Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Books and Journeys

Aren't most novels about the human journey through life? Perhaps we enjoy those whose characters most resemble our own circumstances or maybe we prefer the ones where the experiences are least like our own?

Some books are more literal in this regard. One that comes to mind is The Unlikely Pilgrimage of  Harold Fry. And then there is one of my recent reads entitled Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of a Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator. 

Make no mistake - that alligator is a main character in the story. Elsie babies the damn thing and calls him her "little boy". He's allowed onto the sofa to cuddle with Elsie and is often noted as smiling with his "toothy grin". Elsie has another issue as well. She can't get over her obsession with an old boyfriend called Buddy Ebsen - yes the one and only Jed Clampett! Homer finally gives his wife an ultimatum after fleeing another attempt by Albert to bite him - either Albert goes or he does. She reluctantly agrees but only if they drive Albert back to Orlando from whence he came. Albert was a wedding gift from the aforementioned Buddy Ebsen! Their adventures en route to Florida are quite amusing. It's hard to believe this book is based on stories told to the author by his parents. Did I mention the rooster? He has no name and is part of the adventures too. He liked to sit on Albert's back for no apparent reason.

I gotta say it was really pretty good and there are several laugh out loud moments. Elsie, who is quite a mean wife has the most personal growth from the trip south. She says, "I have come to understand I'm on a journey that is more than a journey". And perhaps more profoundly, "Maybe that's what life is, Elsie said, "Mysteries atop mysteries. We think we know everything but we don't know anything, not really." Wouldn't it be strange if Albert knew? Or maybe the rooster? They know what life means and what it is for but can't tell us except to show us." "And we don't even realize they're doing it and don't pay any attention," Elsie said."

A recommended read!

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