Sunday, October 25, 2020

Where I Come From

Where I Come From: Stories from the Deep South by Rick Bragg
10/27/20; 256 pages
Knopf Doubleday

Where I Come From: Stories from the Deep South by Rick Bragg is a very highly recommended collection of personal columns that originally were published in Southern Living and Garden & Gun. This is an absolutely wonderful diverse collection of personal stories and observations presented in Bragg's patented folksy charming manner. As you read you'll smile, laugh, feel nostalgic, and be left with a warm heart and a good feeling. During stressful times, this would be a perfect collection to read one or two columns at a time just to unwind and take a deep breathe before continuing your day.

The seventy plus columns are organized into nine different chapters or categories that are composed of columns which fit into the topic. Don't expect angry, combative, opinionated columns. As Bragg writes in the introduction: The stories in this collection are of the South’s gentler, easier nature. It is a litany of great talkers, blue-green waters, deep casseroles, kitchen-sink permanents, lying fishermen, haunted mansions, and dogs that never die, things that make this place more than a dotted line on a map or a long-ago failed rebellion, even if only in some cold-weather dream.

I enjoyed all of the columns immensely. As with all collections, some of the pieces will resonate with certain readers more than others, but I felt like they were all enjoyable or worthwhile reading. Even if you aren't from the South or have never even visited a Southern state, this compilation touches on several universal themes that can point to similar experiences in almost everyone's life, as well as experiences that are uniquely Southern. This would be an excellent gift.

Let me leave you with a thought about hot chicken from Bragg that had me doubled over in laughter: "It seemed like the kind of thing that could lead to questionable behavior. One day you order some hot chicken; the next morning you wake up with your belly button pierced and a picture of David Hasselhoff tattooed on your posterior. Point me to a prayer meetin’."

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Knopf Doubleday

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