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Carrying Albert Home: 12/01/17
Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam is a fictionalized account of the author's parents taking a road trip from West Virginia to Florida to return Albert to his native state. I read it as part of my road narrative project but rather quickly decided it wasn't relevant to the direction my research has gone.
There's a dryness that creeps into these types of books — written from the distance of nearly forgotten memories, or secondhand stories. Sometimes it works — They Came in from the Road — being an example. And sometimes it doesn't.
There's a certain absurdity worked into this story — a couple owning an alligator and then taking him back to Florida in a washtub in the backseat of their car. That visual combined with the matter of fact narration left me imagining Daniel Pinkwater reading the book in same fashion he read The Neddiad. I found that mental exercise distracting.
Things weren't helped any when the couple stops to pick up a hitchhiking John Steinbeck. Whether or not they actually picked him up is immaterial. In terms of the narrative, Steinbeck is like the historical figure of the week in the Murdoch Mysteries. Steinbeck, though, as the radicalizing force in Elsie's life, comes off as a nonfictional Melvin the Shaman.