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The Cracker Queen: A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life

3.28 of 5 stars 3.28  ·  rating details  ·  285 ratings  ·  64 reviews
A poignant memoir of life on the wrong side of the tracks-which was a SIBA bestseller in hardcover-with a colorful cast of misfits, plenty of belly laughs, and lessons for finding joy in spite of hardship

Move over, Sweet Potato Queens. Thanks to Lauretta Hannon, the Cracker Queens are finally having their say. From her wildly popular NPR segments to her colorful one-wo
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Gotham (first published April 16th 2009)
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All I can say about this book is that I had a lot of fun reading it. Hannon gives her account of growing up poor, southern, white, and clever. Unlike the redneck portrait that is often painted of poor southern whites she is what I would call a pragmatic progressive. The book is full of humor, tragedy, and down right good common sense.
Alan Wells
A down-home testimonial to endurance and resiliency, Ms. Hannon has served up a narrative dinner beginning with a young life fraught with harrowing, painful circumstances and experiences; along with side dishes of poverty, instability, and fear. All washed down though, with all-you-can-drink humorous perspectives and a dessert of personal triumph and celebration. Going back for "seconds" takes you through her launch to independence and self-reliance. It's a five-star meal; no question.

The Cracke
I read this book because I enjoy Southern writers and their descriptions of life growing up in the South. These writers interest me because I grew up in the North and the contrasts are so great, and I am now a transplanted "southerner". I have read some wonderful books about life in the south, Rick Bragg's being my favorites, but this book just didn't hold the same appeal. There was something that came off as, almost, bragging, about the lifestyle that Hannon endured. The stories were very one d ...more
I couldn't finish this one. I couldn't relate to the author enough to get into it and enjoy the journey. The author relates stories from her childhood, most of which are outrageous along the lines of Jeannette Wall's The Glass Castle, but they don't feel real. Many times I wondered if the author hadn't exaggerated or even created the incidents just to make a more interesting book. The stories are told at surface level with no reflection on the thoughts or motives of the people involved. I was an ...more
I started listening to this book on audio since now that I live in the south I like to read books about southern life. It seemed like it was suppose to be a book about the strength of character of the southern poor. So far all it is about is drinking, spousal abuse, drugs, and neglected children. Why on earth would I want to read about someone glorifying all that as if it were something beautiful? Maybe it all turns out better in the end and there is some sort of moral to the story, but I am not ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this memoir, although early on I wondered how this woman could have possibly made it out of childhood alive. Ms Hannon tells her story with a great deal of humor, but without glossing over the more sordid details of life with an alcoholic mother who liked the fellows after the early death of her father. But survive she did and in the process saw her mother get clean and sober. A testament to the grit of the southern woman born without a spoon, let alone a silver one.
Angelyn Vaughan
When I picked up this book I didn't realize that the author works with my dad and writes about their workplace (Atlanta Technical College), or that she attended the University of Georgia, or that I'd be so familiar with so many of the places and references in this book. It was an unexpected delight and my experience as a reader was different than most, I'm sure.
I wanted to love this book. And I did love her storytelling and the range of emotions she covers in a simple turn of phrase. I was thin
well started out funny/appalling/amusing. then started feeling a bit well-if-Rebecca-Wells=can-do-it-so-can-I, then finally it is just way to self-actualization 101 for my blood. and does she get more mileage labeling herself a "cracker queen"? imho, just the white equivalent of the "N" word, not attractive, not all that funny. and the last part, down right preachy
Ended this fiasco on page 136. I like southern stories, real or fiction, and was intrigued by the title but this so called Cracker Queen was down right dull. It was like listening to a drunk friend try to tell you some irrelevant story who just kept getting sidetracked into some other crappy story.
One of the best books ever. A whole lotta life lessons, with lots of sparkle and laughter mixed in, in one book. Makes all us Southern Cracker Queens want to don our tiaras and kick up our heels.
OMG!!!! I saw my Southern self in this book...very entertaining..shows the absolute resilence of southern women...rock on, touched this girl's heart and soul!! Thank you!!
Paul Pessolano
Ladies, this book is definately for you, it is absolutely, positively, not a guy book.

"The Cracker Queen" is the story of Lauretta Hannon. It should be of interest to you Southern ladies in that it takes place in Warner Robbins, Savannah, and Atlanta.

This is not only the story of he life but gives insight into overcoming the obstacles, trials, and disappointments in life and become a "Cracker Queen". In the final chapters of the book she expounds on the philosophy of the "Cracker Queen".

Vickie Ventura
I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. There are some real gems waiting for the reader in Hannon's memoir. I felt kind of silly enthusiastically underlining passages from a book called The Cracker Queen, especially being a woman of color! But she is right when she says things like, "Poor people and plastic go together" and I appreciate her identifying this information and sharing it with us. I am now very aware of my plastic.
Adele Stratton
Another one that started out somewhat Glass Castle-like, Hannon’s story of her poverty- and alcohol-ruined parents and her resulting tumultuous upbringing, and how she’s reacted to become what she is and is not. She claims to be a “Cracker Queen” and spends a lot of time defining that, then explaining how she fits her own definition (not that there’s another definition out there that we would want or need to know of.) The last half especially turned into “how you, too, can be just like me”, whic ...more
I received this through Goodreads giveaways and was so excited to read it - I read it in only a few days. I had the impression it would be similar to the "Glass Castle", which it kind of was, but The Cracker Queen had a lot more humor, wit and crass to it, which made it a lot of fun to read. Don't get me wrong, some of the things the author had to endure and witness were not easy to read (as a parent, I can't imagine doing some of the things these adult figures did), but she makes it endurable b ...more
At times depressing, at times triumphant, this memoir is a perfect look into the life of one southern woman who "made it out." You cheer for her, you cry with her and for her, all the while wishing you too could go "scooter pootin" around town.

Lauretta is one of those writers you wish you were best friends with. You know she will open up a can of whup ass if need be, and will bring the beer and ritz crackers to the party. Better than a southern belle, the cracker queen is a real woman of the sou
I know women like this and I do not like them so I did not like them being glorified here.
Yet another memoir of a Southerner which is highly appraised by the powers that be, but is just, in my opinion an excuse to make fun of the South. It was NOT funny. I actually felt sorry for the author, I know she wrote this memoir thinking she would show all her 'friends' how clever she was, how absolutely hilariously tragic southern 'white trash' families are (of course with hearts of gold), But the stories were not well developed. It just left a bad taste in my mouth. Don't waste your time re ...more
I was not quite sure what to expect when I bought this book. I was more than pleasantly surprised! I love how this author takes you into her life and heart without pulling any punches. My heart ached for her when it came to her hard childhood and cheered when she overcame obstacles which I am not sure I could have ever overcame. There is also a light and fun side to this book though and it had me laughing so hard I was crying. This is one of my favorite books and I highly, highly recommend readi ...more
There are a lot of tragic-yet-funny, rollicking Southern reads out there, but this is not one of them. First off, I listened to the audiobook and I cannot comprehend how a book can come from a "voices of the South" imprint and then be read by someone with no trace of a Southern accent. What?!? And this book just seemed sort of pointless. The author's life didn't seem exciting or tragic or funny or "large" enough to warrant a memoir, and her philosophies didn't grab me either.
Based on the description of this book, I thought I was in for a funny look at Hannon's life - emphasis on funny. Unfortunately, the laughs in this book were far between. While I was at times engaged in Hannon's story, it wasn't often enough to make me want to give the book a higher rating. I didn't feel that time spent reading it was time wasted, I just wasn't enthralled.
The strongest parts of this book are the author's vivid descriptions of growing up in south Georgia with her eccentric, troubled parents. The weakest parts are the somewhat annoying definitions of what the author calls "a cracker queen." Sorta like a self-help empowerment book in a way, but worth it for the story. (Also, I really wanna go to Pinky's bar in Savannah now.)
This book really brought me back home. I found so many parts of myself in the author and identified with her childhood, coming from the South. Sometimes you get trapped in the monotony of daily life and you need a book like this to wake you up again. I loved her fearlessness and outlook on life, and it made me remember who I am and where I come from. Brava!
Brooke Butler
I thought this book was hilarious. You have to have a certain sense of humor to appreciate it though. The author embraces the ups and downs (lots of downs) in her life and writes about them with a comical twist. It's not a pretty story, but the way she's written it makes it entertaining and enjoyable. If you are offended by this book, you missed the entire point.
Brandon Bearden
Overall this just wasnt for me. The beginning of the book was decent, while she told the story of her childhood. Definitely some funny moments, but when she gets to the point of being a grown up, I really started to loose interest. The author also had an odd writing style that took me a while to really get used to.
Amy Johnson
Oh so quotable. Need to write 'em all down. Book is separated into three distinct parts: Childhood (by far & away the funniest), early adulthood (made me sad), & current (already nostalgic & full of advice) and I'm pretty sure chick isn't even 35 yet. The book spoke to me-felt a lot of similarities.
Laura Mallard
I was disappointed.I thought this book would be similar to a lot of Southern writers- Jill Connor Browne, Celia Rivenbark, Hollis Gillespie- but I just didn't like the author's voice. The book was a very easy read, I read it in one night but it wasn't anything memorable. Perhaps my hopes were just too high.
This story has some high points, and can be very entertaining, but I would have liked to read more about the characters and less about the author's life philosophy (how to be a "cracker queen"). The colorful neighborhoods in which the author lived could have provided more depth to the story than they did.
Leann Miller
Jun 23, 2010 Leann Miller rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone that like to laugh
The Cracker Queen was a very funny read. Lauretta Hannon's perspective on her life growing up even though some parts were hard and some seemed obscure. She always put a spin on it to make you laugh in the end. A great memoir about growing up in South Georgia.
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