Ethan's Reviews > All Over But the Shoutin'

All Over But the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg
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M 50x66
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Sep 17, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: nonfiction

This book was difficult to read. Not because of the descriptions of poverty, but because of the author. Bragg's bloated, melodramatic prose and the massive chip on his shoulder made reading this book a chore. What is the unholy attraction to one-line paragraphs? The godawful overwritten and pompous (humble beginnings, perhaps, but certainly not humble endings) narrative made me nauseous. The writing reminded me of Tuesdays With Morrie, another book that could have been decent if not for the melodrama. As I read passage after passage about his travels, it occurred to me that Bragg's brand of journalism is little more than ambulance chasing: he zips in, catalogs the hurts for his audience (composed of the very same people he insults for most of the book) and then zips out to collect his paycheck and journalistic accoladdes. Perhaps if he had spent less time talking about the great things he's done (and quoting himself, ugh) it might have been a better book. Perhaps if he'd actually toned down his obvious dislike of all things non-poor-southern. I don't know. This thing was fingernails on a blackboard for me.

There are moments in this book that are nice, and passages that are beautiful, but they are smothered by the rest of the garbage. It's obvious from the ratings that a lot of folks really love this book, but I am wholly unimpressed. These stories have been told much, much better by others.
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Reading Progress

03/10/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Kathi I found his style very tedious. Most of my book club loved the book , so glad to see someone who agrees with me!!


Rosemary His last name fits him well then? :)


message 3: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Phillips I had to read this book the summer before I started at the University of the South and Bragg then came and spoke to all of us incoming freshman. He was an arrogant jerk in person and actually had everyone who wasn't from the south stand up to call us all out for the sin of being born north of the Mason-Dixon Line. I appreciate seeing at least one review that saw him for who he is.


message 4: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy Native East Tennessean here--I agree with you. Pompous, last name fits him to a T. "Oh, look how much better I am than you! Look what I rose above!" was my general take home message.


message 5: by Lesley (new)

Lesley R. Great review! Crossing off my tr list


Rictus It was hard to start for me as well. I just couldn't slip into his style. After chapter 5 I couldn't put it down though.


Venita Pretti All the negative comments bout Mr. Bragg don't negate whaz true.
Humble beginnings and risin above are commonalities in Southern literature cause thaz what non- Southerners need to hear.
The stories Mr. Bragg tell caint have been told before unless he told 'em cause they're his stories.
His voice in his tellin rings true and his heart out- hollers his lungs.
I love this book. Caint think of much better accountin of what Momma means.


Mark What an ugly review. I found this book a beautiful, moving portrayal of a certain time and place in America that is a vast, yet hidden part of our history. I suggest anyone interested in heartfelt stories of the south should give this book a chance and judge for themselves.


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