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Ava's Man

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  5,738 ratings  ·  540 reviews
Ava's Man, by Bragg, Rick
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 21st 2001 by Knopf
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4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,738 ratings  ·  540 reviews

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Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Last August I read Rick Bragg’s “All Over But the Shoutin’” and was swept away by the poetry of his story, his family’s story, a story born of pain and sorrow and sadness and poverty. But as poor as his family might have been, they were rich in love, imagination, tradition, and family, in the things that matter most.

Ava was Bragg’s grandmother, his grandfather Charlie whom he never met as his grandfather’s death preceded Rick Bragg’s birth, and although he knew some details about his grandfather
Diane Barnes
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reads
I love Rick Bragg. I love his family almost as much as he does. I love his writing. I suspect that most of us have working class roots and can relate to elements of this family's story.
If you haven't read this author yet, give yourself a treat and run to the bookstore or library. If you have, then you are nodding your head in agreement.

On completion: I am sad to leave this book. It was a delight to read. I fell in love with Charlie, Ava's Man. the author's grandfather. Rick Bragg talked with all his relatives to find out about his grandfather. He was in fact born after his death. It wasn't easy finding out about Charlie because when he died everybody simply could no longer talk about him. It was too hurtful. You can look at this man and say he wasn't so great; he did so many things he shouldn't do. The fact is he
Kirk Smith
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this so much I could almost just start over and read again. I found Rick Bragg's style to be pure reading pleasure. Gosh that was good!
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superb writing in an outstanding and for me, absolutely memorable geographic placement. 80/ 100 miles either side of the Alabama / Georgia border-toward the North.

What a gift for Christmas week this family tale and Father Charlie's life story is. For sure the best and most singular to exact metaphor, dialect, comparisons and bonding emotions that I've read in many a year. And this goes in my top 5 for this decade (all I have read) without question. My book has a 2001 copyright and Bragg's works
Nov 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read All Over But the Shoutin' about 10 years ago, and thought it amazing. Why I have waited so long to read another Rick Bragg book, I have no idea.

Ava's Man is the story of Charlie Bundrum, Mr. Bragg's grandfather, who died before he was born. It is a living story though, vibrant and powerful, showing why Charlie Bundrum is a legend in his own family, but also showing his flaws.

Mr. Bragg has a wonderful facility with words, and there are so many delightful turns of phrase in this book. You
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 2004, I (by happenstance, if not a strange, whimsical predestination) found myself uprooted from 35 years of stasis in Los Angeles, and replanted in semi-rural Northeast Alabama. Many of my friends and acquaintances back home (and, heck, most people I meet here) wonder why I'd do something that crazy. I really don't have an explanation for any of them, but after reading Rick Bragg's brilliant love-letter to NE Alabama and his family ("Ava's Man"), I can direct any questioners of my sanity to ...more
Tom Mathews
As an amateur family historian I have a passion for finding the stories of our ancestors and using them to bring those people back to life. Rick Bragg, with this tribute to a grandfather he never met, has succeeded in doing this in a manner that far exceeds anything I could ever aspire to. Nobody in his family would tell him about Charlie Bundrum, his maternal grandfather. From what little they let slip from time to time, he knew that they weren't ashamed of him. It mystified Bragg that in a fam ...more
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to JG (The Introverted Reader) by: Rick
Rick Bragg never knew his maternal grandfather, Charlie, but the man is a legend among the family and friends he left behind. A good provider, a loving father, a teasing husband, a loyal friend, he was also a bootlegger who loved his own product and had a temper. He never turned it on anyone who didn't deserve it, and apparently some of the best stories about him took place when he'd been drinking.

My uncle has been telling me for--oh, years now, that I just have to read Rick Bragg. I do take his
d Kate dooley
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book to read outloud to your best friend. Then read it again, so you repeat all the good parts to yourself. Read it while the rain falls on a tin roof. Read it beside the woodstove. Read it in the cab of a pickup truck while the windshield wipers keep time. Read it to your kids. Read it to your kids in the rain by the light of a kerosene lamp. Keep it on a shelf in the kitchen and when you're feeling down, open anywhere and read. It's like music from an old time radio.

I couldn't get into this one as much as others. I realize the author is honoring a member of his family with a memoir, but I really wasn't invested in some of the stories and tales of the past about Charlie. I understand it is supposed to be light and humorous with all the drinking and brawlin' but couldn't really get interested in the book as many of the theme had the same themes and were repetitive. In the end, I felt a little cold by most of it. Plus, the narrative was a little too jumpy and ...more
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is definitely on my top ten favorites shelf, and will remain there no matter how many more books I may read and love. The language conveys a heavy, burdened, hot rural Depression-era south, and with so much love and respect. Rick Bragg never got to meet his grandfather and has pieced together this tale from stories gathered from aunts, his mother, grandmother and friends. Charlie Bundrum is an everyday hero, working hard and trying to feed a family on a meager existence in a time when ...more
This was a great way to end the 2017 reading year. It's a solid 4.5, but I'm rounding up for sentimental reasons. I see a lot of my step-grandad, dad and uncles in this book. (I was going to say "aside from the moonshine," but now that I think about it....)

Ava's Man is the second of Rick Bragg's books about his family. Where All Over but the Shoutin' focused mostly on Bragg's mother and the family's conflicted emotions surrounding his mostly absent, alcoholic, and abusive father, this book goes
Mar 28, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderfully gritty biography of the author's grandfather, whom he knows only through family legend, sung beautifully in the voice of the south. Dripping in metaphors and history, it left me whistful for my own past and thankful to be among my family as I absorbed it. As it's sat around the house it's been picked up by almost everyone and has developed an impromptu waiting list. I'm off to drop it at my Grandma Amy's right now.
Amy Kannel
Sep 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, own, southern
Some people can tell a good story—-the kind that makes you crazy to find out what happens, and then brokenhearted when it’s over. Some people can string words and sentences together in a way that makes the English language sing, and makes you marvel at the craft of writing. Rick Bragg is both, brilliantly. His sequel to All Over But the Shoutin’ is every bit as poignant and stirring.
Read this several years ago and it is one of my favorite books ever. Love this author and love his family. I wish I could meet all of them. The writing flows smoothly, almost like a song. I just finished listening to this on CD. The author's voice is soothing and calming and you can hear the love in his voice that he has for his family.
Jun 03, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the biography of Rick Bragg's grandfather, a hard-drinking, hard-fighting man who loved his family but couldn't always support them. Very well written but I had to wonder if he was worth all the ancestor worship. An interesting look at growing up very poor and white in the south. He does not mention blacks at all but surely they were a part of his grandfather's world.
I don't award five stars to many books, but Charlie's story is a real treasure and I savored every word of the author's almost poetic writing style. Thank you Rick Bragg for bringing the grandfather you never met to life. I don't think I will soon forget him.
This biography of Charlie Bundrum, Ava's Man, resonated so very much with my own memories of my grandpas. I treasured every single little detail of those hard times during the Great Depression. Both of my grandpas had large families. Both families had to rely on Mama to care for the kids, garden, livestock. The grandpas were on the road most of the time. My Mom was one of ten children, the oldest girl. My Dad was one of five, the oldest boy. The rustic shacks with no electricity, no indoor plumb ...more
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction
I loved reading about Charlie and his family. Charlie wasn't perfect but he was a solid, hard working man who loved his family.
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rick Bragg is a five-star author on my personal spreadsheet of fame.
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
In Ava's Man Rick Bragg has written a unique tribute to his maternal grandfather, Charlie Bundrum, a man he never knew but one he learned about through the stories of others. Bragg introduces us to Charlie through the carefully written anecdotes he has collected from those who knew Charlie personally. Charlie was a husband, father, roofer, and bootlegger. He was a man who lived by his own personal code in a specific area and place in time.

Charlie Bundrum was "so beloved, so missed, that the mere
Robin Hatcher
Oh. My. Word. I can hardly wrap my mind around how much I love this book. I listened to the audiobook, read by the author, in his wonderful Southern accent, which only served to immerse me even deeper into the story of Charlie, Ava's man (and the author's grandfather). The book was published in 2001, so it isn't new. But if you haven't read it, you should.

It is filled to the brim with wonderful turns of phrases that will make you not just fall in love with the people in the story but with their
Kay Johnson
Jan 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This follow-up to All Over But the Shoutin' shows us once again why Rick Bragg was honored with the Pulitzer Prize. This story chronicles the life of his grandfather, who Bragg never knew. He relied on the stories and legends handed down from family. Bragg's family is a sort of antithesis to the Tara and Twelve Oaks crowd of Gone with the Wind Fame. Having grown up in the south myself, I learned a great deal about southerners, like me, who aren't part of the mint-julep, debutante South. No, our ...more
Sep 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author Rick Bragg tells the story of his grandfather, Charlie Bundrum, using the stories told by Charlie's children and grandchildren during a family reunion in 1999. Charlie is a larger-than-life character; a tall, strong man who fiercely loved and protected his family all his life. His story is set in the time of the Great Depression, in rural Alabama.

My favorite quote:

"He ought to have a monument," Travis says, "because there ain't no more like him. All his kind are gone.

In a time when a nat
...more How have I lived without this author? I cannot wait to get my hands on his other books because this is one heapin' helping of wonderful! Rick Bragg never knew his grandaddy, Charlie Bundrum, and also knew remarkably little about him as well. Bragg set about rectifying the situation by asking questions at the family reunion. Turns out the lack of information is not, as he feared, because Charlie was a scallywag, which he was to a certain degree, but because Charlie was so loved and re ...more
Linda Lipko
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ava's man was Bragg's maternal grandfather who passed away before Rick was born into poverty.

Like William Faulkner, Bragg writes of the poor American South with such vivid descriptions that you feel as though you are walking along a hot, dusty path in a depression era back woods, spiting tobacco and drinking moon shine as your caloused hands and achy back trudge along yet one more soul depleting day.

Like Pat Conroy, Bragg captures the essence of an abusive father who simply won't let go of the
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this book...everything about it. The story is about the author's grandfather, Charlie Bundrum, who died before Bragg was born. As Bragg writes in the book, [Charlie] "was just a man, I guess, whose wings never quite fit him right."

I don't usually read non-fiction and I was leery but I am so happy that I trusted the suggestion of a friend and the many fabulous reviews. Bragg's way of writing captivated and delighted me. As someone born and raised in the south and a member of a
Gail P
Feb 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Heart felt story. If I hadn't read "All's over but the Shoutin " first I probably would have given it a 5 star. "All's over but the Shoutin " is the better work.

It's difficult to reach back in time, recent times particularly - times almost remembered. My parents grew up in Alabama during the great depression. I was talking to my father not long before he died at 81. He spoke a little of the hardness, but he was overcome by misery by the memories of the boys - black boys - who were his friends.
Gerald McFarland
This story of a backcountry man, Charlie Bundrum, ends up being a history of him and his family through the first half of the twentieth century. Charlie is a brawler, a moonshine maker and drinker, and a troublemaker. Most of his troubles are his own fault. Moving his family back and forth across the border between Alabama and Georgia, often because the law's after him or he's out of work, he somehow manages to provide food for his family. In the end, despite all his faults, he's loved by his ex ...more
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On the Southern L...: * Ava's Man, by Rick Bragg, December 2018 36 34 Jan 08, 2019 02:48PM  

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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
“It is easy to be liked when the world has no jagged edges, when life is electric blankets and peach ice cream. But to be beloved, a man needs a dragon.” 16 likes
“But if she was going to live in a damn jungle, she preferred it be a damn jungle in Georgia, she always said, and never saw any reason to elaborate on that.” 11 likes
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