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Ode to Billy Joe

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  285 ratings  ·  30 reviews
On June 3, 1953, Billy Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge. Now, years after the whispers and rumors, the muddy Tallahatchie River gives up its secrets, the secrets within the haunting ballad that swept America.

Based on his own screenplay, Herman Raucher has taken the Bobbie Gentry classic and written a tender, funny, and ultimately heartbreaking love story y
Mass Market Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 1st 1976 by Dell (first published 1976)
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really liked it 4.00  · 
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 ·  285 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Feb 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I'm from Mississippi, near the Tallahatchie Bridge where the book takes place, so it was easy for me to get involved with the characters and the setting. The characters will stick with you forever. The dialogue is awesome...Bobbie Lee's Southern voice is so much fun to read. You will laugh and cry!
Sean Kennedy
Feb 14, 2016 rated it liked it
(3.5 / 5)

I remember being ten years old watching this as a midday movie while home sick one day and it was the first film I had ever seen with 'one of those' characters. I was strangely thrilled and I didn't know why. Of course it's pretty horrible that the first movie I saw with a gay character ended up with him killing himself but that was pretty much par for the course growing up in the eighties and early nineties when all gay characters either killed themselves or died of AIDS.

That being sai
Paula Navarro
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La primera vez que leí este libro, lloré. Desde el principio se sabe cómo va a terminar, pero uno no imagina lo desgarrador que puede llegar a ser un amor adolescente.
Narrada de una forma sencilla y directa, Sublime amor juvenil es una historia que te hace reir y llorar, pensar en la suerte que tienes de vivir en una sociedad no tan restringida.
Bobbie Lee es una niña y se comporta como tal. Habla con su muñeco, pero es una mujer también, su cuerpo empieza a tener necesidades y Billy Joe despiert
Julie Suzanne
Dec 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: escape-fiction
This is one of my most precious books. In high school, my best friend loaned the book to me, unsure how I would take it because of some of the issues the book presents. (El Cajon, CA) I LOVED it. In the process of reading it, it fell apart and I lost 4 pages in the middle. I then decided I'd replace her book with a new one and keep this copy. I bought a new one, read the 4 missing pages, and then claimed the old one as my own. I highlighted all the words I had to look up---the first time I had e ...more
Jan 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3'5 Billy Joe llevaba desaparecido desde la fiesta, pero amaba profundamente a Bobbie Lee, ¿que le llevo a tirarse desde el puente al rió Tallahatchie?. Una historia que desgraciadamente sabemos desde el principio como terminara y aun así no podemos evitar que nos conmueva, por que ¿que hay mas puro que un amor juvenil?. Billy Joe ha vuelto al pueblo, ahora tiene casi 18 años, Bobbie Lee tiene 15 y esta en esa edad en que ya no es una niña, pero tampoco es una mujer. Al principio se ignoran, lue ...more
Aug 28, 2012 rated it liked it
I read this as a teenager and was always fascinated with the story and haunted by the song. I read it recently a second time and also enjoyed it but obviously saw it from a completely different perspective than when I was 15.
Jun 13, 2014 added it
Lo leí hace un tiempo por pura curiosidad, en ese momento aún no estaba muy interesada en la lectura, pero el libro me resulto fácil de leer aunque un poco trágico. Para colocarle un rating tendría que releerlo para recordar los detalles.

Hélène Long
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is probably my favourite book simply for sentimental reasons: I read and fell in love with it when I was a teenager. I can't remember the number of times I've read it since then.
Lu Na
Tengo este libro más viejito que no sé qué. Pero es muy bonito y muy triste. Tristísimo.
Apr 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
I could read this book a million times!
Esta novela fue una autentica decepcion, y debo admitir que ese final lo arruinó todo y aun hoy, tantos años despues, sigo sin comprenderlo. Y no hablo de que Billy Joe muera, no, eso ya lo sabiamos desde la primera pagina, hablo de porqué se suicidó él, le fue infiel a su amada Bobbie Lee, con el cura del pueblo. Billy Joe era.. ¿bisexual? Porque no te lo dejan NADA claro. Lo que si era obvio es que era el tipico chico al que las chicas le gustaban mucho. Billy se suicida porque siente que ha c ...more
Olga Roldán
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who have a secret love and is afraid to let it out
Recommended to Olga by: a teenage friend
As a teenager-about story, (to me) there were few things to hope for. I slightly re-lived my own teenage era, but it was evident the way a teenage was lived in 1990's and the way it was on 1950's, was so much different (it used to be quite innocent). Generational contrasts, I guess. I became aware of "living the moment", for the moment can be gone forever, and can never be retrieved. But maybe that is too much to ask when you are a very methodical person as I can be. I felt sad at the end, and m ...more
Aug 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
A good story of love, desire, old school beliefs, and growing up. Set in 1950's Mississippi Billie Joe has fallen in love with the town beauty Bobbie Lee. Her papa thinks she is too young, she is trying to be a good girl but her brother is too occupied with the town stripper, and her mama defers to her husband on such matters. As tensions build between them and desire is about to run over things spin out of control. On the night of the annual town music festival, moonshine flows freely and love ...more
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Read the book at age 14 after watching the movie with my mom on CMT. I have read it three times thus far and will probably read it many more times as the years go by. At points you are giggling, then filled with school girl sweetness and love, and then you might tear up at times. I got sucked in and still love this book.
Dawn Gehler
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
this book is a huge 5 star book. It is a very good book about a young boy who committed suicide. He didn't think there was any way but to do what he did. It's an amazing story and movie. I would like to find this book and purchase it to keep it and pass it along to my kids. Awesome book like to commend the author you did an awesome job.
Jun 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
I think if you would like a quick and interesting read about a movie & book that was inspired by the song "Ode To Billy Joe" then hey pick it up and read I did and it was a fast read ,I think now though I would prefer to have my own conclusion on why Billy Joe jumped off the Tallahatchie bridge though :-)
Jaime Contreras
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romantic-fiction
Yes, it is melodramatic and over-the-edge in it's rural take on life and a young man's suicicde but it was riveting and a very comfortable read. I used to read quite of few of these in my youth. They are a guilty pleasure of mine.
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I first read book when I was thirteen a few times. I just finished reading it again. One of the best books I have ever read. I recommend this book immensely. A true classic.
May 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Another good book from my high school days. I never realized Raucher wrote this and Summer of 42.
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The first time I read this book I was 14 yrs old. I came across it at a thrift store for 10 cents. It’s truly a gem. It became my go-to book over the years.
Suki Michelle
Aug 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Roundabout way of telling a most disturbing story, told primarily in subtext. An effective portrait of an ostensibly innocent era in the south.
Elena Rodríguez
Oct 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A pesar del título soso en español ("Sublime amor juvenil"), la novela está muy lejos de ser la típica historia trágica de adolescentes... Magnífica! Es el número uno de mis lecturas de este año!
Sep 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Theresa Williams
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
loved all three the book the movie and the song
Aug 10, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
De los libros de mamá :) especial por esa razón
Patty Barnard
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Read this in high school and LOVED it. Bought it recently at a used book sale and plan to see how it holds up to my many-years-later mind. I bet I love it again.
Nita Randall
rated it it was amazing
May 03, 2015
Pierre Arias
rated it it was amazing
Nov 26, 2011
Rodney Norman
rated it really liked it
Oct 01, 2017
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Ebooks now available for download. Print-on-demand to follow soon. See author website for links and updates at

Herman Raucher began his writing career during The Golden Age of Live Television, penning original one hour dramas for such esteemed shows as Studio One, Goodyear Playhouse and The Alcoa Hour. At about the same time, he was serving as Advertising Copy Director for Wal
“His teeth were now rattling on hers: knock-knock, who's there? Bicuspids. Bicuspids who? Bicuspids McAllister. And then his tongue came flicking out, looking for an opening, any opening, even a missing tooth. But she had no missing teeth and all the teeth she did have were clenched together as in a snapped bear trap.” 2 likes
“And still he persisted, his tongue now dancing over her teeth as though it were something prescribed by four out of five dentists to brighten her smile. It poked left and right but she would not allow it in. And behind her teeth her tongue lay trembling, like the last little pig with the wolf banging at the door.” 0 likes
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