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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  3,629 ratings  ·  267 reviews
"This book is too good to keep to yourself. Read it aloud with someone you love, then send it to a friend. But be sure to keep a copy for yourself, because you'll want to read it again and again."
Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey
Raney is a small-town Baptist. Charles is a liberal from Atlanta. And RANEY is the story of their marriage. Charming, wise, funny, and truthful, it is a n
Paperback, 227 pages
Published June 23rd 1997 by Ballantine Books (first published January 2nd 1985)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,629 ratings  ·  267 reviews

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Oct 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone but a Baptist without a sense of humor
Recommended to Lawyer by: Donna Callahan, former office manager, Office of the District Attorney, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama
RANEY, Clyde Edgerton's first novel on why it's not a sin to marry a Whiskeypalian even when you are a Free-Will Baptist

First of all, the illustration of Raney by Clyde Edgerton is not that of the first edition, first printing. Seeing as how I'm a goodreads librarian I should fix that.

First Edition, Algonquin Books, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1985

Yep. Fixed. That's now the correct image for the First Edition, First Printing of Raney

I know. I have one. It's signed. The REAL first printing
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sue by: On the Southern Literary Trail
At times wickedly funny, at times decidedly not, Raney is the story of the marriage of the titled young woman, a North Carolina Free Will Baptist, to Charles, a (former) Atlanta Methodist cum Episcopalian. Why do I include all these modifiers you may ask. Well, therein lies the story, and the humor, the mores of the 1970s, the story of young love and marriage.

We spend roughly two years with Raney and Charles and their extended families and various Preachers, local folk, debating the roles of wiv
Michele Casper
Aug 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, overrated
I wasn’t even going to review this book, but I need to put my feelings about it into words, for whoever may be listening. I was disappointed, even angry, at this book. I returned it to the library as quickly as I could.

I read this book because I found Clyde Edgerton’s Walking Across Egypt, which was cited in a talk at a BYU Women’s Conference, to be inspiring. That book is about a quirky, religious southern woman who, in her way, was a great soul and truly lived her religion.

Raney is also about
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I zipped through this in an evening, the story of newlyweds in the pre-civil rights, post-WW2 south. The story is told from the perspective of Raney, the wife, who comes from a down-home, family-oriented, Free Will Baptist background in North Carolina. She marries Charles, who is more educated, whose parents are Episcopal, who is a reader and a thinker. He is also a librarian, and while he isn't described as one, I'd like to call him a music librarian. After all, they meet when he is collecting ...more
Aug 17, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The first words out of my mouth after finishing this were, "This book is stoopid."

I didn't hate it, but gosh... I can't think of one commendable thing about it. Not the writing, story or characters. It just rubbed me the wrong way. Why, oh why did the two main characters marry each other? Did they ever have a conversation together before deciding to get hitched? I doubt it, because then they would've realized they are completely incompatible. Raney was alright, but I DETESTED CHARLES. Ooh, it ju
Kirk Smith
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first year of a marriage is one of the most difficult experiences I know of. Another difficult experience is learning when to seek a marriage counselor to save a relationship. That decision usually comes a bit late. This deceivingly humorous little book addresses such huge issues. I am bowled over by how much wisdom is concealed here as I laugh my way through each chapter.
So, SO un-politically correct. And therefore, SO funny!
Oct 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
"Halleluyah. Praise the Lord. Etc. Etc. Etc." I finished reading RANEY, the first Clyde Edgerton novel; and I'm pretty sure that, for me, it's the last Edgerton novel. Not long after LUNCH AT THE PICADILLY was released, one of my closest friends read it. She loved it; she bought me a copy; I HAD to read it. It has some charming bits, and a strong friendship got me through the novel; the novel didn't get me through the novel.

Several years earlier, another friend -- a less influential one -- raved
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mahoghani 23
This book gave me misconceptions. First, I thought this book was written back in the day but I see it was published in 1985 but the story started in 1975. Some of the language, using the "N-word" to be specific, didn't endear me to this author. I'm not sure if he was displaying the family and their beliefs towards Blacks or if he was expressing how he felt himself.

The story is very entertaining and based on Raney, her beliefs (religious), her marriage and lifestyle. Religion is just as sensitiv
Jan Priddy
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a touching novel, one that my mother handed to me back when she was regularly handing me funny and quirky novels. I love it.

I once gave it to a student for an independent reading assignment. Students were only required to write a lengthy and meandering letter in response. In her letter, she began by saying she didn't like the book because she did not understand how the two main characters could possibly have a relationship. By the time her letter was half written, she had changed her mi
Linda Hart
Jun 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
If you loved Walking Across Egypt, Edgerton's first novel, you'll love this also. It you haven't read either, pick up Walking...& read it, his best, first. ...more
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, southern
This book was HYSTERICAL. But it's probably only funny to southerners with a sense of humor about their religion. I can see plenty of people getting their panties in a wad about it.
See, the thing of it is, Raney's beliefs are fairly commonplace. Still. In this day and age. People probably wouldn't freely admit it, but I know it's true. And Charles is pretty forward-thinking for his time, I'll say that. Sometimes I could see his point, but more often I thought, "dude, you are wasting your breath
David Gramley
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have read several Edgerton books and was glad to find a used signed 1st edition copy of his very first book. I will think about this book for some time yet. Wrestling with its contents is a challenge. A good challenge. I grew up in North Carolina, and a part of my family was similar to Raney’s relatives. My aunts and uncles, who I loved dearly, were innocently racist and single minded to many ideals. My family’s traditions and beliefs differed from my own, as I was exposed to integration in sc ...more
Jan 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2009
This was a hilarious book, with lots of "laugh out loud" moments. Though the characters were definitely more one dimensional caricature, with exaggerated weaknesses and biases, they did serve to illuminate some of the disparities in Southern beliefs and traditions in the aftermath of the Civil Rights movement. If I had one quibble with the book, it was the author's broad generalizations of the differences between small town fundamentalists (read ignorant and bigoted) and big city liberals (read ...more
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a fun book about a young Baptist woman who marries a "liberal" from the big city, and their trials and tribulations (often hilarious) as they learn about each other and marriage and how the two of you aren't the only ones affected by your marriage. Cute book. ...more
Ann Marie Senter
May 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
I spent the first 3/4 of this book wondering why on earth these two would ever have decided to get married. Why did this intelligent, liberal, educated man choose to marry into this family of racist, small-minded, Bible-beaters? Why did a sweet, naive girl like Raney choose to marry a worldly, arrogant snob like Charles? Had they ever spoken to each other, ever had a single conversation about values and beliefs, before walking down the aisle? The story is told from Raney's point of view, so we o ...more
Oct 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book and some of it was right on the money. But, for the most part I didn't. While it strived to be a story of two different cultures colliding and somehow reaching accommodation in the end, it didn't feel real. The cultures (and the characters) were too different, it is hard to imagine Raney and Charles ever having gotten married to begin with. Also, both Raney and Charles seemed to be more caricature than character. If that's what Mr Edgerton was intending, he achi ...more
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Raney is Southern fiction. You have to be Southern, I think, to enjoy it. If not, you're offended by the porn reference and maybe the drinking. But this is almost a coming-of-age story, and for women raised in the Bible belt of false religion, the message is a freeing one. Lighten up, people! God is not a God of rules (at least not for the people who follow Him ... a strange plot-twist, no?).

Charles, the husband, is so rich, such a well-developed character with whom you can emphathize. Raney, t

Abigail | notesfromgail
This was my first Clyde Edgerton novel and I am excited to read more. The ebb and flow of the book was extremely fluid and pleasant. The most ostentatious subject that Raney and Charles disagreed on during their first year of marriage was that of racial prejudice. Set during the civil rights movement in South Carolina, this subject was a reoccurring topic between the two. I thought the way Edgerton addressed ideations from both sides gave a lens of how ingrained it can be just from upbringing. H ...more
Jun 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: the-dirty-south
I love a great story about marriage, and this is a great story about marriage. Very funny. Very Eudora Welty. I’m glad I’ve finally read Clyde Edgerton.
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-reading
Every few years I have to reread this hilarious but truthful novel by one of the south’s most beloved and talented living writers. It’s a funny, disturbing, and true-to-life story of a young southern woman who’s struggling to accept behaviors and beliefs that she was “raised to know better.” Raney is an unforgettable character whose family is a lot like my own. And who doesn’t love a male, community college librarian?
Jan Boyd
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Having never read anything by Clyde Edgerton, I picked up the reissued “Raney” at the 2017 Southern Festival of Books. I’ve never heard a clearer fictional southern voice than that of Raney.
Justin Haynes
Raney is such a wonderful little read. There isn't a whole lot to say about the first year of her marriage to Charles Sheppard except that from page to page you'll be mad at one, then the other, then both at the same time. It's obvious the two love each other but coming from different backgrounds leads to a mess of problems that they can solve only on their own.

With Raney Edgerton established himself as a new and unique voice in the south over thirty years ago and today he is considered one of t
Miss Starling
Aug 20, 2011 rated it did not like it
I was disappointed with this book. After reading Walking Across Egypt, I was excited to delve into another Edgerton book, but alas, this was not fullfilling enough. The main character is annoying with her naivety throughout the story. She listens to everyone's opinions, and TAKES everyone's opinions. She doesn't really think for herself and she's just all around dumb at times, especailly when confronting her husband about the things he does that I don't care for. And Charles, her husband, is an ...more
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-1998
I was looking for Edgerton's book WALKING ACROSS EGYPT when I came across RANEY and decided to give it a try. I read it one Sunday afternoon, and chuckled over it all the next day. I think I quoted half the book to my sister Lori. (And then she read it and quoted it back to me!)

It's the story of a "modern" Southern woman who is a member of the Free Will Baptist church and her marriage to a liberal well-educated, Episcopalian man named Charles. After their marriage they reside in Listre, North Ca
Marilyn Hartl
Sep 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Edgerton is a hoot! He has the southern voice down pat, and I love his stuff. This book brings back memories of my childhood in east Texas, and my mother's friends who played bridge together every few weeks at someone's home. Their conversations used to sound like the conversations that Raney's family had around the dinner table, and my mom used to tell my dad about them when he came home after work. I never really realized how apart my parents felt until after I was older and their friendships ...more
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read for 2017 Pop Sugar challenge a book that always makes you laugh. I have not read this in a number of years but it still made me laugh. The language of Raney and her family reminds me of home. The book is sadder than I remembered as well, but overall very well written.
Feb 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to M'diya by: My sister
Raney is a small-town Baptist. Charles is a liberal from Atlanta. And RANEY is the story of their marriage. Charming, wise, funny, and truthful, it is a novel for everyone to love.

Definitely, a lovely book. It’s so much real like your own life. Responsibilities, relationships, family & everything related to these; fun, happiness, problems. Readers who enjoy light reads must give it a try. Different characters with different personalities & opinions, you may tend to disagree with them but still,
Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this for a Southern Fiction book club. I love Edgerton's characters. Raney's provincialism is endearing, though maddeningly frustrating at times. She and Charles, newlyweds and opposites in so many ways, attempt to find common ground or compromise in all subjects that matter - religion, race, sex, family, just to name a few. The scene on the feed bags gave me a little hope for a marriage that might succeed, despite the odds. ...more
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On the Southern L...: Raney, by Clyde Edgerton: March 2013 24 49 Mar 19, 2013 08:29AM  

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Clyde Edgerton is widely considered one of the premier novelists working in the Southern tradition today, often compared with such masters as Eudora Welty and Flannery O'Connor.

Although most of his books deal with adult concerns--marriage, aging, birth and death--Edgerton's work is most profoundly about family. In books such as Raney, Walking Across Egypt, The Floatplane Notebooks, and Killer Dill

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