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(Crum Trilogy #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  580 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Like lots of eighteen-year-olds, the boy at the center of Crum doesn't know where he's going, but he knows he is leaving. This novel, named after a real-life, gritty little coal town on the West Virginia-Kentucky border, offers a sometimes shocking, often outrageous, always irreverent look at this young man’s attempt to escape his home.

In Crum, the boys fight, swear, chase
Paperback, 170 pages
Published September 28th 2001 by Vandalia Press (first published 1985)
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Rocket Boys by Homer HickamThe Glass Castle by Jeannette WallsStorming Heaven by Denise GiardinaCrum by Lee MaynardThe Unquiet Earth by Denise Giardina
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190 books — 77 voters
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  580 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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Kathy Ferrell
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shocking, kind of horrifying, and achingly honest. This is one of the all-time FUNNIEST books I have ever read. One day, when I am so old I don't care anymore, I'm going to write a book about my own Appalachian home town. The townsfolk will most assuredly run me out on a rail, but I promise it will be an accurate portrayal of what it is REALLY like, navigating a sea of buffoonery.

Strictly for adults, most certainly. Lots of crude, sexual humor. But if you are not easily offended, I challenge you
Rebecca Recco
Jan 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I loved it. I can see why it was so controversial, but it is very well-written. Maynard's characters and metaphors make the book feel like a film. In fact, most of the characters seem so exaggerated that they seem like film characters. In fact, this would be a great film, although my home state of West Virginia would probably hate that. ...more
Robert Beveridge
Jan 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Crum is one twisted little novel. Actually, it's less a novel than a collection of vignettes about the (non-fictional) coal-mining ghost town of Crum, WV, and the author's (presumably fictional) experiences growing up. After a long and tedious chapter of setup, Maynard takes off. He wears his Jean Shepherd influence on his sleeve a bit much in places, but there are far worse authors in this vein by whom to be influenced. As such, Crum tends to read like In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash with ...more
Emily O
Jul 17, 2012 added it
Shelves: non-fiction
Warning: Book contains explicit dialogue
I'd heard such good things about Crum that I really wanted to read the book, especially since it's about a WV boy and a WV town. Now that I'm finished, I can honestly say that most teenage boys will like it for sure. There are exploding outhouses, fights with KY boys, and lots of talk about sex. That is probably the biggest caveat I have in recommending the book to students. Author Lee Maynard leaves nothing to the imagination in describing the boys' fanta
Feb 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Many stories are good, but I found the writing does not flow as one would hope. In particular it often seem like a set of short stories that do not fit together, in spite of being a collection of stories with the same people in chronological order. Many characters were so undeveloped I had a hard time remembering who they were. Which is a pity because some of the stories were funny, and one or two scenes even moving.
Robert Mckinney
May 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My father grew up in a West Virginia coal town not unlike Crum. He loved this book and gave me the strong impression that if the events therein did not happen to Lee Maynard, it at least felt like they had happened to my Dad. When I read the book, I tore through it in one night and laughed almost the entire time.
Christopher Rex
Mar 08, 2009 rated it liked it
Hilarious. Dark, sarcastic humor. Step into the world of (really) small town Appalachia. It's as bad as you think. It made me think about loyalty, hometown and friendship on a larger level, but mostly I just laughed and was glad I wasn't from Crum. ...more
Rhonda Browning
Apr 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of the funniest, nastiest, little books I've ever read--or listened to (the audiobook features music by Pops Walker, and is great)! Set in Crum, WV, Lee Maynard tells it like it is through characters so vivid you'll think you know them! ...more
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Like Rick Bragg's book "its All Over But the Shoutin'", this book beautifully describes the hard scrabble life of a child growing up in remote, rural part of the country. Not a life to envy, but one that has deep roots and needs to be understood. ...more
Tim Mccollough
May 17, 2009 rated it liked it
In the style of a 20th-century Adventures of Tom Sawyer.... just not quite as good.
Dean King
Nov 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Down and dirty. Not quite The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia, thank goodness.
Sherry Chandler
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Okay, okay, the feminist in me ought to criticize this book but, truth, I flat out loved every fabulus moment of it.
Apr 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Well-versed, despite having paid little to no attention to schooling (although unnecessarily repetitive in several passages. An account of coming of age in a small, unincorporated coal-mining town during the Korean War. The high jinks of the young adults navigating this particular place and time are entertaining in their own way but, at the same time, heartbreaking and discouraging, reminding me of all the things I didn't like about some of the kids in my own high school days (although to a vast ...more
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gritty, not what I usually read but I really enjoyed. Maynard is a colorful writer.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it
3 and 1/2 stars for this. Quite entertaining, esp. the part about the preacher chasing him and the others on Halloween.
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was really enjoyable. A little coarse and irreverent, but certainly believable. Highly recommended.
Traci Murphy
Love the part about the dead horse :D :p . You guys ever hear dead horse by guns n roses? Bwahahaha
Nov 30, 2020 rated it did not like it
Deeply depressing. Not a good read.
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
A gripping, harrowing, and very honest novel about boyhood and coming of age in a western West Virginia coal town, told in a straight-forward, up-front, voice that some readers have called everything from "filthy" to "overstated" but really is simply the argot of teenage boys. Life in poor, remote, towns as described in this book IS difficult and it can also be mind-numbingly boring for teens. I have friends who have grown up in places like this and Lee Maynard does a sterling job of capturing t ...more
Barry Bridges
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maynard tracks growing up poor in the 50's without realizing one is poor. In our enlightened age, we expect too much order and categorization to realize what life was like before our lifetime. Maynard simply unfolds the story without passing any judgement on the things we today consider politically correct, exposing the reader to matter-of-facts of life without the filters of all the bleeding heart or self-righteous critics. Excellent work at descriptive gems, demonstrating creative and literary ...more
Dan Pepper
Aug 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Crum is probably the most filthy novel I've ever read, in every sense of the word. It's the story of growing up poorer than dirt poor in the worst part of West Virginia in the 50s. People are dirty, they do terrible things to each other, they swim in a shit-infused steam called the Tug River, they think of sex acts involving apples, they steal, are generally terrible to each other and, mostly, they're just mean, petty assholes-even the ones we like. There are good people who live there, of cours ...more
Kim Serene
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Crum is an intimate and often humorous telling of the adolescent side of small town life in West Virginia. Maynard tells the story in a way that reminds me of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn - a series of little stories about the shenanigans of a boy with a solid love/hate relationship with the town and the cast of characters that surround him. The way Maynard brings the town to life through his descriptions of the landscape - the hills, river, fields and hollows - the development of characters, a ...more
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
There's some part of our original geography that sticks to us, perhaps for our whole lives. The town of Crum, or its worldly version, has remained the original map of Lee Maynard's self and he tours it here in this novel. Crum, the town, feels like any poor village in any place and any time of the world, populated by a cast of sodden reprobates and the children who aspire to become them. The narrator must leave, and in doing so must deny any hold the place may have on him. He knows as we must kn ...more
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
I heard the author talk about his books on NPR and REALLY wanted to read Crum so I tried to order it on Amazon and it was $47! Instead I ordered it from the library. It took a month or so, but I got it! Worth the wait, but I read the forward which really spoiled a lot of the surprise for me. The book is about a boy who lives a hardscrabble existence and raises himself in a very small town in West Virginia in Appalachia. Knowing nothing about this area, I found this book raw, interesting and some ...more
Aug 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
CRUM is a small, gritty glimpse at gritty, small-town life. I loved how Maynard's writing dances a fine line between literary and trash, and the narrator's experiences go from insightful to crass with one turn of a page. The characters shine, each filling a yeah-I-know-someone-like-that in their small town role. If sometimes it was just too much - the sex, the shannigans, or the Kentucky "pigfuckers" across the river - I couldn't help but laugh and hang on for whatever unbelievable turn was comi ...more
Beth Schneider
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I heard the author speak on NPR the other day and he seemed rather interesting. This is actually a book that was published in 1988 & is the first of a trilogy. Maynard was on the radio talking about his latest book which is the third in the series. But I typically like to start a series in the beginning so I opted for this one. Crum follows a boy growing up in a West Virginia coal-mining town and his desire to escape from it. It was excellently written and truly entertaining to read. I'm looking ...more
I had never heard of Lee Maynard, but I do listen to a lot of Fresh Air.
One night I was catching up on a backlog of Fresh Air podcasts. Maynard was being interviewed last year about his latest book, and I think I fell a little bit in love with him in that half hour. He exudes Appalachia in all the best ways. before the show was over, I'd downloaded this book and stayed up most of the night reading it. I love his economy of words and how he makes even the most outrageous (or unlikeable) characte
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is a romp! A trashy, often poignant romp. It's like I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell with a backwoods, hillbilly twist. The stories are too unbelievable to be made up. Maynard's writing is unapologetic, equally candid when telling stories of sexual escapades or outhouse explosions. The micro-politics of small-town life are outlandish, played by distinctive characters just trying to conquer their own boredom. Crum feels like a very real place, even though it's small enough to not actually ...more
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
The cover said it was a an Appalachian Catcher in the Rye. Not quite. I didn't dislike the novel because of the sometimes explicit content, and certainly not because of the portrayal of that place (with which I am quite familiar). I disliked it more because of the overall tone, which I just couldn't get past to see the reverance for his homeland that so many reviewers wrote about. Again, this was one from my mom's bookshelf....but I know she never read it, and I'm glad! ...more
Karen Koppy
Aug 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: modern-fiction
This book was well written, but a little crude to read. It was a realistic novel about a young boy growing up in a small town full of poorly educated "white trash". He was able to see what the future would hold for him if he stayed there, and he knew early on that he would be leaving someday. This is the first in a trilogy, but I really don't have the desire to read the rest right now. Maybe sometime in the future. ...more
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Lee Maynard was born and raised in the hardscrabble ridges and hard-packed mountains of West Virginia, an upbringing that darkens and shapes much of his writing

Maynard's novel, Crum, was the first original fiction published by Washington Square Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. In its first month of publication, the novel rose to No. 8 on the Doubleday Best Seller List. The novel has been tau

Other books in the series

Crum Trilogy (3 books)
  • Screaming with the Cannibals
  • The Scummers

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  Jordan Morris is a comedy writer and podcaster whose credits include @Midnight, Unikitty! and Earth to Ned.  The sci-fi comedy Bubble is his...
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