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When Scott McClanahan was fourteen he went to live with his Grandma Ruby and his Uncle Nathan, who suffered from cerebral palsy. Crapalachia is a portrait of these formative years, coming-of-age in rural West Virginia. Peopled by colorful characters and their quirky stories, Crapalachia interweaves oral folklore and area history, providing an ambitious and powerful snapshot When Scott McClanahan was fourteen he went to live with his Grandma Ruby and his Uncle Nathan, who suffered from cerebral palsy. Crapalachia is a portrait of these formative years, coming-of-age in rural West Virginia. Peopled by colorful characters and their quirky stories, Crapalachia interweaves oral folklore and area history, providing an ambitious and powerful snapshot of overlooked Americana.


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When Scott McClanahan was fourteen he went to live with his Grandma Ruby and his Uncle Nathan, who suffered from cerebral palsy. Crapalachia is a portrait of these formative years, coming-of-age in rural West Virginia. Peopled by colorful characters and their quirky stories, Crapalachia interweaves oral folklore and area history, providing an ambitious and powerful snapshot When Scott McClanahan was fourteen he went to live with his Grandma Ruby and his Uncle Nathan, who suffered from cerebral palsy. Crapalachia is a portrait of these formative years, coming-of-age in rural West Virginia. Peopled by colorful characters and their quirky stories, Crapalachia interweaves oral folklore and area history, providing an ambitious and powerful snapshot of overlooked Americana.

30 review for Crapalachia: A Biography of a Place

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    Critics say it's a blend of memoir and fiction. Yeah, I see that it's storytelling. A little uneven. Some parts read like poverty tourism, but the love is there. This is the second book that I've read this week with a mine full of dead miners. The ones in the other book didn't live long enough after a cave-in to start eating their shoelaces. *********************************************** https://chapter16.org/against-the-app... http://america.aljazeera.com/articles... https://www.washingtonpost.com Critics say it's a blend of memoir and fiction. Yeah, I see that it's storytelling. A little uneven. Some parts read like poverty tourism, but the love is there. This is the second book that I've read this week with a mine full of dead miners. The ones in the other book didn't live long enough after a cave-in to start eating their shoelaces. *********************************************** https://chapter16.org/against-the-app... http://america.aljazeera.com/articles... https://www.washingtonpost.com/entert... https://twodollarradio.com/products/c... https://muse.jhu.edu/article/523675/s...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Igrowastreesgrow

    I loved this book more than I can say. It was a wonderful book that I'll probably read again. The story had emotion, grit, a hard humor that cracks me up every time, and it just felt very real to me. Sometimes when you read memoirs, or any book really, you can sorta picture things but you can't fully get lost. This book allowed me to get lost in it and I appreciate that more than anything else in whatever I'm reading.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: 4.5* of five The Publisher Says: When Scott McClanahan was fourteen he went to live with his Grandma Ruby and his Uncle Nathan, who suffered from cerebral palsy. Crapalachia is a portrait of these formative years, coming-of-age in rural West Virginia. Peopled by colorful characters and their quirky stories, Crapalachia interweaves oral folklore and area history, providing an ambitious and powerful snapshot of overlooked Americana. My Review: Memoir...I remember...that's what makes this book Rating: 4.5* of five The Publisher Says: When Scott McClanahan was fourteen he went to live with his Grandma Ruby and his Uncle Nathan, who suffered from cerebral palsy. Crapalachia is a portrait of these formative years, coming-of-age in rural West Virginia. Peopled by colorful characters and their quirky stories, Crapalachia interweaves oral folklore and area history, providing an ambitious and powerful snapshot of overlooked Americana. My Review: Memoir...I remember...that's what makes this book so damn good, Scott remembers and he tells us that he remembers, wants us to remember with him. I've never lived in West Virginia, I've only driven through it in my expensive car and thought, "ye gods and little fishes, is this for real?!" and pressed a little harder on the gas to get the fuck out of there. I've never even spent a night there. I drove an extra hour out of my comfort zone (6 hours behind the wheel is enough for me) so I wouldn't have to. But I remember with Scott McClanahan. I'm 20 years older than he is. I've lived the entirety of my life in upper-middle-class assurance of comfort and joy. When I haven't had any money, I've had friends and loved ones and even random strangers who shared with me. And it never, ever looked like the pictures Scott paints in my head. It's beautiful, this picture, these pictures, but it's not pretty. It's warty and cold and shaped funny. But oh how much there is to celebrate in the life of a kid who knows where home is and what his family is made of and scoops up the mud he's standing on to make something new of something old. She hobbled along some more and I walked behind her. She said: "This is the grave I wanted to see. This is the grave." I asked: "Whose grave is it?" I walked in front of the stone and I saw it was her grave. It was the grave of Ruby Irene McClanahan, born 1917 died... Then there was a blank space--the space where they would put the date of her death. She touched the shiny stone and explained...her really good deal on the tombstone. She told me I should start saving. It was a good investment. The tales of this Crapalachian boy are muddled and mixed, of course, as all memories are, and as honest as they are, they aren't always factual. In the appendix to the book, Scott tells us the places he knows he mashed things up and rearranged them, since after all he was writing a story and stories have their own needs. But he never violates, not once in this book, the one Commandment of Memoir: Condescend not, lest ye be caught and pilloried. (See: James Frey.) I wouldn't write about how people stared at {Uncle Nathan} when I pushed him down the road. They stared and shook their heads.... I knew I would never write about Nathan's light-blue eyes--eyes as blue as Christmas tree lights. I knew I would never write about his soft heart. The softest heart I have ever known. I knew he believed in something that none of us ever do anymore. He believed in the nastiest word in the world. He believed in KINDNESS. Please tell me you remember kindness. Please tell me you remember kindness and joy, you cool motherfuckers. Why read some thirtysomething kid's memoirs? What kind of philosophical point can someone that young make? I wonder, is it even necessary to make a point? Can it be enough to read a book like this, about a young life seen from middle age (can't be much under 35, this kid, and that's spang in the middle of life), and eat the textures and smell the regrets of someone new to the idea that The End applies to him, too? He has children, he tells us so. He tells us that he went from place to place in the world leaving dirt from West Virginia there, giving the dirt to strangers and leaving it in the soil of New York City and Seattle and suchlike. So his children, no matter their wanderings, would have something of their, his, his grandmother's home waiting. I don't know that I believe him. "Oh lordie, I'm feeling horrible," she said. Then she clutched her chest. "I'm having chest pains." I kissed her cheek and I said, "I'll see you next week." She told me my grandfather Elgie used to have nightmares begging for the whistle to stop. She wasn't dying. She was lonely. So I left and I heard Ruby shouting again, "Oh lordie, I'm dying." I didn't turn back. I wasn't sure we were even born yet. We were all inside of a giant mother right then and we were waiting to be born. Just like tomorrow, at dawn, we will be held in the arms of a giant mother. We will find warmth and maybe even war there. I want us all to be ready. Ready? We're none of us ready, ever. As his kids grow up he'll find that out. And then there's the story of the little girl and the locket. It's near the end of the book, it's a memory from adulthood. It made me cry for a half-hour, angry and hurting and so so sad, helpless in the face of a world we've made with action, inaction, consent, and indifference (driving faster to escape someone else's reality ring a bell?). But hey, Scott? I remember. I'm with you. This review originally posted at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ben Loory

    One time a man left home. He had argued with his mother and father the day before he left. They spoke horrible words to one another and he left without saying goodbye. He had been gone many years and even spent time in jail. Years later, he finally got out of jail and he wondered if his mother and father were even alive, and if they were ashamed of what had been said and of where he had wound up. He wrote to them and told them he would be coming home on a specific day the following week. If they One time a man left home. He had argued with his mother and father the day before he left. They spoke horrible words to one another and he left without saying goodbye. He had been gone many years and even spent time in jail. Years later, he finally got out of jail and he wondered if his mother and father were even alive, and if they were ashamed of what had been said and of where he had wound up. He wrote to them and told them he would be coming home on a specific day the following week. If they wanted to see him and were not ashamed they should put a blanket on the clothesline, and he would know to come inside. If the blanket was missing, then he would know that he was not welcomed. He would know to turn back. He told them he hoped they were in good health. The man arrived by rail the next week. He was nervous when he stepped off the train. There was no one there to meet him. He walked up the worn path towards the home place and thought about the past. He thought about his time in jail. He thought about how ashamed his parents must have been. He thought about the horrible words they spoke. He was just about to turn around and go back to where he came when he saw a blanket in a tree. He kept walking and he saw another blanket. He kept walking and he saw another blanket. Then he turned towards home and the house was covered in blankets, the yard was covered in blankets, the clothesline was covered in blankets, the path to the door was covered in blankets. His parents were standing there and they were welcoming him inside.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Melki

    Even though I was only 14 years old, there was no telling when the angel of death might come to get my ass. This is a book about suicide, dead miners, and children being left to scream and writhe in pain because their parents can't afford doctors. And yet, I couldn't stop laughing. She told us the story about how he was trying to get his pension from the mines. But before he got it, he had to fight for a couple of months. He finally got a letter that went..."Dear Mr. McClanahan, we regret to in Even though I was only 14 years old, there was no telling when the angel of death might come to get my ass. This is a book about suicide, dead miners, and children being left to scream and writhe in pain because their parents can't afford doctors. And yet, I couldn't stop laughing. She told us the story about how he was trying to get his pension from the mines. But before he got it, he had to fight for a couple of months. He finally got a letter that went..."Dear Mr. McClanahan, we regret to inform you that we're unable to approve you at this time. Please send your response within seven days and we'll schedule another hearing." Elgie didn't say anything. He just took it down to the outhouse and wiped his ass with it. Then he put it back into the envelope, sealed it up, and sent it back. McClanahan creates wonderful, embellished portraits of family members and friends, at their best and at their worst, doing the things they need to do to endure life. Here is one tale of young Scott and his Uncle Nathan, who had cerebral palsy: The next night was radio preacher night. That only meant one thing. My Uncle Nathan was going to drink beer. He just kept groaning and pointing at the beer and then pointing at his feeding tube. What was the use of drinking beer when you could immediately pour a six-pack in your stomach tube and have it shoot into your bloodstream that much quicker? I poured the beer in and then I poured another. I cracked another and another. Then I did the rest. He smiled and then burped. It smelled like a beer burp. Though I did not grow up in rural West Virginia, this reminded me so much of my mother's side of the family. They were farmers, beauticians and business people. I was the first to graduate from college. This was a family obsessed with death, funerals and graveyards. God was there to be worshipped and feared. He didn't do favors. The stories are told using simple language, no four dollar words here, and yet they cut right to the heart of the matter. I love this part SO MUCH: Both of them just reached out and shook my hand. They shook my hand like they didn't know what to do. Their mother had just died and they were different now. They were free? Oh, that question mark at the end! That really says it all. That is exactly what it's like.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ginger

    McClanahan wrote about people I've known and loved, and love, and remember, and misremember, and sometimes want to forget. He pretended to be rock solid hard-ass Appalachian/West Virginian, then shape-shifted in that magic way of the Scot-Irishman and became liquid, seeped into my soul and washed loose all the debris that had settled there -- was resting quite nicely, in fact -- and stirred up all that shit and made me laugh and cry and nod my head in agreement and want a drink even though I don McClanahan wrote about people I've known and loved, and love, and remember, and misremember, and sometimes want to forget. He pretended to be rock solid hard-ass Appalachian/West Virginian, then shape-shifted in that magic way of the Scot-Irishman and became liquid, seeped into my soul and washed loose all the debris that had settled there -- was resting quite nicely, in fact -- and stirred up all that shit and made me laugh and cry and nod my head in agreement and want a drink even though I don't drink any more. Reading this book was like reading a love letter someone had written to me, someone I never knew loved me, someone I never knew, someone who knew me better than I knew myself. The appendix is a lovely disclaimer/exclaimer/explainer, and I thank and applaud Scott for including it. Quote: "I just realized that I never look at a painting and ask, 'Is this painting fictional or non-fictional?' It's just a painting." "Crapalachia" is just a book. And a fucking fine one, at that. Five stars. ~~Ginger Hamilton

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sasha

    i am not going to write like a real review here but i will say that this book broke my heart and then stitched it back together again into something slightly larger than it was before, and i had a decent-sized heart to begin with. also the way this book is structured is like nothing i'd really encountered in terms of the way scott sets up chapters and sections and characters and really makes this a book that is not only a memoir/novel type situation [the idea being that telling someone the facts i am not going to write like a real review here but i will say that this book broke my heart and then stitched it back together again into something slightly larger than it was before, and i had a decent-sized heart to begin with. also the way this book is structured is like nothing i'd really encountered in terms of the way scott sets up chapters and sections and characters and really makes this a book that is not only a memoir/novel type situation [the idea being that telling someone the facts of what happened doesn't get at the truth of what happened, also as scott said in an interview "look at ovid" which i have heard is problematic, but i am not a classics scholar, come on guys, i have got a bfa in ceramics what do i know about "facts"] but it is also, at all times, a book. it both embraces and casts asides its limitations. it is everything the medium could be. i don't know. i got a pretty big boner in my heart for this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Philip

    This book is the perfect antidote for such trash as "Honey Boo Boo" or the duck-and-catfish folks that seem to constitute the entirety of non-singing/non-cooking Reality TV these days. Much like "Winter's Bone," Crapalachia paints a depressingly realistic picture of what life is like for people living on the mountainous fringes of American society, yet does so in a way that doesn't rob them of their inherent dignity. There is nothing cute or funny about these folks, and America really needs to d This book is the perfect antidote for such trash as "Honey Boo Boo" or the duck-and-catfish folks that seem to constitute the entirety of non-singing/non-cooking Reality TV these days. Much like "Winter's Bone," Crapalachia paints a depressingly realistic picture of what life is like for people living on the mountainous fringes of American society, yet does so in a way that doesn't rob them of their inherent dignity. There is nothing cute or funny about these folks, and America really needs to devote more resources to improving what looks like a thoroughly miserable existence. The writing is quirky but excellent, and makes for a quick read; the book can be finished in two long evenings. But the characters it brings to life -- Nathan, Bill, Ruby -- will stay with you a lot longer.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michael Seidlinger

    This book is evidence of the fact that McClanahan would live through the treacherously bad times and still manage to bring that big grin around and wide. He'll say "CURE FOR DEPRESSION" and he’ll show you what's up. How to do it. How to keep from letting a bummer bring you down. I don’t waste any time trying to discern between which parts of Crapalachia are true or not; set together as a singular entity, family history as Crapalachia, it is all true, and every single word of it must be read. Fic This book is evidence of the fact that McClanahan would live through the treacherously bad times and still manage to bring that big grin around and wide. He'll say "CURE FOR DEPRESSION" and he’ll show you what's up. How to do it. How to keep from letting a bummer bring you down. I don’t waste any time trying to discern between which parts of Crapalachia are true or not; set together as a singular entity, family history as Crapalachia, it is all true, and every single word of it must be read. Fiction. Nonfiction. It doesn't matter. We live through it. We live through all of it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lance

    What a great read. Probably one of my favorites read in 2016. I look forward to checking out more of his stuff.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Jeffers

    This is set in Danese, WV, a town so small I've never even heard of it -- and not to brag or anything, but I know a fair amount of the smallest towns in West Virginia. I have all kinds of mixed feelings about this one, so my rating might change once I let it stew for a bit. As someone with Appalachian roots whose blood pressure isn't capable of handling jokes at the expense of rural America (the excess of "what do you expect from an uneducated hillbilly" comments on the recent Duck Dynasty kerfu This is set in Danese, WV, a town so small I've never even heard of it -- and not to brag or anything, but I know a fair amount of the smallest towns in West Virginia. I have all kinds of mixed feelings about this one, so my rating might change once I let it stew for a bit. As someone with Appalachian roots whose blood pressure isn't capable of handling jokes at the expense of rural America (the excess of "what do you expect from an uneducated hillbilly" comments on the recent Duck Dynasty kerfuffle really ruffled my feathers, so to speak), I feel like there is a dearth of great writing that really captures the spirit of where I come from in a positive way. I'm just not entirely convinced that this book does that.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Perez

    Make sure you read the Appendix. I don't want to spoil anything though, but the Appendix = the fifth star in 5 and I'm not a 5-star giving kinda guy. But I do have weak spot for southern literature, as they call it. I said smarter things along the way, there was more from this book that I wanted, but I still walked away with so much. Pick it up.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Hosho

    McClanahan has, by virtue of his intense talents, built up an utterly unique reading experience. He doesn't write books, he writes sermons. And he doesn't preach them to you from on high so much as sit down across a plate of onion rings from you and, like a dear old friend, catch you up on the comings and goings in the cosmos with the subtle human joy of a drunken, mischievous sage. Yes, the world can be ugly and hard...but as he says, "Please tell me you remember kindness. Please tell me you re McClanahan has, by virtue of his intense talents, built up an utterly unique reading experience. He doesn't write books, he writes sermons. And he doesn't preach them to you from on high so much as sit down across a plate of onion rings from you and, like a dear old friend, catch you up on the comings and goings in the cosmos with the subtle human joy of a drunken, mischievous sage. Yes, the world can be ugly and hard...but as he says, "Please tell me you remember kindness. Please tell me you remember kindness and joy, you cool motherfuckers.” CRAPALACHIA has that ethereal quality of memory in that it comes at you as it occurs, and not necessarily how it happened...and it returns to you, time and again, sometimes changing and yet somehow always true. As a portrait of characters, it is loving, and as understanding as a widowed father. As "a biography of place" it teaches us all about thar West Virginian sensibility, one where mad people doing utterly insane things make perfect sense. As a book, it is a testament to what can be achieved when a writer is writing to their very edges while inviting the readers to live these triumphs right along with him. Because there are no failures, no worries, no ugliness, and no death in this book. I know it might seem like there is...but there isn't...not by a country mile. And McClanahan is nothing short of riveting here...once again keeping readers rapt and ravenous for whatever glistering visionary tick will shock their hearts and brains next. CRAPALACHIA reaffirms his place as one of the country's pure and 100% original talents.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    A combination of memoir and short stories, and some of the characters also tell stories. I half expected a book with this title to be disparaging toward West Virginia, but instead it is a heartfelt, connected look at Scott McClanahan's extended family and the children he grew up with in rural West Virginia. A few of the most memorable moments: Funeral pictures Home nurses Learning the history of mining disasters in school

  15. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    This guy is a riot. I once saw him at a book reading and he was such a freak show that I took it off my "about to read" pile and put it on my "someday I will get to it because he was one interesting guy" pile. (don't believe me, watch this: BUT ONLY CLICK IF YOU ARE COMMITTED TO THE FULL 10 MINUTES.......http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4496625...) Well,I decided to attempt the audiobook version, and what a treat/trip. WAY different. It cracks you up, makes you sad, makes you think, makes you consid This guy is a riot. I once saw him at a book reading and he was such a freak show that I took it off my "about to read" pile and put it on my "someday I will get to it because he was one interesting guy" pile. (don't believe me, watch this: BUT ONLY CLICK IF YOU ARE COMMITTED TO THE FULL 10 MINUTES.......http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4496625...) Well,I decided to attempt the audiobook version, and what a treat/trip. WAY different. It cracks you up, makes you sad, makes you think, makes you consider. I am certain he wrote it for the shock value. I am also certain if the author comes across the review he would take the time to SLAM that assessment........Tic, tic, tic, tic........I get it.......I bought into his theme. The most fun was the appendix and his notations about what was true, what was made up, etc. Although I am guessing even that was a trick he was playing. I don't agree with his assesment of Lee Smith, Silas House and the like. He's a tricky little guy. I will read more someday; he will never be my favorite, but his is certainly memorable, and reminds me of many parts of my family. Favorite parts- dead people photos, 6 packs of beer through feeding tubes on radio preacher night, made up fried chicken recipes (I almost made it to taste Ruby). #wildride #wierdo #freak #inaradioheadway

  16. 5 out of 5

    FabulousRaye

    Loved it, loved it, LOVED IT. If not my favorite book of 2014, it's up there. It is also now, one of my comfort books. I don't even care if it was partially fictionalized. I found the stories and characters absolutely fascinating. I especially liked Ruby and Nathan, and Little Bill. Ohh, and I listened to the audiobook version. The narrator they picked to read it was perfect. He had the accent and tones down. I liked it when he would say "WHAT THE FUCK?!".

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lesley

    Things remembered as a kid in WV. What is it that we remember? Family, friends in bits a pieces. The things that leave a mark for good or bad, hilarious or sad. Scott McClanahan goes in for the heartfelt memories of his time spent with Ruby his grandmother and Nathan his Uncle with CP. Death and God play big roles in WV and he takes his readers around these ideas in loving and simple clear cut and funny ways. The hilarious parts, his crazy boyhood friendships and his Grand mother having family c Things remembered as a kid in WV. What is it that we remember? Family, friends in bits a pieces. The things that leave a mark for good or bad, hilarious or sad. Scott McClanahan goes in for the heartfelt memories of his time spent with Ruby his grandmother and Nathan his Uncle with CP. Death and God play big roles in WV and he takes his readers around these ideas in loving and simple clear cut and funny ways. The hilarious parts, his crazy boyhood friendships and his Grand mother having family call for an ambulance due to her constantly thinking she was dying had me laughing out loud. It’s a quick read. One I really enjoyed.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ron S

    It's nice to see a book from a small press (Two Dollar Radio) that aims at an honest portrayal of lives lived in Appalachia (instead of a cartoon version) get major review attention (as this book did in the NYT). This is a book about family, a place, a state of mind, a way of being. There are rivers and malls and mountains mentioned, but not as you might expect. The language is poetic and as casually simple and addictive as homemade crank. Every spring for most of the last 20 years I've gone to It's nice to see a book from a small press (Two Dollar Radio) that aims at an honest portrayal of lives lived in Appalachia (instead of a cartoon version) get major review attention (as this book did in the NYT). This is a book about family, a place, a state of mind, a way of being. There are rivers and malls and mountains mentioned, but not as you might expect. The language is poetic and as casually simple and addictive as homemade crank. Every spring for most of the last 20 years I've gone to Appalachia for a holiday. This book is no two weeks off work for those with a disposable income fantasy: this book is real. As Arthur Miller wrote, "attention must be paid."

  19. 4 out of 5

    Charles White

    Ultimately affecting, though the brief polemic at the end about Lee Smith, et al is cute bullshit.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Crumrine

    I will remember and I will love. I will not forget the awful responsibility of time. I will remember kindness and joy. I will continue to reach for the mountaintops, even from the holler. This book is a mountaintop. More mountaintops, please. More mountaintops.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    More personal and sedate than his short stories, Crapalachia still slays your heart with McClanahan's personal tales of family and death and sadness.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tominda Adkins

    .

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)

    Colorful characters and anecdotes, written with about as much care and crafting as I put into composing a grocery list. Linked together with all-caps sentence-long exclamatory headings that presumably were meant to be cute. Worst of all, punctuated by vomit-worthy passages of sentimentality that, whether they were intended to be ironic or not, simply stank. This was a piece of crapalachia.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    This book will make you feel every person you've ever known, those ghosts you loved that have never left. I felt really sad, because fate, but really hopeful, because reflection, while reading this book. Though home follows you, you can never go back. "I felt darkness because I had been deep in the hollers, and I knew glory because I had stood on top of the beautiful mountaintops. More mountaintops please. More mountaintops." I don't know why it took me so long to read it Crapalachia.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Star

    It doesn't get better than knowing a few pages in, I want to devour this book like a pan of his Grandma Ruby's peanut butter fudge. The character of his uncle will stay with me for a long time, reminding me that everyone has layers to them if we just take the time to look. The bold appendix was perhaps my favorite part. In it he offers his explanations for inventing, merging and modifying the truth. I love how this speaks to subjective memory and the fluid embroidery of family stories. A quote: I It doesn't get better than knowing a few pages in, I want to devour this book like a pan of his Grandma Ruby's peanut butter fudge. The character of his uncle will stay with me for a long time, reminding me that everyone has layers to them if we just take the time to look. The bold appendix was perhaps my favorite part. In it he offers his explanations for inventing, merging and modifying the truth. I love how this speaks to subjective memory and the fluid embroidery of family stories. A quote: I just realized I never look at a painting and ask "is this painting fictional or non-fictional?" It's just a painting. Scott McClanahan Crappalachia is a painting of words, a piece of art imitating life.

  26. 4 out of 5

    David

    I liked the way that the narrator in this book is as intimately connected to the emotion as possible, yet stands aside and just lets that emotion come across without really suggesting what the reader should feel. It feels very natural and real, moving and powerful without ever appearing to try real hard. In short, damn fine writing.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    Fact fiction fact fiction place fact fiction fact fiction family fact fiction West Virginia fact fiction story fact fiction love fact fiction fact fiction longing fact fiction fact fiction birth fact fiction fact fiction God fact fiction fact fiction dirt and stones. More - http://bentanzer.blogspot.com/2013/05... Fact fiction fact fiction place fact fiction fact fiction family fact fiction West Virginia fact fiction story fact fiction love fact fiction fact fiction longing fact fiction fact fiction birth fact fiction fact fiction God fact fiction fact fiction dirt and stones. More - http://bentanzer.blogspot.com/2013/05...

  28. 5 out of 5

    J. A.

    Hot damn this book is good. Like, really good. Really really good. I'll be effusive about it in detail over at The Nervous Breakdown in a month or two, but for now, just know that I think EVERYONE should be pre-ordering this.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Angus McKeogh

    Nothing amazing. Thoroughly disjointed (which is explained in the Appendix and Notes), that section is also perhaps the best of the whole book. I’m not sure great books are meant to be that way; meandering, mediocre stories punctuated by the best blurb at the end. Just okay for me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

    3.5 You should read this book if you like: Fictionalized memoirs, scattered memories, genuine human experiences, dysfunctional families, dark and depressing sprinkled with humor

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