Joe by Larry Brown
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
You might be a redneck if you read this novel, and you feel as though you’ve met a few of your kin. You might be a redneck if you read between these pages, and you feel like you’re coming home. You might be a redneck if words like y’all and fixin’ to flow freely from your lips. You might be a redneck if JOE makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. You might be a redneck if you’re building relations with your second cousin on your mama’s side. You might be a redneck if you whistle between the gaps of your missing teeth. You might be a redneck if soda pop is your favorite breakfast beverage.
This novel helped me get reacquainted with my southern side, where the tea is always sweet, the hollers are narrow enough that you pinch your gut around the turns, the neighbors greet one another in the morning, where the gathering spots are the local Wal-Mart and Burger King and, where the widest road is a four-lane highway. Where an entire town gets all up in your business and “Country Roads” is your state’s unofficial song. Yes, I’m talking about West By God Virginia, which ain’t all that different from the heartland of Mississippi. At least according to the latest poll where we’re ranked as the two most obese states.
So, yes, one could make the argument that I already had a predisposition to like this novel, and I’d agree with you. But Larry Brown knows how to spin a tale on the back roads, conjuring up dirt and dust, and a voice that sang me to sleep in a country twang where the syllables were extended on account of them being important words, and y’all don’t want to miss ’em the first go round.
If you missed this book the first go round, as I’m willing to bet a few of ya might’a done, you’d better find that horse and saddle up and don’t forget your spurs, in case this particular colt decides to shove you off.