Saturday, 19 December 2015

TOBACCO ROAD by Eskine Caldwell

I am not sure if this book is a tragedy or a comedy. On the one hand it is a searing tale of the extremely poor in the South in the 1930s, on the other hand it is a hilarious tale of the extremely poor in the South in the 1930s.

Here, for example, is a man who has married a 13 year old girl because he finds her hair pretty. She refuses to speak to him.
Lov asked Pearl questions, he kicked her, he poured water over her, he threw rocks and sticks at her, and he did everything else he could think of that might make her talk to him. She cried a lot, especially when she was seriously hurt, but Lov did not consider that as conversation.

The book focuses on a single family, which is close to starving. An older preacher woman gets the 16 year old son to marry her by promising to spend all the money she has on a new car for him though this will leave them penniless. They marry and buy the car, which the teenager does not really know how to drive, and spend much of the book driving around hooting, eventually destroying the car. At the end they run over the starving old grandmother and don’t bother to check if she is alive or not. It was sort of hilarious. Now to google it and find out it is supposed to be comic or not.

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