Thursday, August 14, 2008

Book talk!

I finished Tobacco Road, which was August's book club book, while we were on vacation. It's been some years since I read it, but I enjoyed it all over again. It's a weird kind of enjoyment, though. The book moves so well, and it's a fascinating read, but these people are so disgusting and awful that I probably had a look of distaste on my face most of the time! Ha ha!

I know it takes place in the rural South shortly after WWI, and I can forgive the Lesters for a lack of education. But they're not just ignorant, they're also lazy, and just plain mean. These people are so uncaring that it means nothing to them when they run into a wagon and kill the "colored man," or when Dude backs over the old grandma. Jeeter literally watches her die in the road and it means absolutely nothing to him, other than that he's going to have to put forth a little effort to dig a grave for her. He can't even remember the names of all his children. (He has a few by a woman he was messing around with, too.)

Jeeter professes a deep and abiding love for the land, but he's too stubborn and stupid to realize that he can no longer make a living by farming it. He's so damn lazy he is unable to scrape together enough money to buy seed and fertilizer, and hasn't planted a cotton crop for years. But he just keeps right on talking about how by God, he's gonna borrow him a mule and get someone to give him some credit so he can get his seed and guano! I swear, I just wanted to slap the ignorant SOB!

Sister Bessie (she's really a piece of work!) buys a new car, which I found to be symbolic of their entire lives. Dude loves to drive along honking the horn, but can't quite figure out how to avoid running into things, and the first day, rams into a wagon, ruining the front fender--and manages to kill a man, let's not forgot about that! Jeeter wants to sell his crummy firewood, and they load the car up with the stuff, trashing the car even more. It seems that the Lesters are the exact opposite of Midas: everything they touch turns to crap!

There's a certain black humor to some of this stuff. They're just such a train wreck of a family, you can't help but laugh at them.

I also recommend God's Little Acre, by the same author. Good stuff!


madcobug said...

You really got into that book LOL. I have never read it but it does sound interesting. That old house does look like some of the old houses that have gone by the wayside in the rural South (where my roots are from) Helen

shrbrisc said...

we recycle here too and we live in the country and I think you and ken should share you plan that way we could all retire early

aimer said...

Your interesting review makes me want to re-read Tobacco Road. I may have to pick up a copy on my next trip to the library.--Sheria

queeniemart said...

the family in Tobacco Road sounds like many people i know and some of the people walking around today. Sounds interesting! XO

jmoqueen said...

Sounds like an interesting read!!