Thursday, October 15, 2015
Carrying Albert Home
Description: Big Fish meets The Notebook in this emotionally evocative story about a man, a woman, and an alligator that is a moving tribute to love, from the author of the award-winning memoir Rocket Boys—the basis of the movie October Sky
Elsie Lavender and Homer Hickam (the father of the author) were high school classmates in the West Virginia coalfields, graduating just as the Great Depression began. When Homer asked for her hand, Elsie instead headed to Orlando where she sparked with a dancing actor named Buddy Ebsen (yes, that Buddy Ebsen). But when Buddy headed for New York, Elsie’s dreams of a life with him were crushed and eventually she found herself back in the coalfields, married to Homer.
Unfulfilled as a miner’s wife, Elsie was reminded of her carefree days with Buddy every day because of his unusual wedding gift: an alligator named Albert she raised in the only bathroom in the house. When Albert scared Homer by grabbing his pants, he gave Elsie an ultimatum: “Me or that alligator!” After giving it some thought, Elsie concluded there was only one thing to do: Carry Albert home.
Carrying Albert Home is the funny, sweet, and sometimes tragic tale of a young couple and a special alligator on a crazy 1000-mile adventure. Told with the warmth and down-home charm that made Rocket Boys/October Sky a beloved bestseller, Homer Hickam’s rollicking tale is ultimately a testament to that strange and marvelous emotion we inadequately call love.
Elsie is in love with this alligator (get it right, do NOT call him a crocodile) and barely shows any love for her husband if any at all. Homer gets a little peeved about this so he lays down the ultimatum. Elsie finally agrees and thus begins the journey of carrying Albert home. After each tale, it cuts to a time in the author's life when one parent brings up part of the story and then leads into another great adventure.
I think part of the greatness of this novel is that you want to believe that it ALL happened but you know there had to be some embellishment, right? And the best is that the author grew up wondering the same thing. I mean I WANTED them to have their experiences with John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway. I wanted Elsie to have ridden the thunder road. The only thing that was suspect was the constant running into some dubious characters, Slick and Huddie.
It's such a heartwarming tale that keeps bringing up kismet and the question, Does Elsie love Homer?
I loved the dry dialogue and all the characters. READ IT!! You will not regret it!
Does your family have any tall tales? Have you read any books by Homer Hickam?
I received this book for review but all thoughts and opinions are my own!