All Over but the Shoutin’
All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg is an autobiography that starts from Mr. Bragg's impoverished childhood in a family that included an abusive, alcoholic father, an incredibly powerful angel of a mother and his two brothers, and follows him through his Pulitzer Prize-winning journalistic career at the New York Times. The author states at the beginning of the book that readers will laugh and cry reading it. He was right on the money with both of these points. The Bragg family grew up with virtually nothing. The father left the family a number of times, offering no financial assistance and stealing whatever he could before he left. When he was there, he was usually drunk and physically abusive to the mother. He rarely went after the children, but when he did the mother was always there to offer protection. Mr. Bragg's mother's life consisted of working herself to exhaustion and using whatever money she had on the children. The second half of the book follows Mr. Bragg's developing career and family. Mr. Bragg covered various events like the Miami riots, the Haitian atrocities, and the Susan Smith case among others for his job. I have only read four books my entire life for school, but this is one is the best I have read. There were numerous things that I learned from the book. The one that hit me the hardest was it's hard to see people living in shame because they can cover it up really well, almost like it doesn’t bother them at all. I grew up in a middle class family and simply didn't understand what it meant to be so broke that you are ashamed to be around people who have money. The thought never crossed my mind, ever. I bet it wouldn't take much effort for me to identify a time in my life when I was cruel towards people who were poor; critically judging them. Especially not knowing what their situation was. They could have had family or financial problems, maybe their house just burnt down. It could have been...
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