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The Prince of Frogtown

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  2,796 ratings  ·  342 reviews
The final volume of Rick Bragg's bestselling and beloved American saga documents a mesmerizing journey back in time to the lush Alabama landscape of Rick's youth, to Jacksonville's one-hundred-year-old mill and to Rick's father, the troubled, charismatic hustler coming of age in its shadow.

Inspired by Rick Bragg's love for his stepson, The Prince of Frogtown also chronicle
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 6th 2008 by Knopf (first published 2008)
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Bj Strickland The book says the cover photograph is "courtesy of the author." Comparing the man on the left ( with the little crown above his head) with the author'…moreThe book says the cover photograph is "courtesy of the author." Comparing the man on the left ( with the little crown above his head) with the author's photo, I am guessing that is Mr. Bragg's father and a friend of his.(less)

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”Paradise was never heaven-high when I was a boy but waist-deep, an oasis of cutoff blue jeans and raggedy Converse sneakers, sweating bottles of Nehi Grape and Orange Crush, and this stream.”

”I saw my first water moccasin here, and my first real girl, and being a child of the foot washers I have sometimes wondered if this was my Eden, and my serpent. If it was, I didn’t hold out any longer than that first poor fool did. It took something as powerful as that, as girls, to tug me away from
May 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Bragg's third and last book in the trilogy about his family.
Nobody tells the story of the poverty and hard times of living in the foothills of the Appalachian's like Bragg does. He captures the resilency, strength and love of his people, because he lived it. The good times and the bad.
This final story is about his father. When Rick becomes the step-father of a ten-year boy, he seems to dig deep within to reflect on the father/son relationship.....something he never really had the opportunity to
Feb 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I have forgotten just how powerful, how raw, how magical and how simply beautiful Rick Bragg's writing is. I never experienced the kind of life Rick had, never knew privations like his people did, never saw the rough side of life or experienced the spirit quenching miseries that they did. why do I relate so much to it?

The best I can come up with is that reading Rick Bragg is like pulling back an unhealed scab and watching it bleed all over again. In the same way, it can sometimes hurt to re
May 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Memorable quotes:
"We were driving through grandfather Bobby was holding a bottle half hidden by a popcorn bag...I lived a long time after that believing you could hide any sin in the Bible if you had a big enough brown paper bag. I wish they made them people-sized. I would carry one in my trunk, or sleep in one, just to be sure."

"This is what it is like, I thought, to be the circus bear. You pace your cage until they let you out to do tricks. You talk about tuition, hardwood floors
May 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Rick Bragg is an amazing writer with a gift for choosing the exact word or metaphor to make his point. In The Prince of Frogtown he examines fatherhood, looking both at his father and his stepson. His hard living, hard fighting, hard drinking father was a miserable SOB by most lights...but he kept good friends, and the love of his women, at least for a while.

Rick's family gives him excellent fodder for self examination. I'm glad I read these books and recommend them widely.

(This is the third of
Alex Bledsoe
Aug 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Bragg's third book about his origins in Alabama, this one deals with his alcoholic, unreliable father. There's a huge level of ego masquerading as self-deprecation here, as in, "look how poor I was" and "look how hard it is for me to relate to my own son," which all carry the implied "look how marvelous I am now for having gone through this," when really all he's done is be a better man than his father, not a hard job given the portrayal here. Still, Bragg can write and create a vivid mise-en-sc ...more
May 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Again, here is a book that you must stick with; it improves. By the end I really liked it - a lot! Yup, this one is as good as the author's Ava's Man, about his maternal grandfather and grandmother.

The book is set in Jacksonville, Alabama, in primarily the 1950s and 1960s. Don't make the hasty assumption that this book concerns racial questions. No, it is about poor whites. You know the term Hillbillies and what that brings to mind. The author is writing about his relationship with his father a
Aug 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book from the library because it's a memoir and is about a step-father/step-son relationship, two things of interest to me and dear to my heart. I know very little about the American South, so wasn't sure I would really care much about it. I know more about China than I do parts of my own country, sadly enough. But Rick Bragg is such a good story teller and brings Alabama and Texas to life through his vibrant writing that I found myself not able to put the book down--and it wasn ...more
Barbara Nutting
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fortunately, I read Shoutin’ and Ava first, so many of these people were familiar to me. Otherwise, I would have found it hard to keep everyone straight!! Many, many characters. The first two books were about his Mother and paternal Grandfather, this one told the story of his Father and that side of the family. I especially liked The Boy chapters.

Mr Bragg has a way of turning the denizens of Appalachia into something I’m not sure they were. I looked up the old timey photographs of this era and t
Linda Lipko
Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Few can write like this Pulitzer Prize winner! He is the example to use for anyone who teaches English or Writing. He can break your heart in one sentence and cause an out loud chuckle in the next.

He can tear your heart out and then make you smile at the sheer power of his marvelous mastery of words, eliciting feelings that at the hands of a lessor writer could not convey the subtle awe inspiring depth of emotion.

How I wish I could write like him. His style seems as natural as Rembrandt crafting
Dec 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
"He had been doing time in the county lockup when he got out the last time, sick and thin. But she was at peace, and it seemed so was he. There was no catalyst we knew of, no evangelism. It was more like he just got tired and decided he wanted to live quiet the rest of his days. She prayed he was truly over that life of self-destruction that took my father, but it didn't matter if it was permanent. Every day was a gift. Then an old charge, a dusty charge, resurfaced in the courts, and sent him ...more
Nov 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Rick Bragg snatches you out of your own life and immerses you in his history in such a way that you feel you are his vicarious wing-man, only to realize that you are only witnessing the parallels of his and your own experiences. His trilogy of All Over But The Shoutin', Ava's Man, and The Prince of Frogtown is a must-read for anyone, especially the Southern Man, searching for their own identity.
There is an interesting comparison between Rick Bragg and Lewis Grizzard in that their individual char
Jun 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Not as strong as "All Over but the Shoutin'" but still, no one evokes time and place among contemporary authors like Rick Bragg. He alternates stories about his much-reviled father -- a drunk who left his wife and three sons in the lurch -- with stories about him and his new stepson (his boy).

His portrait of his dad is more nuanced here, but the outcome of course does not change and you hurt all over again for his beloved mother. The stories about Bragg and his boy are delightful and fun to read
Kate Schwarz
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, audiobooks
I loved this audiobook. It was a tale that wove together Rick Bragg’s memories of his alcoholic, coming-home-to-leave-again father and Bragg’s becoming a stepfather when he fell hard for a woman who had a few sons of her own. It’s his own reckoning of what fatherhood was, is, and should be. He’s surprised by his “boy”’s sweetness but it surprises him because there was no sweetness allowed in his boyhood. I loved the audiobook because I love how Bragg spins a yarn but also his voice and Southern ...more
Jan 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was a great book, a follow-up to his previous books about his family - It's All Over But the Shouting, and Ava's Man. I enjoyed it very much, a look into what life was like for those living in the mill villages of the South. My father grew up in a mill village in Macon, Georgia - he read this book and said this was so true to what was endured by the families during those times. And Mr. Bragg doesn't just tell a story, he paints a moving picture full of detail and emotion. ...more
Apr 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
I love Rick Bragg's writing! In this third and last trilogy of his family memoirs he shares the struggles of his alcoholic father in an intricate merging of his own growing relationship with his stepson. "All Over But the Shouting" remains my favorite, but this is a good read with a powerful ending.

Reading that Rick is now a Professor of Writing at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa makes me want to go back to school!
Mark Elliott
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rick Bragg is easily one of my favorite authors and narrators (have experienced all his books thus far in audiobook format.) I loved this book like the others. The story bounced around a little bit, but the addition of his relationship with his new wife and stepson interweaving with his experiences with own father was interesting.
Jan Williams
Mar 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who like to read about family reminising
Shelves: done-reading
Rick Bragg is a down to earth writer who writes what he knows about, his family. He did not have a close relationship with his father and he tries to find out everything about him and what made him what he became. Rick used this book as catharsis for himself. Very down to earth and real
Jul 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rick Bragg is a great American storyteller. 'Nuff said. ...more
Jim Richardson
Dec 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I suppose Rick Bragg can be a little melodramatic but I really like listening to his narration and I can't help finding it interesting to hear about his family's struggles through poverty , alcoholism and violence. I enjoyed this final chapter of his story. ...more
Sep 04, 2012 rated it liked it
After reading and absolutely loving Rick Bragg's All Over But the Shoutin' and Ava's Man, I have been almost afraid to read The Prince of Frogtown for fear that it wouldn't stand up to the other two. Finally decided to jump in and found that it was good, but not AS good. For me, this one just didn't have the emotion the other two evoked. Having said that, it was still a fantastic book. In All Over but the Shoutin', the author writes about his father, a man who left his family over and over again ...more
Kevin Farrell
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Well, I did it again. I started reading a series with the latest book. Now, to work my way backwards to the beginning. Doh!

I love well written books about boys growing up. I guess this started with Mark Twain for me and I just keep looking for those great stories about boys and the stuff that they do. This book explores the boys growing into men in the author's family. Some of the men didn't handle the adult part very well and that caused a lifetime of trouble for several people in a tiny mounta
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
All Over But the Shoutin' is in my top ten books of all time. Yes, the titles on this list vary depending on my mood, but you'll surely find Rick Bragg in there somewhere. Like Mary Karr and her Liar's Club, like Peter Greenaway and his fluorescent world, like Mary Tyler Moore, Bragg gives everyday life a romance, a beauty, a humor. I can't comment yet on his Prince of Frogtown, but for the rest of his work...I'd like to live my life the way Rick Bragg writes.

...ok, now I've finished it and can

Jul 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Ethel
Recommended to Corny by: Claire Marx
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a wonderful portrait of an Alabama family living in rural poverty during the 40s and 50s juxtaposed against a tale of a man and his stepson getting to know each other in the current century. Bragg is a wonderful storyteller, although sometimes I felt he went so far off track as to lose the thread. I guess these digressions are necessary to understand the author's father. However, the use of random incidents to explain the destructive behavior that ensued is the only false note in the nar ...more
Aug 27, 2008 rated it liked it
I've now devoted enough time examining Rick Bragg's childhood. I get it. It was horrible. I enjoyed the first two volumes in this trilogy (All Over But the Shoutin' and Ava's Man) more than this one. I got the impression that he was meeting a deadline and rushed the writing. Basically the story of how after years of the single life, Bragg gets married to "the woman" and becomes the stepfather of a 10 year old boy. Believing that he is unsuited for stepfatherhood (is that a word? I doubt it.), he ...more
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This biographical work of the author and his family is so richly written if feels like fiction. The story covers pride, liquor, and belonging. The setting is north Florida, near the Georgia state line and the poor people from hills who just manage to live there. Just a taste of the story:

"That night, he just picked [the guitar], and they let the liquor run through their blood, circle their heart, and soften their heads, like a pillow, without laying down. It did not matter if the lyrics were sad
Sep 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
I missed the first two books in the trilogy, but I am happy I picked up the Prince of Frogtown in Book People. I was looking for a Summer read, and when I caught the cover and line "Double dog dares, Blow Pops, Cherry Bombs, Indian Burns, chicken fights and giggling half wit of choruses" I was hooked!

It turned out to be so much more, a wonderful Father/Son book! The relationship between Rick and his 10 year old step son makes this book tick! Rick a drinker/fighter grew up with a abusive father,
May 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Caroline Musselwhile
This is Rick Bragg's third novel about his family. This highlights his exploration of his father as a child and young adult, his attempt to understand a man who became an abusive alcoholic father. Rick writes the story of his father interspersed with the episodes of his new relationship with his stepson, a boy who has a childhood unlike Ricky's lowclass country upbringing.

This is another must read book. Rick Bragg will surely go down as one of America's great southern writers. he captures the ru
Amy Kannel
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
I know you probably get tired of my saying how Rick Bragg is the most brilliant, gifted writer. But I can't help it--it is the honest truth.

I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as All Over But the Shoutin' or Ava's Man...but the more it went on, the better I liked it. I found his relationship to/treatment of "The Boy" fairly troubling, but that improved as the book continued on. All in all it was an honest, courageous book, and Bragg can make people come to life on the page like none other. Hi
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a pretty darn good book. It seemed appropriate that I picked it up over Father's Day weekend. It spoke to me, perhaps because my roots are somewhat similar to Bragg's, though not as southern and not so rough, thank God. He gave a touching portrayal of a doomed man and of family relationships -- how you can love someone, hate him, pity him and admire him all at once. The intersticed passages with his step son were touching and comical, a welcome relief from the horror of his fa ...more
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Southern writers 2 20 Feb 11, 2012 10:40AM  

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Rick Bragg is the Pulitzer Prize winning writer of best-selling and critically acclaimed books on the people of the foothills of the Appalachians, All Over but the Shoutin, Ava's Man, and The Prince of Frogtown.

Bragg, a native of Calhoun County, Alabama, calls these books the proudest examples of his writing life, what historians and critics have described as heart-breaking anthems of people usual

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“Don’t worry about what people think, because once it’s all over the people who love you will make you what they want you to be, and the people who don’t love you will, too.” 34 likes
“Finally, I must thank the boy, for forgiving me for all that I have fumbled, broken and lost, and the simple fact that, sometimes, I just don't have good sense.” 3 likes
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