Carrying Albert Home/Med Albert i Baksätet
Anyone who enjoyed Forrest Gump is going to relish this unlikely romp by American writer, Homer Hickam. As tall tales go, this one reaches hot air balloon heights. A couple in conflict (allegedly Homer Hickam Jr’s parents) drive from West Virginia to Florida in the mid-1930s. In a soft-top rare Buick. With their alligator and a free-loading rooster.
While this cover-proclaimed ‘somewhat true story’ meanders through the very real landscapes and political geography of the American South, it’s the couple’s encounters with a collection of characters — ranging from celebrity actors and authors to fictional (?) petty criminals and moonshine smugglers — that raise the suspicion of a little family folklore. And while the heart willingly embraces the plot as plausible, the head whispers no way.
But does it matter? Not in my opinion. What matters is the dynamics of the marriage and the internal conflicts raging within. These contemplations jolted me back into reality as I took sides, switched sides, and rooted for…everyone. In truth, I haven’t enjoyed fretting over a rooster since Chicken Licken had a bad day.
Suffice to say, some of our travellers make it home to tell the tale. Perhaps. 😉
Carrying Albert Home is an easy, entertaining, thought-provoking read. Grab a coffee and get stuck in.
Quotes from Carrying Albert Home:
“But that’s what kismet is. It makes us careen off in odd directions from which we learn not only what life is about but what it is for. This journey may be nothing less than your chance to discover these things.”
“As Elsie showered, she realised she had learned something. She was attracted to the kind of man Denver* was. He drove fast and was dangerous and handsome but, she reflected, he was also, in his own way, needy. If he wasn’t showing off to a pretty girl, it was Elsie’s guess he was fairly miserable. Elsie was happy she didn’t have to put up with such a man all the way to Florida. Homer, despite all his many flaws—mostly, she had to concede, having to do with his good character—well, he would do just fine for that chore.”
“It was during a strike when I first saw hate on a man’s face. Hate is an awful thing. It gets inside you and makes you do things you swear you’d never do.”
“My agent in Miami told me you were coming. I like to keep up with who’s coming to my island, especially government and railroad men. Typically, I don’t like either one but considering your girl here and your car and the fact that you have an alligator with a rooster on his back, I would guess you might be at least interesting. Name’s Ernest. Some people call me Hem.” After a brief pause he added, “As in Hemingway.”
“Let me find you. If you don’t, I will still look. If you won’t, I will still look. If you can’t, I will still look. It is the looking that finds the love, Not the finding.”
*A man they meet on the way.