Write Again…All Over But the Shoutin’

Published 3:45 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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Friends, from time to time I have the audacity to recommend a book to you.
Now, that’s okay, but on occasionI opine that you simply must read my recommendation. That’s, perhaps, where the audacity leaks in. Or not.
Among those books I wish were required reading for everyone -everyone – is “The Diary of Anne Frank.” This recommendation I have made before. I stand by it.
So. Let me apprise you of another book that I would put on the required reading list.
It is “All Over but the Shoutin'” by Rick Bragg. It is autobiographical.
Never heard of it? Of him? Well, neither had I. He may be the best I have ever read. Ever. What this uniquely talented man can do is ineffable. To truly understand his consummate talent you must read him. I haven’t the word skills to adequately explain or describe his abilities.
Rick Bragg (his given name was Ricky, for his mother loved “I Love Lucy.”) You remember Ricky Ricardo.
His growing up years were spent in hard-scrabble poverty. He was surrounded, influenced, by hard drinkers, alcoholics; and lower working class men who had a propensity for violence.
His mother was ill-educated, long-suffering, and fully committed to loving and striving mightily to provide the basic needs and essentials for her three sons.
His father was, well, not worth ajar of warmed-over (you provide the liquid). His father’s inexorable journey toward a demise at an early age was brought to an inevitable conclusion. No family member attended his funeral, although his wife, Rick’s mother, did go to the funeral home to view the body.
You may be thinking, “Why on earth would I want to read this depressing book?”
Let me sort of answer that this way: If you read it, I believe you’ll say to me “You were right. Depressing though it was, it was as moving and informative as anything I’ve ever read. That man truly ‘gets it.'” 1
Who, then should read it? Just about anyone, men and women, regardless of station in life, religious affiliation (especially Baptists, but not limited to that denomination), and all folks who feel an unused brain is a wasted brain.
“All Over but the Shoutin'”. Are you up for it?
I dare you.