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The Cracker Queen: A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  436 ratings  ·  88 reviews
The Cracker Queen: A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published April 16th 2009 by Gotham
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Average rating 3.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  436 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book reminds me of David Sedaris or Jeannette Walls. It is a humorous memoir about growing up poor in the south with a crazy family. So many times when I read a book like this I think the humor sounds forced, but not in this book. I liked her childhood years better than her adult years and I really could have done without the uplifting messages at the end, but I did enjoy this book and it was a quick read.
This author is what is wrong with The Contemporary American South. I was disgusted with nearly everything in her story. Hannon, like most contemporary Southern writers, romanticizes this largely ignorant area of the country and embraces some of the worst trash out there. Why? 'Cause they're kinfolk, that's why.

First, let's clear the air about the South: this is an historically rich and beautiful area, full of deep roots, mouthwatering cuisine, and long-standing family traditions. This is the bir
Apr 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
All I can say about this book is that I had a lot of fun reading it. Hannon gives her account of growing up poor, southern, white, and clever. Unlike the redneck portrait that is often painted of poor southern whites she is what I would call a pragmatic progressive. The book is full of humor, tragedy, and down right good common sense.
Alan Wells
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A down-home testimonial to endurance and resiliency, Ms. Hannon has served up a narrative dinner beginning with a young life fraught with harrowing, painful circumstances and experiences; along with side dishes of poverty, instability, and fear. All washed down though, with all-you-can-drink humorous perspectives and a dessert of personal triumph and celebration. Going back for "seconds" takes you through her launch to independence and self-reliance. It's a five-star meal; no question.

The Cracke
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
I read this book because I enjoy Southern writers and their descriptions of life growing up in the South. These writers interest me because I grew up in the North and the contrasts are so great, and I am now a transplanted "southerner". I have read some wonderful books about life in the south, Rick Bragg's being my favorites, but this book just didn't hold the same appeal. There was something that came off as, almost, bragging, about the lifestyle that Hannon endured. The stories were very one d ...more
Mar 04, 2010 rated it did not like it
I couldn't finish this one. I couldn't relate to the author enough to get into it and enjoy the journey. The author relates stories from her childhood, most of which are outrageous along the lines of Jeannette Wall's The Glass Castle, but they don't feel real. Many times I wondered if the author hadn't exaggerated or even created the incidents just to make a more interesting book. The stories are told at surface level with no reflection on the thoughts or motives of the people involved. I was an ...more
Nov 12, 2015 rated it liked it
When I saw a small UNC-TV public television piece on her story-turned-movie set in Warner Robins, GA, it was as if a small jolt of electricity coursed through my body. There is a nonfiction book set in my childhood "backwater" (Hannon's description) hometown?! Sadly, there was very little of my childhood to recognize. Place names were changed, or simply unnamed, and she doesn't mention which schools she attended. We are separated by just a couple of years but her childhood world is 100% differen ...more
Jul 25, 2009 rated it did not like it
I started listening to this book on audio since now that I live in the south I like to read books about southern life. It seemed like it was suppose to be a book about the strength of character of the southern poor. So far all it is about is drinking, spousal abuse, drugs, and neglected children. Why on earth would I want to read about someone glorifying all that as if it were something beautiful? Maybe it all turns out better in the end and there is some sort of moral to the story, but I am not ...more
Apr 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this memoir, although early on I wondered how this woman could have possibly made it out of childhood alive. Ms Hannon tells her story with a great deal of humor, but without glossing over the more sordid details of life with an alcoholic mother who liked the fellows after the early death of her father. But survive she did and in the process saw her mother get clean and sober. A testament to the grit of the southern woman born without a spoon, let alone a silver one.
Jul 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
Ended this fiasco on page 136. I like southern stories, real or fiction, and was intrigued by the title but this so called Cracker Queen was down right dull. It was like listening to a drunk friend try to tell you some irrelevant story who just kept getting sidetracked into some other crappy story.
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
OMG!!!! I saw my Southern self in this book...very entertaining..shows the absolute resilence of southern women...rock on, touched this girl's heart and soul!! Thank you!! ...more
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books ever. A whole lotta life lessons, with lots of sparkle and laughter mixed in, in one book. Makes all us Southern Cracker Queens want to don our tiaras and kick up our heels.
Mary Blye Kramer
Apr 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book just reeked of inauthenticity. Each chapter was a trite essay - part one was bits and pieces of an often horrific childhood with a chipper exclamation of how wonderful everyone was, really, if you just looked deeply enough and had the right attitude.

Hannon had a mountain of material here - she just didn’t use it well. She could have - should have! - delved more deeply into her pain, showing us her life rather than telling us about it, and showing us the good in her parents rather than
Jun 27, 2010 rated it did not like it
Yet another memoir of a Southerner which is highly appraised by the powers that be, but is just, in my opinion an excuse to make fun of the South. It was NOT funny. I actually felt sorry for the author, I know she wrote this memoir thinking she would show all her 'friends' how clever she was, how absolutely hilariously tragic southern 'white trash' families are (of course with hearts of gold), But the stories were not well developed. It just left a bad taste in my mouth. Don't waste your time re ...more
Jun 19, 2009 rated it did not like it
There are a lot of tragic-yet-funny, rollicking Southern reads out there, but this is not one of them. First off, I listened to the audiobook and I cannot comprehend how a book can come from a "voices of the South" imprint and then be read by someone with no trace of a Southern accent. What?!? And this book just seemed sort of pointless. The author's life didn't seem exciting or tragic or funny or "large" enough to warrant a memoir, and her philosophies didn't grab me either. ...more
May 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
well started out funny/appalling/amusing. then started feeling a bit well-if-Rebecca-Wells=can-do-it-so-can-I, then finally it is just way to self-actualization 101 for my blood. and does she get more mileage labeling herself a "cracker queen"? imho, just the white equivalent of the "N" word, not attractive, not all that funny. and the last part, down right preachy ...more
Sharon Huether
Dec 19, 2016 rated it liked it
A southern girl, but not the Belle of the Ball. Her family lived on the fringes of the community.
Both parents abused the bottle.
Rette, finished college and was on her way to be what she wanted to do. Rette lived in Savannah Georgia. She expanded on all it's imperfections. Some very funny.
There were humorous saying through out the book.
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
I listened to the 5 cd audiobook.

Out of the 5 cds, the book had 3 cds worth of good material filled with interesting life stories, childhood experiences, and anecdotes. She grew up relatively poor and had a mother who was a drug addict... Unfortunately, there seemed to be 2 cds full of filler. There was a whole cd dedicated to a very long list of how to be a cracker queen and unusual expressions that Southerners use. The last 20% of the book was excruciating. It felt like the whole cd should ha
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though her childhood was harrowing at times, the author was able to find joy in living. This was probably her inherent personality being fed by two parents who loved her, but were flawed. It’s hard to overcome a difficult childhood if love isn’t a part of it. The vignettes from her childhood are told with a lot of humor. The latter part of the book contains solid insight on rules for happiness. We can all learn from these reminders. I enjoyed it!
May 31, 2020 rated it liked it
The autobiographical portions are easily a 4-star approaching 5-star affair. The philosophical 3rd part is maybe only 2-star. She has a very unique story to tell and a great way of telling it but I’m less certain of the belief system she ultimately espouses since some of it seems at odds with her story. Still admirable for its honest look at the messiness and contradictions of a particular kind of Southern life. Recommended.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Would like a deeper dive into self awareness.

I really appreciated how down to earth the author is about her life, her mom, and her grandmother. I would have liked to hear more about her relationships as a teenager, what she needed while her parents were selfishly taking what they needed. Not that are not your heros.
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Playing catch up today - you know all th0se books that you didn't quite finish but are worth going back and finishing? That happens to me on Kindle.

This little book was sad, ridiculous and funny. You can skim your way right through this, enjoying every minute.
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cultural, nonfiction
The first part of this novel was crammed with interesting anecdotes about her family, their crazy lives and fights. The next part tells of her successes and the last is rather preachy. So if your like multiple personalities, you might like this book
Aug 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a quick read following Lauretta Hannon's adventures through life as a self-proclaimed "Cracker Queen". It's a mix of family stories and Hannon's take on the poorer classes she comes into contact with through her work and living circumstances. ...more
Carrie B
It is well written and funny in areas but the writer does romanticized the southern stereotypes like rebelling against the government or any authority figure (the police), duping the welfare system and love of guns. She also contradicts herself a few times.
Aunttammie Pogue
Jun 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Cute book--has references to Macon, Dublin, and the Silver Skillet!
Jul 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eaudio-bcd
This caught my attention only because she's from Georgia. It had a few amusing moments but they were very few and very far between.
It felt like it would never end. Not worth it, IMO.
Sally Kilpatrick
Hannon has a way of capturing people, and her own humanity shows frequently. So does her humor.
Paul Pessolano
Feb 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Ladies, this book is definately for you, it is absolutely, positively, not a guy book.

"The Cracker Queen" is the story of Lauretta Hannon. It should be of interest to you Southern ladies in that it takes place in Warner Robbins, Savannah, and Atlanta.

This is not only the story of he life but gives insight into overcoming the obstacles, trials, and disappointments in life and become a "Cracker Queen". In the final chapters of the book she expounds on the philosophy of the "Cracker Queen".

Apr 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first two parts of this memoir were extraordinarily entertaining and quotable, but I had mixed feelings about it. It didn't feel sincere.

The author claims to be poor and gives several examples. However, she also has moments of extraordinary privilege that are glossed over and unexplained. For example, the author just chooses to go to UGA after graduation. There is no explanation as to how she paid for it?! I just don't think the author was as poor as she claims, or at least not for long.

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