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The Bottoms

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  6,021 ratings  ·  733 reviews
The narrator of The Bottoms is Harry Collins, an old man obsessively reflecting on certain key experiences of his childhood. In 1933, the year that forms the centerpiece of the narrative, Harry is 11 years old and living with his mother, father, and younger sister on a farm outside of Marvel Creek, Texas, near the Sabine River bottoms. Harry's world changes forever when he discov ...more
Paperback, 328 pages
Published September 1st 2001 by Mysterious Press (first published 2000)
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  6,021 ratings  ·  733 reviews

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Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it

A mix of nostalgia for the lost world of his childhood and the toxic racism that was the norm for the time and place. Nobody is going to miss the similarity with To Kill a Mockingbird, but strong enough to stand on its own.
Harry and his family farmed in the Piney Woods of East Texas. The story is in 1933 and 1934.
Daddy had a barbershop as well, and he ran it most days except Sunday and Monday, and was a community constable because nobody else wanted the job. For a time he had been justice of the peace as well, but he fi1934.
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Set in the 1930's this book is told from the viewpoint of an elderly man looking back at a time in his life. Harry grew up in East Texas along the Sabine River area. An area where more is picked up at the local store than groceries.

Harry and his sister Tom find the body of a black woman who had been mutilated and tied up with barbed wire. His father Jacob is the constable/barber/farmer in the town and he takes the body to the black section to have a black doctor have a look to see what happen
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“Only the past seems to matter now; only it seems to be alive; only it can support my soul.”

I finally got around to reading this over the weekend and have been debating ever since about how to write a review. This is one of those books that if too much is given away, then everything might as well be given away. It also has a blurb that is about 112 pages long so go read that if you want way too much information. As for me? I’m going to let the book do most of the talking.

This is th
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arah-Lynda by: Stephen
Shelves: i-said, top, paperwhite
Once again I find myself sitting here scratching my head wondering how in the world can this be the first time I have read Joe R. Lansdale.  In truth I think I may have come across a short story or two in one anthology or another, but this is my first novel.  It will not be my last.

The story unfolds on a farm, set deep in the woods by the Sabine River in East Texas during the depression era of the 1930’s.   Our narrator is Harry Collins, an eleven year old boy who lives on the farm w
Paul Nelson
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-books-read
The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale The Bottoms by Joe Lansdale is a rousing atmospheric murder mystery with an abundance and it has to said, more than its fair share of tension and thought provoking issue. The Bottoms won the Edgar award in 2000 and is definitely a book that will stay resolutely in your thoughts long after you've finished.
The story is an unforgiving coming of age tale for eleven year old Harry Crane set in the 1930's who along with his younger sister discover the tortur
Oct 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Lawyer by: Rick Barfield
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
The works of Joe R. Lansdale have been recommended to me so much in the last 3-4 years. I have a strong affinity for coming-of-age tales so I was told very convincingly by several people that THE BOTTOMS was a must read. (Thanks to Steve and Chad!)
I buddy read this with my friend Tracy and I'm not exaggerating when I say we devoured this book. I started Thursday night, Tracy on Friday afternoon and here we are on Sunday morning fangirling over Lansdale.
I am in utter and complete awe
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Oct 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014

We have no Halloween traditions in Eastern Europe, but since I read so many books published in the US I got into the habit of picking up in October some titles that don't usually migrate to the top of my reading stack. I don't mind horror: it's not my favorite genre, but I have found some real gems in the past. 2014 is the year I tried my very first Joe R Lansdale story, and I have chosen The Bottoms both because I noticed it received some literary prizes and because it is a st
Tom Mathews
Every time I finish a Joe R. Lansdale book I swear that I need to read more of his books. Often life gets in the way, though, and a good deal of time goes by before I pick up another. Having just finished The Bottoms, I am really, really, really determined to make Joe Lansdale one of my best friends. This standalone novel, written in the guise of an old man’s reminiscence, is an exceptional combination of murder mystery and coming-of-age tale set in East Texas during the Great Depression.
Harry Collins, 14, lives wit
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: coming-of-age
I first discovered Joe Lansdale when I found a discounted hardcover copy of THE BOTTOMS at Half Price Books. This excellent book started my love affair with the works of CHAMPION JOE! If you've never read him, give Hisownself a try ;)
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
I probably need to file Joe R. Lansdale in the "Southern Authors I need to keep an eye on" file (if I may be so bold as to lump someone from East Texas into the "South"). I was consistently delighted by my first encounter with his work, the creepy cool 1930's-era Texas Gothic thriller The Bottoms. Much as I found Wiley Cash (another Southern author I've discovered recently) a straightforward, no-nonsense storyteller, Lansdale's style doesn't make room for ornate prose. It's all about establishing settin ...more
May 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
East Texas, 1930s, Racial tensions, add in a serial killer and the legend of the "Goat Man"...

Harry is just a little boy growing up in Texas where racial tensions still run thick. His daddy is the town constable and has done his best to raise his children without racial bias. Harry and his sister Thomasina "Tom" are playing around when harry discovers a dead black woman washed up on shore by the river that runs through their town. The woman has been severely beaten, raped, and decide
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it

4-5 Read this a long while ago, and I remember really liking it. I would never have guessed that this is the same author that writes Hap and Leonard.
May 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The main protagonist Harry Crane takes us back to his youth to the time of the 1930's. He tells of his growing up in the family farm in the Bottoms, of their struggles during the great Depression and the grizzly murdered women that they discover in the Bottoms. He tells of his wonders of his youth and his delight in learning of those around him during his coming of age, of his quest and mystery in search of the identity of The Goat Man.

His poor Dog Toby a limp but courageous dog that you'll nev
Diane Barnes
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a good read, but I can't go higher than 3 stars with it. I knew who the killer was about halfway through, and also guessed the identity of the Goatman fairly early as well. It was well-written with realistic dialogue for the time (1933) and was a good depiction of the morals and opinions of people in the south for the time as well. But there were too many inconsistencies in the plot, and it seemed to me he was retelling "To Kill a Mockingbird" with an East Texas setting. I know Lansdale ...more
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: subterranean-own
As seen through the eyes of an eleven year old boy and his nine year old sister between the years of 1933 and 1934 in the small East Texas town of Marvel Creek. Just a boy and his sister going squirrel hunting with their dog Toby. Then they discovered the tortured body of a dead black woman. Enter "The Goat Man" stalking the kids.

This is copy 309 of 400 signed and numbered.
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
From his nursing home bed Harry Collins recalls some of the suspenseful events of coming up in post Depression times in the swampy " bottoms" of East Texas. This coming of age tale about the summer he and his sister Tom stumble upon the mutilated dead corpse of a black woman and get the entire town caught up in a whirlwind of uncertainty and racial conflict, is a winner of The Edgar and American Mystery Awards. The books blurb cites it as a thriller with echoes of William Faulkner and Harper Lee ...more
Carol Storm
May 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
Remember, Chilluns, It's Always A Sin To Rip Off A Mocking Bird!

All right, I loved BUBBA HOTEP. The movie, not the book. And I did enjoy a couple of Joe R. Lansdale stories that I read in the collection HIGH COTTON. ("Godzilla's 12 Step Program" was a special favorite.) But when he tries to turn all "lit'rary" and create a poignant coming of age novel . . . well, that hound dog don't hunt.

Everything here is something you've seen before . . . many, many times before. Sensitive boy na
Been meaning to read this one for ages but had been put off by the title due to British/US language differences - "The Bottoms" conjures up an image of toilet humour to a British reader (like the "Captain Underpants" books that my kids used to love when they were in primary school) but I soon discovered that it instead refers to the "Bottoms" of the swampy river where the story takes place.

Absolutely loved this one once I got into it - great characters and really felt that you were i
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
That was a great read, however sad and disturbing it be. Joe R Lansdale knows the perfect way to tell a tale, short and sweet, but packs a punch full of emotions. His style of writing is very easy going, like he's sitting at a campfire or just shooting the shit out on a hike and you're listening to him fully as to pass the time. He's got a good sense of humor, even for times where it wasn't meant to be funny...

And his language is authentic, the scenes come to life and everything seems beautiful
Kirk Smith
Dec 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Everything I have read by Joe R. Lansdale has been good. Really good storytelling that easily draws me in. I cared about every character including the families pet hound. The Bottoms was the best of the three I have read. Told from the point of view of a twelve year old boy helping his father, the town constable, to solve the mystery behind a string of brutal murders. Everything you might ever need to know about the piney woods of East Texas.
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is my first read by authorJoe R. Lansdale and it won't be my last. It was a good, suspenseful mystery. I had some uneasiness throughout the book and had an idea of "who done it" but that didn't take away from the intensity of the novel. The racial tension and the details are at times, a little much, which add to some very uncomfortable moments. I loved the narration told in flashbacks and th ...more
Glenn Rolfe
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading a couple of Lansdale's newer books, and hearing how much other writer's loved his work, I decided to check out the novel that seems to get the most hype, THE BOTTOMS. This one had been on my radar for the last couple years. I decided to grab a copy from my local library, and I'm glad I did.
While not as perfect as TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (Harper Lee), THE BOTTOMS is definitely in the same ballpark of great American literature. An amazing cast of characters are brought to life and tos
Feb 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Joe R. Lansdale is predominantly known as a horror writer, but lookie here: The Bottoms won the Edgar Award (Mystery) for best novel.
Now, despite being a mystery, there weren't any big surprises for me, but where the novel truly shines is as the coming of age story of a 13 year-old boy in the early 1930s.

I was surprised at what a quick read this was. For some reason I was under the impression that this was a denser read, but in no way was I disappointed at that. I'm a big fan of les
Deb Jones
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm so glad I followed through on Cameron Wiggins' recommendation to read The Bottoms. It is similar to To Kill a Mockingbird, but also has its own story to tell.

Rich in fully-realized characters and atmosphere, along with a whodunit, this was a wonderful read. Even after I closed the book for the last time, I am still filled with my thoughts and feelings about its characters and their experiences.
Bri | bribooks
Damn it, Joe Lansdale, you broke my heart. Again.

The Bottoms is one of this author’s more critically acclaimed novels, and rightfully so. It’s an involving and impeccably told mystery set in East Texas in 1933 — so, yes, this novel is right in Lansdale’s wheelhouse. Depression-era stories are what the Mojo Storyteller does best, and this is a corker.

Told in the first-person perspective of an old man looking back on his youth, this is about a series of murders going on in a small sout/>The
Andy Weston
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Set in East Texas in the years of the depression this is part murder mystery, part coming of age, and part historical novel and surely one of Joe Lansdale's finest, though that will be for debate, I have read several Lansdale and they all have 5 stars from me.

The story is narrated by 11 year old Harry Collins from his rest home bed many years later. There are issues of race and the KKK play a role throughout. Life in The Bottoms, a deprived and poor area of East Texas, is described wonderfully
May 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this one! The only reason I'm not giving it 5 stars is because it was a bit predictable and I had guessed early on who the killer was.
Still, a great southern dark mystery, beautifully written and with some very likeable and memorable characters.
This was my first novel by Lansdale, it won't be the last.
Rebecca McNutt
This novel was incredible, a powerful and nostalgic trip through time with elements of horror, coming-of-age, anti-racism and criminal behavior. It was well-written, gripping and vivid.
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A short dynamite novel about a serial murder spree that occurred near the Sabine River in SE Texas during the Great Depression.

Through a strong sense of place and evocative imagery, the author was able to convey a completely convincing world full of bigotry and violent murders.

Although an original piece of work, The Bottoms is reminiscent of To Kill A Mockingbird. Not quite at the classic level, but pretty darn good. The main characters are Harry and his sister Tom. They stumble across the fir
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On the Southern L...: The Bottoms: Final Impressions, February 2016 44 44 Mar 02, 2016 06:26AM  
On the Southern L...: The Bottoms: Initial Impressions, February 2016 28 36 Feb 13, 2016 12:24PM  
Goodreads Librari...: ISBN - 9780892967049 3 13 Nov 10, 2015 06:31PM  
An Ode to Harper Lee 15 65 Jan 09, 2015 08:15AM  

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Champion Mojo Storyteller Joe R. Lansdale is the author of over forty novels and numerous short stories. His work has appeared in national anthologies, magazines, and collections, as well as numerous foreign publications. He has written for comics, television, film, newspapers, and Internet sites. His work has been collected in more than two dozen short-story collections, and he has edited or co-e ...more
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“Only our memories allow that some people ever existed. That they mattered, or mattered too much.” 20 likes
“Deep down I think I may be just like everyone else. And do you know what, Harry?"
"No sir."
"That bothers me.”
More quotes…