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Catfish Alley

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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  600 ratings  ·  135 reviews
A moving debut novel about female friendship, endurance, and hope in the South.

Roxanne Reeves defines her life by the committees she heads and the social status she cultivates. But she is keeping secrets that make her an outsider in her own town, always in search of acceptance. And when she is given a job none of the other white women want-researching the town's African
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Paperback, 312 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by NAL (first published March 19th 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,674)
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Helen
This book was amazing to me because it was totally unexpected. It seems that the past year or so books about the African-American experience is the new wave in fiction. So I hesitantly picked up what I thought might be just another variation of the rest that I had seen. How surprised I was!

This book is very well-written. There are quite a few characters but each one has a voice and is well-developed. The story alternates between present time and the early 1900's. You may think you know where it
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Ashley
It’s rare that I read a book that leaves me feeling like Catfish Alley: simultaneously a bit raw and heartbroken; joyful and hopeful. I couldn’t immediately talk about it, and even now, I’m sure I’m not doing justice to this amazing, wonderful story.

Set in the mid 2000′s in a fictional Clarksville, Mississippi, Lynne Bryant’s Catfish Alley tells the story of Roxanne Reeves and Grace Clark. Roxanne has clawed her way into her small town social strata, hiding her poor Cajun upbrining. As she’s pre
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Pamela
Lynne Bryant’s first novel, Catfish Alley, was a great read in terms of story-line, atmosphere, unique characters, and themes dealing with prejudices in Mississippi, past and present. I thought Rosanne Reeves and Grace Clark were compelling main characters. Their conundrum, how to move past opposing backgrounds and bygone era discrimination – which still lingers on to a surprising degree - to forge a genuine heartfelt friendship, and ultimately build a more unified cordial city/town in general. ...more
Hira
Dec 21, 2011 Hira rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: African-American Fiction lovers, History lovers
Shelves: favorites
I began to read "Catfish Alley" by Lynne Bryant, thinking it was merely going to be an entertaining book. I did not expect for it to open up rivers of joy and pain inside of me - but that is exactly what this amazing book did.

"Catfish Alley" chronicles the lives of various Southern women, who are smart, intelligent and pillars of strength in their community. It is quite clear with the way author Bryant writes that she is not only familiar and comfortable with the South, but that these stories c
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Yasmin
Although this book was compared to The Help I'm glad it was so much more. Bryant did a good job giving realistic portrayal of black characters, they were three-dimensional and honestly appeared to be concerned about them and how they were portrayed. The only similarities between this book and The Help are they're both written by white authors about black experiences in the South during segregation. I would read another book by Lynne Bryant...not so much by Kathyrn Stockett as I don't think she's ...more
Susan
This is the debut novel by southern author Lynne Bryant. The story takes place in Clarksville, Mississippi in the present, but flashes back to the 1930’s when being black and living in the south was a dangerous combination. It is primarily about Roxanne, a middle-aged woman, member of the junior league and restorer of antebellum homes who reluctantly finds herself in charge of developing an historical tour of African American sites. My favorite part of this book is seeing how Roxanne changes fro ...more
Ruth Hyland
this is no "The Help" but it is interesting. not a page turner but interesting enough to keep me reading. course that doesn't take much.
G
I loved this book--read it in one sitting!

Catfish Alley is right up my alley as far as books goes–it’s full of historical fiction based on real-life events that took place in the south. I don’t know what it is about southern writers, and why they have a hold on me like they do, but oh, how I love and cherish them! I’m happy to tell you that I’ve now added Lynne Bryant to that list of beloved southern authors, as her debut novel has sunk into a remarkable historical moment, examining the way smar
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Emily Crowe
A couple of months ago I visited Mississippi to see some friends in Jackson and to attend my 20th high school reunion at the Mississippi School for Mathematics & Science in Columbus. When in Jackson, I stopped by Lemuria, my old stompin' grounds and one of the best damned bookstores in the country, to pick up an audio book to listen to on my road trip to Columbus, and while there, a bookseller told me about Catfish Alley by Lynne Bryant, which is set in Columbus and reminiscent of Kathryn St ...more
Ellen
I really enjoyed Catfish Alley. I enjoy historical fiction. I read history books as well but this just brings me closer to the people and the events.

Roxanne Reeves is a woman in Clarksville, Mississippi who is president of the antebellum home tours group. This year a newcomer to Clarksville and the antebellum home tours group has suggested adding important African-American sites to the tour. Of course, this would be a totallly different view of Southern history. This will cause people, Roxanne t
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Erika
Catfish Alley by Lynne Bryant is a fiction book set in Clarksville, MS with the main character, Roxanne Reeves, discovering the history of the culture around her.

Roxanne Reeves is afraid of being alone; also, she is nervous for someone possibly discovering her true upbringing. While feeling these ways, Roxanne gets put in charge of heading up an African-American tour in her town, which is still very segregated, even in 2002.

Because she must get this tour going, she forces herself to meet many A
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Sarah
Catfish Alley is Mississippi-born Lynne Bryant's first novel -- and in reading it, I feel as if I've stumbled upon a rare gem!

Flashing back and forth between present-day and 1920s-1930s Clarksville, Mississippi, Catfish Alley is a story that puts racism and deep friendship to the test. The novel explores racism and segregation that is still very much present in the South, no matter what people these days are made to believe. Being a Biloxi-born Mississipian myself, I can completely understand an
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Linda
Jun 29, 2015 Linda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Linda by: June, 2015 book discussion book
This book starts with Junior Leaguer Roxanne, who has spent her life hiding her background, agreeing to investigate the possibility of an African-American historical tour for The League in a small town in Mississippi. Resistance comes from all directions - blacks and whites.
The book kept me interested through the 300 pages. New friendships and the heart aching stories discovered while Roxanne researches the past of the town were the magnet drawing me in.
The ending seemed to come on too quickly w
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Tia
Where do I begin? This book was absolutely amazing. Well written. Tons of twists and turns. It made me angry, happy, sad, frustrated, and joyful. The entire book took me on an emotional journey. I loved the relationships that developed between Grace, Adelle, and Roxanne. I am happy that Rita and Roxanne became the best of friends. Ola Mae and Mattie were hilarious. Zero's character was brilliant and so was Junior's. I totally despised Ray Tanner, Del Tanner, and the other KKK members. YUCK!! Whe ...more
Audrey
This is a great book about the differences in people,prejudice and involvement with other races.Roxanne Reeves hiding her own beginnings,putting all her energy into fitting in and chairing the tour of Clarksville,Mississippi antebellum homes gets a challenge.She is asked to create a tour that explores African American historical sites.She enlists the aide of elderly Grace Clark who shares her own secrets.Roxanne meets Grace's old friends,tours significant sites and begins to realize that there h ...more
Titilayo
i am sometimes weary of white authors writing about souther blacks from first person perspective. they tend to miss something. you always get the feel for life in antebellum regions below the mason-dixon but there is a gap knowledge. something about the characters always seems like you are on the outside looking in; as opposed to looking at the world through the character's eyes. there is an ebb and flow to it. a hit and miss. a well written prose can compensate for the misses, but you notice th ...more
Chrystal
Roxanne Reeves didn't take on the task of adding African-American history to the town’s famous annual Antebellum House tour, because she had an interest in, or some deep desire to examine Black history, no, she did it so that she could get the contract to do the restoration at Riverview – the most beautiful property in Clarksville; not only would it be a feather in Roxanne’s cap, but the money she’d earn from getting the contract to restore it, would be substantial. However, she thought it was g ...more
McGuffy Morris

Actions and deeds often resonate throughout history being felt for generations. Such is the case in Catfish Alley. While working on a community historical project, Roxanne Reeves must deal with the sins of the past and the scars of the present.

Set in modern day Mississippi, the book is interwoven with recollections and memories of the 1930s South. The book deals with race, family, and friendships, both then and now. The characters are genuine and wise. The relationships are full of all that rea
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Ginger
I met Lynne Bryant at a book signing event at a local book store in Denver. I enjoyed her so much I invited her to visit our book group and lead the discussion of her book. She graciously accepted and we all went out for a lovely dinner and discussion. There were sixteen of us present. We had all really enjoyed the book and we were able to enjoy it all over again through Lynne's eyes. Having been raised in Colorado it is easy to forget that things described in Catfish Alley actually did (and sti ...more
Kathy
I took a chance on this one because I thought here we go again a copycat story after "The Help" little did I know that they would be completely different stories. It took me a few days to really get into the story but when I finally immersed myself into it I was sucked in. The book is a story of loss, pain and self discovery. You have to take the blinders off to really see the world as it is and not as you think. The characters were so real and strong and chose to Live and not be sucked in and u ...more
Meredith
I won this book through First Reads, and I have to say this was the best book yet that I have received through the program.

What an amazing story of pain, loss and racial struggles. There is so much in this book to relate to. How often do we ignore what is going on around us because it's just easier than to get involved or to feel the pain of it. This story takes place in the present day but retraces through the 20's and 30's in the south and how one small town's history has shaped it's future.
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Stephanie Dahlberg
I had just finished reading "The Help" so I was a little unenthusiatic to pick up another book about race relations but I am so glad that I continued reading. "Catfish Alley" was very different with a great story that, while fictional, was based upon many true events. The authoress and I had one big thing in common: I have been very naive and sheltered and just plain LAZY about learning about my brothers and sisters on this planet. This book made me wish that I had done more to make the world a ...more
Michelle
I sometimes feel like I've read more than my fair share of stories about slavery, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights era but this book offers a unique and interesting take on black/white relations in Mississippi. The story starts in 2003 with Roxanne, a white woman, who finds herself with the task of creating an African American Tour. She calls on Grace, an elderly black resident, to help her identify historical points of interest. Grace and a cast of other characters call up memories from the 1930's ...more
Patricia
Being Southern, I was excited to read this book. I enjoy reading books about my area of the country. This book is set in a small town in Mississippi during the early years of the 21st century, with a back story in the 1930's. It follows the lives of Grace and her family and friends. And how racism affected them and how it has and hasn't changed in modern times. The back story was gripping and emotional and had me unable to put the book down. The modern day part seemed a little harsh on the racis ...more
Shelby Lee
Oh. This book is hard.

When researching it a little bit for this second read, I realized it has been compared to The Help an awful lot. I don't really find this fair, but maybe that's just because I wasn't the biggest fan of that book. But, I guess the comparisons should give readers a clue that they are going to be reading about relationships between black people and white people living in the south.

I don't know that I consider myself Southern, or that any actual Southern people would either. I
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Sheena  at Hot Eats and Cool Reads
This is one of those books that I am so glad I stumbled across. It goes back and forth between the early 2000's and 1930's Mississippi and tells an amazing story of the racial issues that all characters go through, past and present. I was feeling some of the same emotions as the characters and the story that eventually came out was very sad, but very true of those times. I would recommend this to anyone who liked The Help!
Star
If you liked The Help you must read this. Key difference between the two books is the timeframe, Catfish Alley takes place in 1931 and 2002. I do have to admit that I didn't really think that the attitudes of southern whites in 2002 was as racist as portrayed in the book. I am sure that is a reflection on my understanding not the reality.
Ashlei Peavie
This was a really good book. Although the storyline was somewhat predictable, I stilled enjoyed reading Roxanne's growth. The ending left me wanting a little more closure surrounding the characters but all in all, it was a good (albeit sad) story
Evanston Public  Library
1931 is not an easy time to be black in Clarksville, Mississippi. The community of slave descendants is tightly knit, supportive and protective of their own but really bad things still happen. In 2002, Roxanne Reeves, a white woman who is the director of the annual Antebellum Plantation Tour in the town, is responsible-much to her dismay-for developing a tour that will include spots in the town important to the African-American community. Grace Clark, elderly black citizen of Clarksville who has ...more
Darlene
I loved this book!!! It made me laugh and cry. Quite an eyeopener of life in the south during the 1930's.
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Pikes Peak Librar...: Book by local author 4 17 Feb 29, 2012 09:09PM  
Win 1 of 2 copies of Catfish Alley by Lynne Bryant 1 22 Mar 16, 2011 06:02AM  
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4487331
I was born and raised in rural Mississippi, where my maternal grandparents farmed cotton and my mother is one of their fifteen children. I grew up during the era of the Civil Rights Movement and came of age during the volatile integration of Mississippi’s schools. I attended nursing school at Mississippi University for Women, and then went on to complete both a masters in nursing from Ole Miss and ...more
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