The situation in Haiti was and probably still is horrific. Mr. Bragg pulls no punches he tells it just as it was. At the horror's center is money. He was nakedly honest about how people who did wrong on most levels brought up a rage in him that often included violent thoughts.
I can understand how he would see things that way given what he went through and what he covered. I've never quite made sense of this, but it's because he lived it and saw it that I was able to read this magnificent book. Think of it this way, if there weren't the violence in the world and his upbringing I bet Mr. Bragg would still be a writer and his books' beauty would be without reference.
I freely admit that I sabotaged myself when I read this book. I knew as soon as I started it that I would love it. So I intentionally read sentences, even pages, two and three times. Mr. Bragg's writing style vibes well with me because he's honest and direct which, for me, is a recipe for tears and laughter.
A few of the home-run quotes:
- When describing his skill working with his hands or meals: "I couldn't hammer a nail without bending it or severely damaging myself or someone standing near, and if you had depended on me to feed the fire or the hog we would have froze to death with our emaciated pig."
- His mom and fruitcake: "She is the only person I have ever met who actually eats fruitcake."
- Perhaps the grand slam of the book, he lived near a Krispy Kreme factory in Atlanta and he described how good they are: "Trying to explain how good they are to someone who has never had one is like telling a celibate priest about young love."
- Describing his stories of sadness in his notebook: "I captured the stories of dead innocents and other great sadnesses in my notebook, like butterflies pressed between the pages of a science project."
Early on in the book, Bragg says in the prologue, "This is not an important book. It is only the story of a strong woman..." Mr. Bragg, you're half right. This is an important book.