Paul's Reviews > The Beans of Egypt, Maine

The Beans of Egypt, Maine by Carolyn Chute
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's review
Apr 30, 11

bookshelves: novels

Remember those frightening freaky hillbillies in Deliverance? (You have to have seen Deliverance. There's no ifs or buts.) Remember those immortal lines

He got a real pretty mouth ain't he? ... You gonna do some prayin' for me, boy. And you better pray good.

Spoken to Jon Voight, who indeed had a real pretty mouth . Who really didn't want to commence to the kind of praying that was being indicated. Not at all.

Well, this here slim novel is about the family whence came those hillbillies. Or okay, Deliverance was in Appalachia, and The Beans is, as is clearly stated in the title, set in Maine. Otherwise, quite similar.

A rather splendid and very creepy novel. I liked it.


Further note on Deliverance : this was Ned Beatty's first role of any significance in a movie, the first of many great character parts. But imagine the scene - all his family are accompanying him to the premiere, they're all really thrilled, there's both grannies, cousins, mum and dad, brother and sister, all agog to see their boy Ned in this role - but Ned himself is looking askance, he's distinctly worried - "y'know it's got some pretty tough scenes, do you think grandma ought to come?" "Aw ned, she's been around, that old gal, she's a tough one, shoot, she wouldn't miss this" "Well, okay, but don't say I didn't warn ya"

Here comes the big scene – and what’s this ? There’s Ned rushing up the side of some steep woodland, and all he’s wearing is big white underpants! And there’s this mountain man guy rushing after him, and he’s grabbed Ned’s pants and pulled them down! And he’s yelling “I bet you can squeal like a pig! C’mon piggy! Squeal!” And Ned is going “Squeeeeeee! Squeeeee!”

Granny? Granny! Where’s she gone?

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Comments (showing 1-21)

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message 21: by Mariel (new)

Mariel I love Ned Beatty.

message 20: by Paquita Maria (new)

Paquita Maria Sanchez I love this review. Unfortunately, my grandmother would be too busy filing her nails, fluffing her hair out, and applying and reapplying her lipstick to notice that it was not actually a pig in the scene.

message 19: by Paul (last edited Dec 21, 2010 03:47PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Paul Heh, thanks Kristi! Hey Mariel - I think Ned's finest hour was as Bolander in Homicide. A great role.

message 18: by Paul (new) - rated it 3 stars

Paul Okay I need some educating. Being English I have maybe got these terms mixed up. I had thought redneck was a term of mild abuse denoting your standard ultra-conservative country type, who may or may not be dirt poor. So you could have a redneck police chief or a redneck mayor. However hillbilly, I thought, was a mildly insulting term which used to be in wide use (the first country records were so described in the 1920s) denoting poor ignorant country folk. I thought therefore that redneck always had a connotation of racism and hillbilly just meant poor and uneducated and probably stupid but not necessarily bad.

message 17: by Scribble (new)

Scribble Orca Red on the neck as in bending over and catching sun burn? Or blushing from head to shoulders at the slightly risque?


My favourite hillbillies...

message 16: by Esteban (new)

Esteban del Mal Paul wrote: "Okay I need some educating. Being English I have maybe got these terms mixed up. I had thought redneck was a term of mild abuse denoting your standard ultra-conservative country type, who may or ma..."

I think you have a handle on the terms, Paul. I'm inclined to think America is essentially a country of rednecks.

Ned Beatty has a small cabin in a small community where I sometimes work. A co-worker stood behind him in line at the General Store/Post Office/Restaurant and had to bite his tongue.


message 15: by David (new)

David I'm inclined to think America is essentially a country of rednecks.

Speak for yourself, Jethro.

message 14: by Esteban (new)

Esteban del Mal Don't fight it, David.

message 13: by David (last edited Dec 22, 2010 11:13AM) (new)

David I've read all of Proust. I drink Perrier. I think men should wear neckties more often. I think Obama is too far to the right. I won't drive an American car. I drink gin rather than beer.

I am not a redneck. I am an elitist snob.

message 12: by Esteban (new)

Esteban del Mal Maybe if you were less of an elitist snob, the rest of us wouldn't have to be so rednecky. Balance. The Tao of Redneck. Or something.

message 11: by Esteban (new)

Esteban del Mal And drinking Perrier isn't elitist, it's effeminate.

message 10: by Scribble (new)

Scribble Orca Not metrosexual? I'll have to change my labels.

message 9: by Esteban (new)

Esteban del Mal The bar is lower in America.

Paul Squeal like a pig, David. And Esteban - you have a real pretty mouth.

Metaphorically that is.

message 7: by David (last edited Dec 22, 2010 01:18PM) (new)

David Esteban wrote: "And drinking Perrier isn't elitist, it's effeminate."

Spoken like a true trailer park redneck. Only they don't usually employ such dandified, twenty-five cent words like 'effeminate'; they usually opt for 'faggoty.'

message 6: by David (new)

David And also: no real American likes sissy food like lettuce, you three-beer queer.

message 5: by Esteban (new)

Esteban del Mal "Faggoty" is gauche. We rednecks have adopted your ways; now there's a patina of elitist respectability about us. Soon, we'll be drinking Perrier and you'll be suffering under the boot of Mike Huckabee or whatever cracker wins the next election.

Mwha. Mwha. MwHAHAHAHA! --- *coff*

message 4: by Velvetink (new)

Velvetink Those darn hillbillies and rednecks are mutating as a species all over, down under we've got Bogans - uncharted territory Paul you should study up on. :D

Paul Of course in England we have chavs... a visual delight and constant source of amusement.

message 2: by Rose (new)

Rose The names they choose for their children alone are endlessly entertaining.

message 1: by Ian (new)

Ian Heidin-Seek Very entertaining thread.
It might be well-known, but I recently saw a bumper sticker that said, "Does my neck look red in this truck?"

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