All right, all right, so I didn’t invest too much time or energy into finding an e-mail address. Besides, there’s a good chance that, more than twelve years after the book’s publication, Mr. Bragg isn’t even working for the Times anymore. But I would still love to sit down and eat lunch with him sometime, mostly so that I could hear more about his momma.
Although ALL OVER BUT THE SHOUTIN’ does chronicle the rise and development of his newspaper career, at its core, the story struck me as being a tribute to his mother. It was interesting to read about his Harvard fellowship, of course, and the horrific atrocities he covered in Haiti, but it was his characters--the living, breathing, sweating, crying men and women around whom his life danced--that really engaged me. Especially his saintly mother. She took nothing from life so that her sons could have everything. I would like to hear more about a woman like that.
Every fiction reader should pick up a nonfiction something or other every now and then, just to remember that some stories are real. And this one provides a wonderful reality check.