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Raney

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"This book is too good to keep to yourself. Read it aloud with someone you love, then send it to a friend. But be sure to keep a copy for yourself, because you'll want to read it again and again."
Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey
Raney is a small-town Baptist. Charles is a ...
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Raney

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Overview

"This book is too good to keep to yourself. Read it aloud with someone you love, then send it to a friend. But be sure to keep a copy for yourself, because you'll want to read it again and again."
Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey
Raney is a small-town Baptist. Charles is a liberal from Atlanta. And RANEY is the story of their marriage. Charming, wise, funny, and truthful, it is a novel for everyone to love.
"A real jewel."
RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH


From the Trade Paperback edition.

A contemporary Southern novel about a provincial young woman and her new marriage to an ex-urbanite.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This charming vignette follows the early days of the marriage of Raney, an inno cent, Southern Baptist, and Charles, who is considerably more liberal and so phisticated than Raney. The two must make many accommodations to one an other and regularly consult a marriage counselor. PW found that the author's ``ear for idiom is exact, the two central characters perceptibly developed and the other members of the small cast are giv en dimension and personality.'' May
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345419057
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/1997
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.11 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author


Clyde Edgerton is the author of eight novels, five of which have been New York Times Notables. He is a professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and performs with his band, Rank Strangers. Author Web siteā€”www.clydeedgerton.com.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 4, 2011

    If you want to give someone a bad present, give them this book

    Raney, is the story of a young, southern, laid-back woman, who marries a more sophisticated, modern man. The tale is very humorous at times; however, sometimes the author, Clyde Edgerton, seems to be trying to hard to make his reader laugh. From the very beginning of the book, Raney is perceived as a very innocent and naïve woman, who knows close to nothing about what happens in the real world. Her family is the same way also. They don't know how to interact outside of their small home town in North Carolina, let alone how things work. The family is behind about twenty years in their thinking of their culture and of the entire world. Edgerton does a great job with the way he has the characters interacting with each other. The way they speak and his portrayal of their actions are very realistic. Charles' family is described as a wealthier, more understanding family. From the very first time they are introduced, Charles' mother, Millie is portrayed as a more high maintenance woman than anyone Raney has ever known. Charles and Raney go through a lot of obstacles in their marriage. In my personal opinion, Raney and Charles should have never gotten married in the first place. There is almost nothing about them that is similar, creating almost a perfect mismatch of two people's personalities. Raney hates the thought of alcohol, because that is the way she was raised. Her uncle is a raging alcoholic and sometimes she is believed to think that everyone who drinks alcohol is an alcoholic. Raney and her husband have so many indifferences; they end up going to marriage counseling. I feel the author portrays most of the characters as stereotypical southerners. Actually, the author goes through almost every stereotype possible in this story. He includes racists and uneducated people along with drunks. This is one of my main problems with this book. I feel like in the author's character development, he is trying way too hard to make his readers laugh. At one point I wanted to stop reading the book because I noticed he was trying way too hard. Overall, this book can be somewhat of an enjoyable read. There are times where it would be easy to put it down and read something else, but if you keep reading, you could be very content that you continued. One of the blurbs on the back cover of the book states, "A real jewel." While I wouldn't compare this book to a jewel of any kind, your opinion of this book depend on your personality and what you find enjoyable. Then again, so does everything.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Funny, Honest & Southern

    Funny and honest about small town southern life, without glorification or condescension. A real gem of a novel, about when a Southern liberal marries a small town, born again, somewhat racist without realizing it Southern woman. Some laugh out loud moments and this smart writer doesn't disrespect the intelligence of the reader, letting us fill in the blanks. I loved reading this book a lot. http://timothyherrick.blogspot.com/

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2011

    Not the Best

    Raney is a book with the main focus of showing the collision between two people with completely different living styles. In reading this book, you will find some moderately humorous passages about the differences in these two lifestyles. For example, my favorite part of this book would be the chapter where Raney, the female main character, and Charles, her husband, being to seek marriage counseling from Dr. Bridges. As Dr. Bridges asks the couple a series of questions, it is somewhat amazing how oblivious Raney is to the rest of the world. For example, on page 155 when Dr. Bridges asks, "Okay. I just wanted to get an idea of the initial stages of your relationship and your feelings about each other." Raney then says, "We didn't have a relationship until after we got married." Raney had automatically associated the word, 'relationship' with 'sex.' The second humorous part of the book that I would like to summarize happens on page 167. Later during the marriage counseling session, Raney is asked to retell the story of what happened on her and Charles' honeymoon. She says, ".There I was on my honeymoon night, a virgin-well, almost-laying in bed,." I find this part to be funny because the book never mentions anything else about her being an, "almost virgin." Clyde Edgerton just kind of throws those two words in there to try to spark a laugh. In this book, I believe that Mr. Edgerton did a pretty good job of showing the "southern ignorance" of a woman raised in a strict southern culture. I believe that he accomplished his goal of portraying the conservative culture through the life of a female narrator. The strengths of this book would be the way that the author keeps the reader on edge. Although the book is a little slow-moving, it seems that the unpredictable often happens. From Charles and Raney's honeymoon night disaster to witnessing child television show star Cliff Clawhammer drunk out of his mind, this book continues to surprise the reader. Another reason why the book remains interesting from cover to cover is because Mr. Edgerton does a fantastic job of forming his words into those of a slightly unmindful southern woman. If you enjoy books that include some quirky, indirect conflict, then Raney is the book for you. Even in the book's slow and meaningless portions, Clyde Edgerton does a great job of slipping in small bits and pieces of humor to keep the reader wanting more. Even though the book's ending leaves you hanging, it makes you feel a sense of accomplishment.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2011

    Every other book every written > Raney

    Raney, by Clyde Edgerton, is definitely a book worth reading if you are interested in a stereotypical story about the "dirty" South. This book has a decent storyline, but it is not what the blurbs on the front and back covers make it out to be. "A funny, deft, heartening book. If I were single, I'd marry it." Roy Blount, Jr. must have his priorities way out of line because this is not a funny book..at all. I'll give credit to Edgerton for trying to add some humor into the book, but the book had close to no actual funny parts in it. I think the reason that none of his humor works is because he is a man trying to write from a woman's perspective. I have personally never tried to write from a woman's perspective, but I think Edgerton does a pretty good job of it.
    The book is set in a small rural town in North Carolina evidently filled with very southern folks. It is about the conflicts caused by the marriage of a well-educated, not very southern man, Charles, to a not-well-educated, very southern woman, Raney. The main reason why Charles and Raney have many arguments is because of the different ways they were raised. One example of that would be Charles is Episcopalian and Raney is Free Will Baptist. The biggest argument is about the death of one of the characters, I'm not going to tell you who it is because I don't want to spoil the book, but basically Raney just thinks he was very sick because of the injuries he sustained when he was at war but Charles believes that it wasn't just the physical injuries that caused his death but also that he might have been clinically insane. I believe that this book has a pretty good story but I don't like how there is an argument between Raney and Charles on almost every other page. So if you are interested in a book filled with arguments between a husband and a wife that's supposed to be funny, then Raney is the perfect book for you. I also hate the way the book ends. Near the end of the book Edgerton puts a completely new twist onto the end of the book that could have kept the book going for about 20 more pages and had a good ending, but he just cuts it off right after he introduces it.
    In conclusion, the cons in this book drastically outweigh the pros. I think that Edgerton could've written a much funnier and better story if he would've written from a guy's perspective instead of a book. I would like to leave you all with one last sentence about this book. If you want to read a book filled with arguments between a husband and wife, classic stereotypes about Southerners, and a horrible ending then this is the book for you.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2011

    2.1 out of 5 stars A redneck novel not worth the money, November 4, 2011

    Raney is an ok book I guess. I don't know if I would tell you to read it or not. If you like cackling rednecks getting married and having problems then yeah this is your book (you're probably not though.) Some people like the idea behind marriage and how it works and how Raney and Charles work together as a couple. A couple rednecks. Anyhow I think that this book shows the bonds, circumstances, and problems in marriage. I think by reading Raney you will find that the two have some problems with each other's lifestyles and conflicts occur because of this. Raney's Mom taking liberties she does not have and pissing off Charles. Things like this are what makes this book interesting.

    In the beginning you will find that Raney has a problem with drinking and maybe a few sexual desires that Charles may have. These parts were hilarious because who doesn't want to read about personal problems of others. I mean when it all comes down to how funny something is, someone has to show something personal like the hotel/motel honeymoon that becomes a disaster and the problems between Charles and Raney's family. All of these are hilarious. The fact is though that after a while this stuff gets boring.

    I think that Clyde Edgerton does well by making Raney a hick from the middle of nowhere, turn right, North Carolina. She is interesting in that she is not interesting in anyway. She is an absolute Baptist, raised on the fear of brimstone and fire, and is picky in her life about certain things. But as far as making a female character to follow along with for two hundred and twenty seven pages, he did well. His writing style is amazing in how it gives each character the fullest, most offensive, redneck accent of all time. I think if anything, his writing style keeps you interested in what is going to be said next.

    As far as goods and bads go, this book is stronger on one side than the other. Raney is somewhat boring, offensive to the North Carolina race, ongoing, and oh yeah.boring. On the plus side the author does imply a good writing style, almost too good. He makes North Carolina so redneck that I can almost envision a rebel flag on the cover of this book than the two playing music together. As much as I hate how it offends the great state of North Carolina, he did well in making the characters so redneck and ignorant. All in all, if I was stranded on an island with the option to entertain myself by either reading Raney or drowning in the ocean, I would take option B.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2011

    Not recommended

    Raney is a simple and mildly humorous book about the unlikely marriage between a conservative rural southern woman, named Raney, and a liberal city man, named Charles. The book is a decent read with some silly humor hidden under the surface, so if you enjoy a simple book which requires not a lot of thought from the reader, this book is for you. But if you are looking for a humorous book which also involves a little more thought, then I would advise putting this book down and looking somewhere else.
    The reason I say this is because the characteristics of almost every person involved in the story is one dimensional. The stereotypes of a southern Baptist run true throughout the entire story, with almost all of Raney's family having racist tendencies and a love of comfort food. These stereotypes have the possibility to be humorous under certain situations, but the author fails to venture into these possibilities. Instead the humor of this book, for me at least, mainly came from the silliness of the families and the innocent point of view of Raney. This type of humor could have made this book an enjoyable read, if done correctly, but the author didn't capitalize on the occasions when this humor came up.
    On the occasions that the author does score with humor, I was left wondering why such scenes didn't last longer. An example of this is when Charles and Raney are arguing over what to call certain parts of the human body. Charles asks why he shouldn't use the term "breast," and Raney, due to her polite southern etiquette, says that "some things shouldn't be said" and that this word should instead be replaced by "ninnie pies" or "dinner plates." When I read this, I legitimately laughed out loud. But the placement and length of the scene seemed odd to me. I wondered why the author would put such a funny scene at the end of the book, when the beginning and middle lack such humor. If this scene had been in the beginning or middle, I might have actually enjoyed continuing to read the book, but instead I fought just to turn the page and not put down the book.
    But there are some qualities in the book that are enjoyable to read. The relationship between Raney and Charles is very rocky. But as the relationship grows in strength, a feeling of happiness grows in the reader. The main problem between in the marriage is the different beliefs on social issues. The book provides almost a choice of teams that the reader can be on, where they want either Raney or Charles to cave to the other character's beliefs. And it is this dynamic in the book that I thought that gave it character. You can be either liberal or conservative and find some ideal to agree with in the book, allowing for a common ground for different readers to share.
    All in all, this book is a cute and simple read with a little bit of charm. The times in the book where the humor is done correctly, the book is very enjoyable to read. But these times of humor are hard to find, and the parts where they are present are concentrated near the end. And although the different views in the book allow for a connection with certain characters, the one dimensionality of each character makes the connection limited.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2011

    Mildly Recommended

    Raney is a novel that makes a stab at humor using the irony of a conservative southern Baptist marrying a progressive liberal. Although the book has its moments of humor, its true beauty lies in the innocence of the novel's protagonist, Raney. Her ignorant and socially constricted view of the world is met head on by her husband's intellectual and open minded worldview. The result is a marriage that is not what it was supposed to be. The marriage is more than just between Raney and Charles. It's the union of two families. Charles must learn to cope with the demands of an uncompromising family. The incompatibility of the two families makes the marriage both unique and potentially destructive. Clyde Edgerton piles on the dramatic irony and does not let up. The moral of the story, if applicable, seems to warn against rushing into a marriage. It is necessary to find more common ground than musical ability. Though this seems like a good life lesson, it is so bogged down with stereotypically bad southern grammar, such as the frequent use of "ain't" and the butchering of subject-verb agreement, and lazy attempts at humor that it is easy for the untrained eye to miss the point entirely. For example, naming breasts "dinners" or "ninny-pies" is an attempt at humor. However, when I first read the book I completely missed that joke. To call this book laugh out loud funny is a stretch. I never once found myself laughing more than a chuckle. The simple story and the one dimensional characters that inhabit it are not worth dealing with just to get to the moral. The scenes that are supposed to be serious are mixed in with subtle humor. This leads to increasingly awkward situations to go along with the incredibly awkward premise of the novel. What begins as an innocent novel of a new marriage quickly turns into a virtual laundry list of the mutual hardships of marriage. I might be taking the novel too seriously, but when the humor is virtually nonexistent I am forced. A good read is a book that captivates my attention and keeps me turning pages. Instead, it is so superficial that a simple skim usually gets the job done. If you enjoy a good bit of dramatic irony mixed with good willed but ultimately off target jokes, then this book is a must read. For the other 99% of you that don't enjoy an amateurish exploration of ignorant southern culture, it will be a book you put down after about 50 pages.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2008

    So Southern, So Funny!!!

    I love this book! It is so funny and reminds me of my own southern roots. I couldn't put it down!! As a true southerner, I could identify with much of it. Edgerton deserves a place right up there with Welty and Faulkner, for his ability to capture the zeitgiest of many small southern communities.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2005

    FANTASTIC CLASSIC SOUTHERN CHARMING

    This book is one I can read over and over again! It is one of my favorites and wish I could find more like it! Easy quick read that will make you laugh out loud.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2004

    what were you thinking

    I think this book had no real point it didnt seem to be interesting i don't think it had any real meaning.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2004

    What a waste of 5 hours

    I read this book in five hours. When a book is good, it doesn't take me that long to read it. This books was like reading a 256pp book about why grass is green. It's by far the worst book I have ever read and I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2003

    Edgerton's Raney is a Treasure!

    I a woman born and raised in North Carolina and I absolutely love this book. If I didn't know better, I might think that Mr. Edgerton modeled many of the characters after some of my own family members!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2001

    A Southern-Fried Hoot!

    Like iced tea, 'Raney' is a sometimes sweet, sometimes tart examination of a modern marriage in the 'new' Ol' South. Specifically what happens when Charles, a librarian from an upper-middle class family of Episcopalians in Atlanta, marries a girl whose kinfolk are lucky to have high-school educations and whose spiritual wanderings have brought them no further than the local Free Will Baptist Church. There is a little bit of 'roommate' humor (who put the cabbage head in the toilet?), but mostly Edgerton gets laughs by exploiting the humor inherent in the conflicts of class, culture and race between Raney's clan and Charles's. (Raney is shocked to hear that Charles's best friend is 'a minority'). This book was written a few years ago but believe you me, these issues are not dead yet! For Southerners of any persuasion or Yankees who venture off the Interstate, 'Raney' is must reading, especially if you like to laugh.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2000

    Sitting on a porch swing in the spring.

    I picked this book up at a small town georgia library during the mid-stages of my pregnancy. Being 600 miles from my hometown and pretty much deserted by the baby's father I had few acquaintences and plenty of time. I loved this book immensely. I had a little girl and named her appropriately....Raney.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2000

    Well done - don't know what took me so long!

    I found this book highly entertaining. I could name more than one couple I know who reminded me of the main characters - in all ways, right down to their little prejeduces! I would recommend this book to all my friends (those with an open mind - those that would laugh at themselves). The story can hit too close to home for some.... It is nice to see a woman change like she did - knowing that it's difficult for us since we know our mama wouldn't approve. Maybe one day we'll all be able to live on our own accord, loving all our neighbors, including our friends from Alabama without fear.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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