2007: 132. Ava’s Man 

“She  was old my whole life.  Even when I was sitting in the red dirt, fascinated with my own toes, Ava’s face had a line in it for every hot mile she ever walked, for every fit she ever threw.”

Ava’s Man, Rick Bragg

This is a memoir about Bragg’s grandfather, Charlie Bundrum, who he never met, but who loomed large in the family legend.  It is also the story of his grandmother, Ava, and his mother’s family, and what life was like in the South during the Depression.  This kind of story wasn’t totally new to me (similar material is covered in, Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone, for example), but Bundrum tells it well.  He is an expressive writer, and easily makes this Northeastern girl understand what it was like to grow up poor south of the Mason-Dixon line.  And he makes you understand Charlie - what made him a good man, where he failed, and how he loved his family and tried his best in tough times. 

I enjoy reading memoirs anyway, but I’d definitely seeks out Bragg’s other works, and keep reading.  He transported me to a different way of life and helped me understand it, and that is what the best memoirs should do.

Recommended for:  People who like family memoirs, people who want to understand what poverty can be like.

Date/Place Completed: 8/17/07; D.C.

Categories: Non-Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017