbands head in a tupperware bowl. If you ever saw the horrible movie based on this book, forget it. The book is unbelievably better.
Dec 29, 2013 Marybeth rated it it was amazing
Loved loved loved it!! What a crazy mix of tragedy, history, humour and hilarity! A big thank you to my sister-in-law, Lisa, for recommending this book. I probably would have never picked it from the shelf on my own. Now I am very much looking forward to reading other books by Mark Childress.
Mar 26, 2015 Diana rated it it was amazing
Crazy, insane story. I don't know if I should call it comedic/horror/slapstick. It was a roller coaster ride with excellent storytelling skills.

*not a Christian book notated because that's what I usually review and I don't want my friends to be confused.
Jan 15, 2013 Dawn rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! The book contained two stories. Lucille's story was funny (dark humor), and PeeJoe's story was so very sad. I listened to this as a book on tape, and they had an excellent interview with the author on the last disc. Very interesting to hear how his stories develop.
Arlene Allen
Feb 21, 2014 Arlene Allen rated it really liked it
I saw the movie which is what made me hunt down the book, which of course was expectedly better! I guess that is genuine Southern Gothic, part horror and part horrific history. I would like to read some more of Childress's books.
Kim Taras
Sep 08, 2014 Kim Taras rated it it was amazing
My aunt recommended this book to me and said it was great. She did not lie! This book was highly entertaining and I was terribly sad when it ended.
Jun 30, 2014 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
I love this book . . . AND the movie!!! Very entertaining, well written and tickles your funny bone!
Jan 24, 2013 Ness rated it liked it
I will never forget the head in Tupperware Lettuce Container... that imagery stuck in my mind for years!
Feb 10, 2013 Jake rated it it was amazing
It is a lovely and comical book! the ending in a way, was abrupt but it was such a well thought out book and recommend it to everyone for a laugh!
Nov 08, 2007 Ariana rated it really liked it
I am a sucker for any book about Southern ladies.
Brittany Podolak
Wild ride. Colorful characters.
Sep 12, 2014 Betty rated it it was amazing
Very funny book!
Jul 14, 2014 Shay rated it really liked it
Fun read.
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Mark Childress was born in Monroeville, Alabama. He is the author of the novels A WORLD MADE OF FIRE, V FOR VICTOR, TENDER, CRAZY IN ALABAMA, GONE FOR GOOD, ONE MISSISSIPPI, and GEORGIA BOTTOMS. Childress has received the Harper Lee Award for Alabama's Distinguished Author, Thomas Wolfe Award, the University of Alabama's Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Alabama Library Association's Writer of ...more
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