Meely LaBauve
Ken Wells
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Meely LaBauve

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  251 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Fifteen-year-old Meely LaBauve is living by his wits on Louisiana's Catahoula Bay. His father is an alligator hunter, still unable to cope with the death of his wife eight years earlier. He finds comfort in bottles of hooch and companionable women, disappearing for days at a time. But the law has it in for Meely's dad; and bully Junior Guidry, nephew of a rogue cop, consid...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 309 pages
Published January 13th 2001 by Thorndike Press (first published 2000)
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Brenda Ware Jones
A friend lent me a stack of 3 Ken Wells books, so I started with this one, out of politeness but with little interest. I was a tad put off at first by the first-person, dialect format---in this case, Louisiana swamp Cajun with a lot of pidgin French thrown in. It's a hard style to master, and I kept waiting for it to turn into a baaaad imitation of *Huckleberry Finn.* 'Long 'bout page 25, I wuz hooked like a *couillon* on a cane pole! Couldn't put it down, and read it all in one gallop. An endea...more
This is the second time I've read this novel. I just got the other two books in the trilogy and thought it would be a good idea to refresh my memory. I think it was Tom Sawyer who said, "The rumors of my death have been highly exaggerated." Well, that goes for Huck as well; he is alive and well in Meely LaBauve living in the mid-twentieth century in Louisiana. Though I think some people would call this a young adult novel, it is as rich in content as To Kill a Mockingbird and several others of t...more
Laura Cushing
Mar 25, 2012 Laura Cushing rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone and everyone
Recommended to Laura by: Ash Friend
Meely LaBauve is narrated by 15 year old Meely, a Cajun boy mostly raising himself in a Louisiana bayou. Meely's mother is dead, and his father spends more time out drinking and hunting gators than he does at home. Meely doesn't go to school on a regular basis, but he's smart - and he knows how to survive.

When he does go to school, he has trouble with the local bully Junior and his gang. The trouble with Junior explodes into a big trouble that could change Meely's life forever.

Full of colorful c...more
I fell in love with Ken Wells' characters with his most recent book, "Crawfish Mountain." So, I am now reading his first. Its a bit obvious that this is his first. The book is told in the first person by a 15 year old semi-orphaned boy who lives in a shack in the bayou and has to hunt or catch everything he eats. His father is an alligator poacher who only ocasionally returns home to "romance" a woman. The youthful patois, in which the whole story is told, can be misread as poor writing. However...more
Thomas Pluck
A very enjoyable read set in the Catahoula bayou, about a Cajun boy raised by his wild spirit of a father. Emile, or Meely, goes fishing or squirrel hunting as often as he goes to school, and gets beat on by the school bully, whose uncle happens to be a police sergeant. His adventures and how he fights back are reminiscent of Huck Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird. It's a charming coming of age story, but felt a little too happy to be real. I laughed aloud many times, and the characters are all gre...more
I really enjoyed this book--the language was especially fun. It was full of relationship building. Meely is a coming of age young man who is virtually left on his own. His father is devastated when his wife, Meely's mother, dies so becomes an alcoholic. Meely has to fend for himself. The unique relationship between Meely and his on again, off again father points out the love between them even though the father seems unable to commit to any responsibility. Enjoyed the writer's style.
A Cajun coming of age story? Yep. The style and language were a bit hard to understand for a non-Cajun but I certainly picked it up fast enough, cher (the Glossary of Cajun Terms and A Guide to Pronouncing Cajun Names were helpful). The lack of quotations marks to indicate dialogue was especially confusing. But you just might fall in love with Wells' strange protagonist! Meely LaBauve is an interesting character and before you know it, you're completely caught up in his adventures.
Wells' first novel demonstrates his innate ability to make you love his characters, quirks and all. Meely is one of the most sympathetic young teens I have ever had the pleasure of reading about and you just hope that he makes it through his troubled life okay - not that different from another recent book I read, The Art of Fielding. Wells is a masterful storyteller and I will continue to read his works after loving this and Crawfish Mountain.
Quite a humorous read. The glossary of Cajun words and terms and the pronunciation guide are helpful, but not necessary for the enjoyment of the story. Though light reading, the story confronts head-on the racism and the social classes in the South. Written in the first person, the story is the narrative of the titular character, and oh what a story-teller he is, and a wise young man at age fifteen. I highly recommend.
Easy read with an interesting story. Very quick read. Characters in the book are easy to like and hate. The plot is a coming of age story of a boy from Louisiana. Not a lot to learn or think about in the book, but kept my attention. A friend of mine actually met Ken Wells in the New Jersey transit train where he gave her a copy of this book which she passed to me after she read it.
Described as a modern-day Huck Finn, Meely is a 15-year-old youngster from the Cajun swamps who shoots squirrels,hunts crawdads and is bullied by Junior Guidry and his schoolmate henchmen. Meely's dad, a gator hunter, loves his son, but is still coping with his wife's death during childbirth a handful of years ago. A wonderfully homespun tale that was a pleasure to read.
Excellent. Wells may well be my new favorite author. Super impressive dialect, intriguing and heart-felt characters, and a quick moving and engaging plot. I loved Rascal, and loved Meely just as much. Not only did he succeed in creating two very different works, he managed to create a place that ties them together inextricably. Excellent, excellent read.
Meely is an interesting narrator and it is an enjoyable cajun "Huck Finn" romp through the swamps. I almost gave it four stars but there's something a little slick about how every thing came together. The dialect and lack of punctuation didn't bother me and I enjoyed the glossary of cajun terms and pronunciation of names at the back of the book.
What a fun, fast-paced novel! I enjoyed being immersed in Cajun culture as I followed the exploits of Meely, an impoverished highschool student living in a Louisiana bayou. Meely's innocent yet clever frankness infuses this book with humor and warmth. I have no idea where I found this book, but I'm glad I finally got around to reading it.
A very enjoyable read. Meely LaBauve is kind of a modern-day, Cajun Huckleberry Finn, with a ne'er-do-well father who at least manages to teach his boy survival skills. The boy encounters the more genteel elements in the area and learns. OK, I don't remember a lot of this book, but I'm definitely interested in reading more of Ken Wells.
Mary Z : )
Loved this one. A motherless teenage boy raises himself with little help from his hard-drinking father. Just a brief snapshot of time in his life, but enough to give a clear picture of what's important to him, and how he deals with a less-than-ideal upbringing.
Robin Bailey
One of my favorite books. A compelling story about a young boy living in a swamp, well sort of... Together with it's companion books about his "enemy" and his dad, it tells a story about the same time and place from three totally different directions.
Kate Wolf
I loved this book. It written in the voice and with the spelling of an occasionally educated Bayou boy. He is a tremendous character with depth and wisdom beyond his years and experience. I RECOMMEND IT WITHOUT RESERVATION FOR ANYONE!!!
This was a quick and easy read but I was very sad when it was over. I wanted more adventures with Meely... Aaand I just looked up the author and there are two books that follow this one. YES!
Though the narrative style and the dialect may wear for some, I found this freshman novel to be a refreshing, engaging read. Meely is a wonderful coming of age story.
I've read almost all of ken wells' books. Enjoyed all them, but read them too long ago to rate them accurately, so I'll pass giving them star ratings.
April Piff
This book is a very good book, and also interesting. I enjoyed the ending of the book, it kept you wondering what was going to happen next.
Great characters, funny story and a dialect that makes you feel like you are in the South. I'd like to read more from this author.
Aug 12, 2011 bookczuk marked it as abandoned-thru-no-fault-of-its-own  ·  review of another edition
Started to read this, but I don't do well with books written in dialect, so shall pass it along via BookCrossing wild release.
Bill Turner
The well written story of Meely, a poor young man living in a Louisiana bayou, his wild father, and mean schoolmates.
Jul 19, 2007 Jara rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Tom sawyer crossed with the Louisiana bayou life. Author has an great voice, sucks you in and you can't put it down.
Short sweet little book about boy growing up in Louisiana. Told in dialect which some of youse didn't enjoy.
I loved this book, when I was finished I went to the library and checked out the two follow up books.
I loved this book! I need to read it again since it has been several years since I read it.
A quick, fun read. Could even be good as a young adult book in middle/high school English.
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