Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “God's Little Acre” as Want to Read:
God's Little Acre
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

God's Little Acre

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  2,003 ratings  ·  195 reviews
Like Tobacco Road, this novel chronicles the final decline of a poor white family in rural Georgia. Exhorted by their patriarch Ty Ty, the Waldens ruin their land by digging it up in search of gold. Complex sexual entanglements and betrayals lead to a murder within the family that completes its dissolution. Juxtaposed against the Waldens' obsessive search is the story of ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 1st 1995 by University of Georgia Press (first published 1933)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about God's Little Acre, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about God's Little Acre

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,003 ratings  ·  195 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of God's Little Acre
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ms. Park
What William Faulkner implies, Erskine Caldwell records. -- Chicago Tribune

Caldwell writes with a full-blooded gutsy vitality that makes him akin to the truly great. -- San Francisco Chronicle

At one time God's Little Acre (1932) was the most popular novel ever published, selling a reported fourteen million copies. But in the process, the book ignited a firestorm of controversy, leading to numerous efforts to suppress it.

A year earlier, Caldwell's Tobacco Road was published. It became a runaway
Richard Derus
Feb 12, 2012 rated it liked it


Open Road Media
$1.99 Kindle edition, available now

Rating: 3.75* of five

The University of Georgia Says: Like Tobacco Road, this novel chronicles the final decline of a poor white family in rural Georgia. Exhorted by their patriarch Ty Ty, the Waldens ruin their land by digging it up in search of gold. Complex sexual entanglements and betrayals lead to a murder within the family that completes its dissolution. Juxtaposed against the Waldens' obsessive search is the
Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Speaking of God’s Little Acre, which I don’t wish to do, I had a dream last night that I was sitting in Ty Ty’s 1952 Pontiac, which he could not have owned since they lived in the 1930s, but hey, dreams are like that.

I had been trying to clean up their ol' rusty car, as if that would also clean up their sordid lives. Then I cut a wire near the glove box because it was useless, and one of Ty Ty’s girls said that her husband had planned on fixing it. I said, “He can now just add a new wire.” And
Jun 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Teresa by: Howard
Yes, this is the cover of the edition I read, and it's both right and wrong: the house should not be a wooden shack; the woman was not wearing a mini-dress (or slip) or high heels; and the hair of the woman on the bed should be brown.

In the comments section of the last book I finished, Zola's Nana, my friend Howard (and Erskine Caldwell expert) said its theme would segue nicely into this one. He was right of course, especially with its depiction of sexuality. He said it was the first time he'd
R.W. Ridley
Oct 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Writers
Recommended to R.W. by: Staff Recommendation at Barnes and Noble
It is quite possible that God’s Little Acre has now become my favorite book. It’s inspired me to read more of Erskine Caldwell’s novels. I can’t believe no one has recommended him to me before. He is a master at the art of character development. If you read it expecting your standard story structure of introduction, conflict and conclusion, you’ll be disappointed. Caldwell somehow manages to create a compelling story that centers on character development through conflict after conflict. Ty Ty is ...more
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Another odd little gem from Erskine Caldwell. Just finished reading Tobacco Road, which I enjoyed and so was anxious to read this, and alas was not disappointed.

Interestingly, I can't exactly pinpoint what I liked, which makes me like it that much more.

The story and the characters aren't meant to be taken at face value and in that way, this reads more like a fable/fairy tale than it does anything else. As with Tobacco Road, the characters are caricatures and the story itself borders on the
Literary Chic
Feb 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I wanted to like God's Little Acre. I read that it had been banned in its day so I immediately wanted to read it. Unfortunately, it didn't get far with me.

The main plot has the patriarch and his poor family digging for gold on a Georgian farm. Additionally, there's a decent storyline about unfair labor practices in a mill. On those two main plots, lean the most base, over-sexed adult characters you may ever read.

In the last couple of chapters, the sexual antics cease and Caldwell has the
Mar 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
God's Little Acre is a great exposition on man's relationship with God. We make promises to God--Dedicate our little acre to him--and then move it and change our promise when things don't work out the way we planned. However, this review is an excuse to tell of my meeting Erskine Caldwell.

It was in Klamath Falls, Oregon, in the Waldorf Bar and Grill and pool hall. I was probably about 14 years old. Roger Owens and I used to save a couple of dollars and then hitchhike into Klamath Falls to shoot
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'm a big fan of Southern Gothic, and this is pretty much as good as it gets. Hard to believe it was written in the early 30s. Very hard. Caldwell's style may be a bit off-putting to some--I've read reviews that slam him for the repetition of images and phrases, but if you just sit back and let the words flow over you, it's mesmerizing.

Much like Things Fall Apart the story seems like nothing more than a simple fable while you are reading it. It's afterwards, when you can't get it out of your
Nov 24, 2012 rated it did not like it
My favourite part of this book is the very last sentence. I don't remember what the sentence was about, I was too busy celebrating that id come to the end of this soap opera of a novel to notice the content.
Honestly, this is the worst book I've read in a long time. In fact I can't remember reading a book to the end that was as disgusting as this one. There was not one likeable character in the entire book. There was no plot or subplot that did not disgust me. Just a thoroughly wretched reading
Apr 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Picked this up in a little independent bookstore while visiting Chapel Hill, NC, to have a little southern memento in the form of a little old (but well preserved) Signet pocket sized paperback. I think I payed $3 in cash. A strange little tale of the south (Augusta Georgia) where Ty Ty (the elder) digs hole after hole in vain trying to find gold. He harangues and bullies and tricks his adult children into his pitiful endeavor. This book has all the strangeness of O’Conner or McCuthers yet is ...more
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
I have taken quite a while before writing a review on this as I was travelling.

When I picked up this book, I actually didn't know what to expect. But the title is what caught my eye. God's little acre, is a peace of land belonging to Ty Ty, the father to Darling Jill, Buck and Shaw.

He is a poor man who's looking for gold. He goes around digging his land in search of the mineral but doesn't find any. He has however preserved God's little acre, as a sacrifice to God.

Most of his family members
Mar 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
perfect southern goth, with one of the best families of all time
B. Tollison
May 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
Two words: Very base. The characters are all simple, self-centered, and obsessed with having sex, mostly with the exceptionally attractive Griselda. Griselda, like all the women in God's Little Acre, is portrayed as a passive sex object for the men to fight over; which they do, regularly. As a portrait of what gender roles might have been like in the 1930's, and might still be like in some parts of the American South, this dynamic might have some merit, but, since we're only ever given a male's ...more
backlist bitch
“There was a mean trick played on us somewhere. God put us in the bodies of animals and tried to make us act like people. That was the beginning of trouble.”

Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell left a big impression on me so it was only natural to seek out Caldwell's other books. God’s Little Acre was published just one year after Tobacco Road and while both focus on the rural poor in Georgia during the Great Depression, they are somewhat different in tone. This book was more serious and focused on
Nov 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
the day that Pluto implores the Waldens to go into the swamp to catch an albino man to help them divine gold, he ponders his relationship with the beautiful Darling Jill: "she was that kind of girl, and he knew of no way to change her. but as long as she would sit still and let him hug her, he was completely satisfied; it was when she slapped him on the face and hit him the belly with her fists that he was wholly displeased."

this may not give you a real taste of how INSANE this book is. an
Helga Cohen
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great Depression in the South so he knew how to write about this time well. This book took place during the depression south. It is a funny, sensual, raw and very powerful novel with a tragic theme and was banned when it first came out. It was especially reviled in the south.
He observed firsthand the trials of rural life and the poverty of tenant farmers. They are themes he includes in his works. His novels look at race, religious hypocrisy and greed. This book had a little of all of that. He
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
After being enthralled with Tobacco Road, I was ready for more Erskine Caldwell. Equally if not even more disturbing, God’s Little Acre took human indifference and overt sexuality to a whole new level. And that’s a fact…

Set primarily on an underutilized farm in Georgia and a cotton mill in Carolina, God’s Little Acre introduces the Walden family who have been digging for gold for over fifteen years to no avail. A married daughter living in Carolina with her striking husband, a strong proponent
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
I wish I could give this book 4.5 stars. It's so close to being a 5, but not quite.

The novel is about the Waldens, a Southern family digging holes in their farmland in hopes of striking gold. "God's Little Acre" is a piece of land set aside for God, but after Ty Ty Walden moves the acre to make more room for prospecting, everything goes all to hell. In a big, messy, dirty way.

It seems like the point here is clear: get rid of God, bad stuff happens. However, I don't actually think the book is
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Erskine Caldwell's God's Little Acre is a potboiler, pure and simple. It is the story of Ty Ty Walden and his family, whose dreams of finding gold on his property are dimmed because his lovely daughter-in-law Griselda is a subject of contention with all the menfolk who meet her, even though she is married to Ty Ty's son Buck.

As a potboiler, it's pretty good. The girls are always having their clothes ripped off in the presence of lascivious men; and Ty Ty is surprised that he is having so much
Kirk Smith
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This sweet little tragicomedy had me grinning most of the way through. This is early Southern Lit from 1933 and pretty advanced for the period. Sex was referred to as "doing it"! I thought that was something more current but as I think of it the language has always been there. There was a reference to "doing the dozens" that has to be the earliest reference in literature. Quirky, humorous and implausible sometimes, but wonderful because it's such an early example of the genre I love. Caldwell ...more
Henry Chavez
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I don't know who recommended this book or if I simply discovered it by accident and put it on my list, but I am glad I found it. I guess it can be characterized as an easy read, but that is what makes it so excellent. The simplicity of the writing belies its true complexity. I am of the opinion that the style directly affects your view of the story, it's plot lines and characters. You're quickly brought into a different reality and one that is exceedingly interesting. The narrative is brilliant ...more
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Much of this is shocking today, I can't imagine what it was eighty years ago!

Fascinating book. What starts out as a farce devolves into terrible tragedy over just a couple of hundred pages. Caldwell's use of language changes to match that shift, which is interesting to see and it hints at something deeper going on in the story. There's not much to admire about anyone, or anything, in the story, as Caldwell clearly intended with the one faint glimmer of "God's Little Acre" itself.

A New York court
Oct 24, 2011 rated it liked it
What an incredibly disheartening, sad, revolting a skillfully written book. I picked this up because I wondered why this classic was never assigned in my American literature courses. I knew within three pages. It is the story of a very poor southern farm family. This is the first time that I read about farmers where I didn't have any compassion for them. They are all immoral, shallow and uncaring people, who by the way, never farm the land but irrationally dig for gold that they have ...more
Nov 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
At first I was a little disturbed by this book's strange sexual dynamic, but as I continued to read I found myself identifying with several of the characters and understanding their choices and desires. Caldwell's language is occasionally poetic and moving. His characters are vivid and believable, and some are unexpectedly wise. I thought the ending was a little abrupt, but overall I enjoyed God's Little Acre. I think I learned something about human behavior that makes me feel a little less ...more
Jul 21, 2015 added it
I wish this book did not exist. I actively hated it, I hated the characters, I hated the author for dreaming up the characters, I hated the Era that would describe people and norms in this way. I hated the readers who would think something this idiotic is titilating. yet, I finished the book, because I could sense some sort of literary place it belonged to. I saw outside the moronic behavior more than just the obvious tragedy of poverty and lack of educcagion, but the meta experience of the set ...more
Paul Jellinek
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
A quirky little book from the 1930's that initially got lots of attention (and sales) from some of its explicit (for the 1930's) content, it is the story of a Georgia farmer who keeps digging holes in his property in a futile effort to find gold. The cast of characters includes his sons and daughters, their spouses, and, for comic relief, a fat man running for sheriff. There is, in fact, plenty of comedy throughout the book, until it suddenly turns dead serious in its final pages. I think that ...more
وائل المنعم
One of the most naive novels i've ever read, I don't know how some critics consider Erskine Caldwell as an important american novelist when he writes in this silly amateur style and using this modest language.

In the same time i can't ignore that the story itself is good and i read the whole 160 pages of it. The characters were attractive in some aspects. But both the good story and the attractive characters needed a good novelist.
Sep 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
I first read this book back about 1950 and never forgot it. I just reread it and find it just as good as I remembered it from the first time. Depression era Georgia crackers at their best / worst.
The movie made in 1958 was rather poor adaptation of the book and totally missed the whole idea behind the book. I'd give the movie two stars.
Patrick Murtha
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So funny it hurts. Caldwell is a seriously underestimated novelist.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Symbolism 1 1 Jan 03, 2020 04:42AM  
Controversial subjects 1 1 Jan 03, 2020 04:41AM  
How does the novel treat love? 1 1 Jan 03, 2020 04:40AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Third Life Of Grange Copeland
  • Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone
  • Property
  • Elmer Gantry
  • The Judas Murders (Whippoorwill Hollow, #3)
  • Shaker House Poems
  • Long Way from Home
  • Sanctuary
  • Stolen History: How the Palestinians and Their Allies Attack Israel's Right to Exist by Erasing Its Past
  • The Making of a Nation The Beginnings of Israel's History
  • Popular Mechanics When Duct Tape Just Isn't Enough: Your Complete Pocket Repair Guide
  • A Brief Guide to the History of Israel
  • Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide
  • Why Israel is the Victim
  • Obama and the War Against the Jews
  • Night House Bright House
  • Think and Grow Rich
  • If: A Father's Advice to His Son
See similar books…
Erskine Preston Caldwell was an American author. His writings about poverty, racism and social problems in his native South won him critical acclaim, but they also made him controversial among fellow Southerners of the time who felt he was holding the region up to ridicule.
“All you boys seem to think about is the things you can see and touch—that ain’t living. It’s the things you can feel inside of you—that’s what living is made for.” 0 likes
More quotes…