In the final volume of the Pulitzer Prize–winner's bestselling and beloved American saga that began with All Over but the Shoutin’ and continued with Ava’s Man, this "evocative family memoir” (Boston Globe) delivers an unforgettable rumination about fathers and sons.
Bragg documents a mesmerizing journey back in time to the lush Alabama landscape of his youth, to Jacksonville's one-hundred-year-old mill and to his father, the troubled, charismatic hustler coming of age in its shadow.
Inspired by Rick Bragg's love for his stepson, The Prince of Frogtown also chronicles his own journey into fatherhood, as he learns to avoid the pitfalls of his forebearers. With candor, insight, and tremendous humor, Bragg seamlessly weaves these luminous narrative threads together.
In reading his latest autobiographical title, which alternates between the rough-and-tumble rural South of his origins and the contemporary suburban South of his preteen stepson, Bragg smoothly invokes colloquial pronunciations such as the dropping of the "g" sound in "ing" words. In the hands of any other narrator besides the author, such touches would seem stilted, but Bragg brings sincerity and dignity to the proceedings. He demonstrates a knack for building dramatic tension in presenting his narrative, holding back serious emotional fire for the most pivotal confrontations. One particularly memorable dialogue centers on his father's participation in the brutal sport of dog fighting and how one fateful act of alcohol-fueled desperation forever altered the family dynamic. In coming to terms with the cushy 21st-century existence of "the boy," Bragg poignantly recounts a surprising exchange between his stepson and a less fortunate family at a roadside fast-food restaurant. As he straddles two contrasting identities, Bragg remains unafraid to demonstrate his vulnerability, and this nuanced performance perfectly matches the themes of his work. A Knopf hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 3).