Larry Bassett's Reviews > Walking Across Egypt

Walking Across Egypt by Clyde Edgerton
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it was ok
bookshelves: fiction, southern-writers

All My Children, a television soap opera that aired on ABC for 41 years, from January 5, 1970 to September 23, 2011, makes it into Walking Across Egypt as a minor character. I have never watched All My Children or any other soap opera but I do know what makes a soap opera and have read a few books that I think would qualify. But forty-one years? Am I that old? I guess so.

But I did watch The Andy Griffith Show so I know that seventy-eight year old Mattie Rigsbee must be related to Aunt Bee. They are both too cute, way too cute. I mean, just how cute is it to have washed your toilet seat with Listerine instead of alcohol so that it is sticky instead of clean? (Her older sister discovers the stickiness and points it out to her.) And how many times have you read a book where cleaning the toilet seat is discussed? Once is enough for me and I have no fear of it coming up again anytime soon.

And since I am on the subject of toilets, here is another snippet that you might think is TMI:
“Excuse me,” said Elaine. She stood, walked down the hall and to the bathroom, closed the door, pulled down her slacks and panties, sat down on the commode, put her elbows on her knees, her palms on her chin.

You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. This is just a hint of what you can look forward to reading in this way down to earth book. Mattie gets into the bathroom too.
She put on her housecoat and sweater and went to the bathroom. Thank goodness she’d always been regular. No problems there, Because she ate so well. Anybody who ate all the vegetables she did couldn’t help but be regular – didn’t need Milk of Magnesia like Alora did. And never the first hint of a hemorrhoid.

Believe me, I’m not making this up!

About halfway through Walking Across Egypt the author is born again or has an epiphany or something. A truly interesting and engaging character is introduced: Wesley, a teenage delinquent with a foul mouth, verbally and dentally. He brings energy to a mostly geriatric cast of characters. There is already conflict between the generations well represented as Mattie interacts with her adult children Robert and Elaine. In what I can only describe as a Mad Hatter’s tea party, Wesley is at the center of a large multigenerational gathering for an impromptu meal in Mattie’s dining room. There is action and repartee including an attempt by Robert to introduce a new girl friend to his mother, the arrest of the escaped Wesley by the Sheriff and the usual effort by Mattie to offer everyone who enters the house some of her delicious homemade food. But still we must return to the author’s favorite room:
Laurie was in the bathroom. She sat on the commode, looking at the space heater. What a strange meal, she thought. Robert certainly has an unusual family.

Mattie urgently wants a grandchild from one of her unmarried children but there are some problems.
Robert could easily have a child – as long as he married someone younger than himself. But he’s better hurry; she’d just read somewhere that sperm from a man over forty-four started losing its freshness. She’d been reading so much about sperm lately. Used to be you didn’t read the first thing about sperm, but it had got so you read about it in Reader’s Digest even. It used to be you could count on them to keep out that kind of thing,

Mattie shares this spermatic information, initially intended for Robert, with Elaine’s new boyfriend. Every male is a potential (if not potent) father of her grandchild! The short phone conversation on this topic is startling for the new boyfriend and humorous for the reader.

Thank goodness it is a short book. I was happy I struggled through the first horrible half of the book to get to the much better second half. There was finally some action (but not car chases) and suspense (but not horror) and humor (some actually laugh out loud). But author Clyde Edgerton did not fare well with me. One star for the first half and three stars for the second for an overall two stars. I will not be seeking out more of his books.

N.B. Aunt Bee from Mayberry was not in this book but was surely there in spirit.
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Reading Progress

December 2, 2012 – Shelved
May 5, 2013 – Shelved as: fiction
May 5, 2013 – Shelved as: southern-writers
July 8, 2013 – Started Reading
July 10, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Reid (new)

Reid Larry, this one (review) had me laughing. We must return to his favorite

Larry Bassett Reid wrote: "Larry, this one (review) had me laughing. We must return to his favorite"

I think bathroom jokes have a limited appeal in literature. But this book might make a successful PG-13 movie.

April Thanks for your entertaining and inspiring review. I've been inspired to spend my time on a different book. I'm on disk 2 of this audiobook. I must have started the book once before because it sounds all too familiar but I don't remember what happens. I also don't remember caring. The reader has put me to sleep three nights in a row. After reading your review, I'm ready for a new bedtime story.

Thanks for saving me from spending any more of my story time with this too cute Aunt (Wanna) Bee book.

message 4: by Evelyn (new)

Evelyn I was actually thrilled when i saw this was a book! My family and I loved the movie when we were younger and I was going to get it to read out loud to my kiddos...well Im thinking based on this review that i might need to read it first to decide if i should or not

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