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The Prince of Frogtown

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,148 Ratings  ·  280 Reviews
In this final volume of the beloved American saga that began with All Over but the Shoutin’ and continued with Ava’s Man, Rick Bragg closes his circle of family stories with an unforgettable tale about fathers and sons inspired by his own relationship with his ten-year-old stepson.

He learns, right from the start, that a man who chases a woman with a child is like a dog who
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Published May 6th 2008 by Random House Audio (first published 2008)
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Terri
May 27, 2008 Terri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bragg's third and last book in the trilogy about his family.
Nobody tells the story of the poverty and hard times of living in the foothills of the Appalachian's like Bragg does. He captures the resilency, strength and love of his people, because he lived it. The good times and the bad.
This final story is about his father. When Rick becomes the step-father of a ten-year boy, he seems to dig deep within to reflect on the father/son relationship.....something he never really had the opportunity to
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Hannah
Mar 31, 2010 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have forgotten just how powerful, how raw, how magical and how simply beautiful Rick Bragg's writing is. I never experienced the kind of life Rick had, never knew privations like his people did, never saw the rough side of life or experienced the spirit quenching miseries that they did.

...so why do I relate so much to it?

The best I can come up with is that reading Rick Bragg is like pulling back an unhealed scab and watching it bleed all over again. In the same way, it can sometimes hurt to re
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Debra
May 22, 2008 Debra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rick Bragg is an amazing writer with a gift for choosing the exact word or metaphor to make his point. In The Prince of Frogtown he examines fatherhood, looking both at his father and his stepson. His hard living, hard fighting, hard drinking father was a miserable SOB by most lights...but he kept good friends, and the love of his women, at least for a while.

Rick's family gives him excellent fodder for self examination. I'm glad I read these books and recommend them widely.

(This is the third of
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Alex Bledsoe
Bragg's third book about his origins in Alabama, this one deals with his alcoholic, unreliable father. There's a huge level of ego masquerading as self-deprecation here, as in, "look how poor I was" and "look how hard it is for me to relate to my own son," which all carry the implied "look how marvelous I am now for having gone through this," when really all he's done is be a better man than his father, not a hard job given the portrayal here. Still, Bragg can write and create a vivid mise-en-sc ...more
Chrissie
Again, here is a book that you must stick with; it improves. By the end I really liked it - a lot! Yup, this one is as good as the author's Ava's Man, about his maternal grandfather and grandmother.

The book is set in Jacksonville, Alabama, in primarily the 1950s and 1960s. Don't make the hasty assumption that this book concerns racial questions. No, it is about poor whites. You know the term Hillbillies and what that brings to mind. The author is writing about his relationship with his father a
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Michelle
Sep 07, 2008 Michelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoirs
"All Over but the Shoutin'" and "Ava's Man" left me with a sense of something positive--well-being or even a slight modicum of peace, "The Prince of Frogtown" did the exact opposite--it saddened me and and angered me. Bragg discusses his father with a distance that makes him seem surreal so it's hard to feel emotion towards him. I did feel that sadness and anger towards Bragg himself when it came to his chapters about his step-son and his treatment of him. Though Bragg seems honest about himself ...more
Melissa
Memorable quotes:
"We were driving through Piedmont...my grandfather Bobby was holding a bottle half hidden by a popcorn bag...I lived a long time after that believing you could hide any sin in the Bible if you had a big enough brown paper bag. I wish they made them people-sized. I would carry one in my trunk, or sleep in one, just to be sure."

"This is what it is like, I thought, to be the circus bear. You pace your cage until they let you out to do tricks. You talk about tuition, hardwood floors
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Susan
Aug 07, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book from the library because it's a memoir and is about a step-father/step-son relationship, two things of interest to me and dear to my heart. I know very little about the American South, so wasn't sure I would really care much about it. I know more about China than I do parts of my own country, sadly enough. But Rick Bragg is such a good story teller and brings Alabama and Texas to life through his vibrant writing that I found myself not able to put the book down--and it wasn ...more
Pat
May 02, 2010 Pat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"He had been doing time in the county lockup when he got out the last time, sick and thin. But she was at peace, and it seemed so was he. There was no catalyst we knew of, no evangelism. It was more like he just got tired and decided he wanted to live quiet the rest of his days. She prayed he was truly over that life of self-destruction that took my father, but it didn't matter if it was permanent. Every day was a gift. Then an old charge, a dusty charge, resurfaced in the courts, and sent him ...more
Kbwilliams
Not as strong as "All Over but the Shoutin'" but still, no one evokes time and place among contemporary authors like Rick Bragg. He alternates stories about his much-reviled father -- a drunk who left his wife and three sons in the lurch -- with stories about him and his new stepson (his boy).

His portrait of his dad is more nuanced here, but the outcome of course does not change and you hurt all over again for his beloved mother. The stories about Bragg and his boy are delightful and fun to read
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Linda
Jun 11, 2008 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I love Rick Bragg's writing! In this third and last trilogy of his family memoirs he shares the struggles of his alcoholic father in an intricate merging of his own growing relationship with his stepson. "All Over But the Shouting" remains my favorite, but this is a good read with a powerful ending.

Reading that Rick is now a Professor of Writing at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa makes me want to go back to school!
Linda Lipko
Few can write like this Pulitzer Prize winner! He is the example to use for anyone who teaches English or Writing. He can break your heart in one sentence and cause an out loud chuckle in the next.

He can tear your heart out and then make you smile at the sheer power of his marvelous mastery of words, eliciting feelings that at the hands of a lessor writer could not convey the subtle awe inspiring depth of emotion.

How I wish I could write like him. His style seems as natural as Rembrandt crafting
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Paula
Sep 11, 2012 Paula rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading and absolutely loving Rick Bragg's All Over But the Shoutin' and Ava's Man, I have been almost afraid to read The Prince of Frogtown for fear that it wouldn't stand up to the other two. Finally decided to jump in and found that it was good, but not AS good. For me, this one just didn't have the emotion the other two evoked. Having said that, it was still a fantastic book. In All Over but the Shoutin', the author writes about his father, a man who left his family over and over again ...more
Robin Hatcher
Although not quite as evocative in my opinion as Ava's Man, I loved reading of how Bragg became a father to "the boy." I can't help wondering about their relationship today, eight years after this book was published. (Those who read his articles/columns in southern publications probably know the answer.) But still, I find the stories about his family (All Over But the Shoutin'; Ava's Man; The Prince of Frogtown) compelling, educational, heartbreaking, inspiring, and simply plain good reading.
Kevin Farrell
Feb 05, 2012 Kevin Farrell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, I did it again. I started reading a series with the latest book. Now, to work my way backwards to the beginning. Doh!

I love well written books about boys growing up. I guess this started with Mark Twain for me and I just keep looking for those great stories about boys and the stuff that they do. This book explores the boys growing into men in the author's family. Some of the men didn't handle the adult part very well and that caused a lifetime of trouble for several people in a tiny mounta
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Judy
Sep 02, 2008 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've now devoted enough time examining Rick Bragg's childhood. I get it. It was horrible. I enjoyed the first two volumes in this trilogy (All Over But the Shoutin' and Ava's Man) more than this one. I got the impression that he was meeting a deadline and rushed the writing. Basically the story of how after years of the single life, Bragg gets married to "the woman" and becomes the stepfather of a 10 year old boy. Believing that he is unsuited for stepfatherhood (is that a word? I doubt it.), he ...more
Warren
Jul 14, 2009 Warren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rick Bragg snatches you out of your own life and immerses you in his history in such a way that you feel you are his vicarious wing-man, only to realize that you are only witnessing the parallels of his and your own experiences. His trilogy of All Over But The Shoutin', Ava's Man, and The Prince of Frogtown is a must-read for anyone, especially the Southern Man, searching for their own identity.
There is an interesting comparison between Rick Bragg and Lewis Grizzard in that their individual char
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Corny
Jul 29, 2008 Corny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ethel
Recommended to Corny by: Claire Marx
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a wonderful portrait of an Alabama family living in rural poverty during the 40s and 50s juxtaposed against a tale of a man and his stepson getting to know each other in the current century. Bragg is a wonderful storyteller, although sometimes I felt he went so far off track as to lose the thread. I guess these digressions are necessary to understand the author's father. However, the use of random incidents to explain the destructive behavior that ensued is the only false note in the nar ...more
Felicia
Aug 13, 2008 Felicia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All Over But the Shoutin' is in my top ten books of all time. Yes, the titles on this list vary depending on my mood, but you'll surely find Rick Bragg in there somewhere. Like Mary Karr and her Liar's Club, like Peter Greenaway and his fluorescent world, like Mary Tyler Moore, Bragg gives everyday life a romance, a beauty, a humor. I can't comment yet on his Prince of Frogtown, but for the rest of his work...I'd like to live my life the way Rick Bragg writes.


...ok, now I've finished it and can

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Chad
Sep 14, 2008 Chad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I missed the first two books in the trilogy, but I am happy I picked up the Prince of Frogtown in Book People. I was looking for a Summer read, and when I caught the cover and line "Double dog dares, Blow Pops, Cherry Bombs, Indian Burns, chicken fights and giggling half wit of choruses" I was hooked!

It turned out to be so much more, a wonderful Father/Son book! The relationship between Rick and his 10 year old step son makes this book tick! Rick a drinker/fighter grew up with a abusive father,
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Amy Kannel
I know you probably get tired of my saying how Rick Bragg is the most brilliant, gifted writer. But I can't help it--it is the honest truth.

I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as All Over But the Shoutin' or Ava's Man...but the more it went on, the better I liked it. I found his relationship to/treatment of "The Boy" fairly troubling, but that improved as the book continued on. All in all it was an honest, courageous book, and Bragg can make people come to life on the page like none other. Hi
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Pam
Jun 11, 2010 Pam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Caroline Musselwhile
This is Rick Bragg's third novel about his family. This highlights his exploration of his father as a child and young adult, his attempt to understand a man who became an abusive alcoholic father. Rick writes the story of his father interspersed with the episodes of his new relationship with his stepson, a boy who has a childhood unlike Ricky's lowclass country upbringing.

This is another must read book. Rick Bragg will surely go down as one of America's great southern writers. he captures the ru
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Leslie
Jun 18, 2013 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a pretty darn good book. It seemed appropriate that I picked it up over Father's Day weekend. It spoke to me, perhaps because my roots are somewhat similar to Bragg's, though not as southern and not so rough, thank God. He gave a touching portrayal of a doomed man and of family relationships -- how you can love someone, hate him, pity him and admire him all at once. The intersticed passages with his step son were touching and comical, a welcome relief from the horror of his fa ...more
Larry
May 27, 2015 Larry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm such a big fan of Rick Bragg. Maybe it's his southern roots and how he relates his family roots that keep me so entranced. As I read his connection (or disconnection) to his family, it's as if we are taking the journey with him. If you want to see southern life as it really was, he's your man. Hated to see the last chapter of his family trilogy end.
Sarah Ryburn
Dec 27, 2008 Sarah Ryburn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: southern-lit, memoir
took me several sittings to get into this one, but i'm glad i stuck with it. rich sense of time and place. bragg alternates between passages about his father and passages about his stepson. he goes looking for "the father he never knew" (the boy and man his father was before becoming the violent/abusive and alcoholic wreck bragg remembers from his early childhood) in the wake of becoming a father himself. nice juxtaposition. double points for structure- he moves in between "then" and "now" segme ...more
Kelly Norton
Oct 12, 2008 Kelly Norton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-autobio, southern
Who else but a southern writer can throw chuckles in the middle of such a tragic story. Who else but Rick Bragg can do this with a true and personal story. He seems to have pushed aside his need to parade his way of southern writing around like a dog & pony show and gotten to the true heart of southern storytelling: the syntax, the language, the imagery, the tragically funny lives, the accent all rolled up in to a rich, painful, full-of-heart tale. He says this is the third & final; good ...more
jenna nims
Sep 25, 2008 jenna nims rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i really liked this book - some parts were 5 stars for sure, it was a hard one to rate. I went with 4 stars because there were some parts (the history of the mills, etc) that I could not get into and made me wonder if I would be able to finish the book. After the history lessons were over though - I loved it, it made me cry and smile and wish things had went differently. Rick Bragg has some really beautiful lines and some really good sarcastic ones too, about what it is like to have a family.
Dianne
Sep 10, 2008 Dianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book, a follow-up to his previous books about his family - It's All Over But the Shouting, and Ava's Man. I enjoyed it very much, a look into what life was like for those living in the mill villages of the South. My father grew up in a mill village in Macon, Georgia - he read this book and said this was so true to what was endured by the families during those times. And Mr. Bragg doesn't just tell a story, he paints a moving picture full of detail and emotion.
Nannette Serra
Jun 21, 2015 Nannette Serra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
I loved "All Over But The Shoutin"" and "Ava's Man" but I picked up "The Prince of Frogtown" again yesterday and tried to read more. I realized I am actually bored with this book and there is no point in trying to force myself to read it just so I can say I read another or Rick Bragg's books. I will accept the fact that all books are not for all people. At another time in my life, I might enjoy the book and come back to read it. Right now I am going to give up on it.
Jeff
Feb 23, 2016 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Frogtown was the name of a Jacksonville, Alabama working class neighborhood where Rick Braggââ‚â„¢s father grew up. In this third in a trilogy on his family, Bragg seeks to understand his abusive and alcoholic father. Although heââ‚â„¢s never able to redeem him, Bragg interviews relatives and friends of his deceased father in an attempt to learn more about the man. With chapters that jump back and forth, Bragg tells his fatherââ‚â„¢s story (and some of his own) as well as inserting his own ba ...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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“Don’t worry about what people think, because once it’s all over the people who love you will make you what they want you to be, and the people who don’t love you will, too.” 28 likes
“In the Mountains, they cooked, too.
Joe Godwin made liquor in Muscadine. Moe Shealey made it in Mineral Springs. Junior McMahan had a still in ragland. Fred and Alton Dryden made liquor in Tallapoosa, and Eulis Parker made it on Terrapin Creek. Wayne Glass knew their faces because he drove it, and made more money hauling liquor than he ever made at the cotton mill. He loaded the gallon cans into his car in the deep woods and dodged sheriffs and federal men to get it to men like Robert Kilgore, the bootlegger who sold whiskey from a house in Weaver, about ten minutes south of Jacksonville. "I could haul a hundred and fifty gallons in a Flathead Ford, at thirty-five dollars a load," he said. Wayne lost the end of one finger in the mill, but he was bulletproof when he was running liquor, and only did time once, for conspiracy. "They couldn't catch me haulin' liquor," he said, "so they got me for thinkin' about it.”
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