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All Over but the Shoutin’
By, Rick Bragg
This is memoir is a sad read, but amazing as well. Bragg grew up in poor Alabama with his two brothers, mother and extended family. His father was an abusive drunk and after time left the family. This is an amazing story of how this young man through hard work and dumb luck finds himself as a journalist for the New York Times.
The types of stories he covers are pretty sad and depressing, but isn’t most of the news like that? I didn’t think about it before this book, but there probably isn’t a lot to report on expect people’s losses, tragedies and sorrows.
In reading this book it reminded me of some of our own nations more recent history like the poor relationships between blacks and whites in the south during the 60s and 70s, the riots of the early 90s in Miami and some of the sad and famous stories that were in the headlines for weeks at a time. Rick also went to Haiti twice to cover the oppression of the poor and the atrocities that were occurring there.
I found this a fascinating book and very well written. I came to understand his life a little bit. It made me feel more compassion on the poor and overlooked; the downtrodden. It also makes me appreciate the families who don’t look for a free hand out, but work hard, shoulder burdens and press on.
This book is an example of the American Dream. Bragg does rise from poverty to stability, but you can certainly see how that does not cure his past and he isn’t able to throw away childhood and how it shapes his life.