The Cracker Queen: A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life

( 9 )

Overview

Cracker Queen

The anti-Southern belle. A strong, authentic woman with a raucous sense of humor who holds her head, and her cigarette, up high. She knows loss and hurt; these things have made her beautiful, resourceful, and, above all, real.

Bad Choices Make Great Stories.

NPR's "All Things Considered" commentator Lauretta Hannon grew up in backwater Warner Robins. Her mama and daddy had a deep and disorderly ...

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The Cracker Queen: A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life

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Overview

Cracker Queen

The anti-Southern belle. A strong, authentic woman with a raucous sense of humor who holds her head, and her cigarette, up high. She knows loss and hurt; these things have made her beautiful, resourceful, and, above all, real.

Bad Choices Make Great Stories.

NPR's "All Things Considered" commentator Lauretta Hannon grew up in backwater Warner Robins. Her mama and daddy had a deep and disorderly love with years of booze, infidelities, and nervous breakdowns, and the stories of her deeply dysfunctional family include chain gangs, guns, ghost hunting, moonshine stands, scooterpootin,' the famous Goat Man of Georgia, and Crazy Aunt Carrie, who shot her first four husbands and went after the last one with a butcher knife. The early years of hardship and hard living all gave Hannon the resilience and humor that are now the hallmarks of her Cracker Queen way of life. Full of warmth, outrageous wit, and world-class storytelling, The Cracker Queen marks the debut of a powerfully original Southern voice.

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Editorial Reviews

Savannah Morning News

Hannon's stories move from country-hick hilarious to poignant and touching.

White County News

Lauretta's hilarious depictions of Steel Magnolias everywhere provide perfect proof that the best storyteller—and characters—in the South are women.

Library Journal

As Hannon, a contributor to NPR's All Things Considered, writes of her impoverished childhood in a dysfunctional family in Georgia, her college experiences, and a career in marketing, she touts the core values of love, forgiveness, and gratitude that helped her make her way; she also writes that one needs to conquer fear and whup some ass. Despite the soundness of the values she espouses, the hard-luck story she relates here is nothing more than a series of sound bites-she jumps from one incident to another without much cohesion or continuity, e.g., one chapter starts and ends with Hannon buying school clothes but takes unrelated detours in between. There are some fun chapters on haints(the Southern term for ghosts), but the book feels more like a marketing tool for Hannon than a memoir of substance. Not recommended.
—Gina Kaiser

Kirkus Reviews
NPR commentator Hannon explains why "hardship and hard living are great enhancers.""Nonsmokers, Yankees, professors and even men" can also be Cracker Queens, she avers, so long as they live by this dictum: "I have a choice in how I see and react to things. I can choose to accept whatever comes at me with love and gratitude. I don't have to be oppressed-or anyone's victim. I can live large even if I'm huddling in a hovel." Given this premise, it's not surprising that the author recounts a difficult youth of scant means dominated by an alcoholic, mentally ill mother and a much-loved father she saw only on weekends and holidays. Entitlement is not an issue here, and Hannon hails the power of laughter as the iron lung of life. Nonetheless, she frequently wrings the heart with her portrait of a home life ever on the verge of combusting, periodically igniting into mayhem. Crazy relatives came by the bucketful, and the author draws a careful line between complete losers ("Scooter was the nastiest waste of protoplasm that ever walked the earth") and those whose weaknesses are evidence of their humanity. Her uncanny emotional balance allows her to extract nuggets of goodness from a mother with a lavish soul but a lot of problems, and from her Savannah, Ga., neighborhood, so crime-ridden that the local old men formed a "Geriatric Militia" armed with .45s and .38s. Life is short, so why be tasteful, she asks. Isn't it better to be fearless, authentic and have a sense of humor? Wouldn't you prefer love, forgiveness, thankfulness and purpose? These are not merely palliatives for Hannnon, but daily considerations. A bracing, heart-gladdening embrace of human foibles and strangeness. Agent: JoanneWyckoff/Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592405312
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/6/2010
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 214,653
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Lauretta Hannon

Lauretta Hannon is a commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered and Georgia Public Radio’s Georgia Gazette, and has contributed to numerous newspapers. Winner of more than two hundred awards in marketing and promotions, she is the marketing director at Atlanta Technical College.

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Table of Contents

Introduction … Everything You Need to Know I Learned Inside a Singlewide 1

Part 1 Comin' Up the Hard Way

The Indian Princess 7

Jazz Daddy 9

Four Roses 13

Bad Blood 17

War Town 20

Mama and the Chain Gang 24

Discord 26

Underwater Grace 31

Skateland 34

Goat Power 40

Breakdown 42

Strawberry Dress 48

Wrongsville 54

Blue-Light Terror 59

Crazy Aunt Carrie 67

Blue Christians 70

Ridin' High and Shirtless 74

300 Minutes 80

Fortune Presents Gifts Not According to the Book 84

Part 2 God Save the Queen (from Herself)

The Tree That Owns Itself 93

Winged Skeletons 96

Wez-lee-an 101

Gutters and Stars 103

Way South of Normal 105

It's Vacuous at the Top 112

You Put a Root on Me 116

Pinkie's Is Closed on Sundays! 123

Miss Vassie Thompson Has a Spare Room for an Elderly Person 129

Cordell 134

Bad Day at Work 137

Scooterpootin' 144

We Mean You No Harm 155

Artifice 165

Part 3 The way of the Cracker Queen

The Regal Essentials 177

The Royal Necessities 188

Adjust That Crown, Your Horns Are Showing 193

Majestic Distinctions 200

What Becomes a Cracker Queen Most 214

Acknowledgments 223

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2013

    A real Warner Robins Trip

    Enjoyable reading

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    Loved it

    Emotional from cover to cover, from tears to laughing fits!

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  • Posted June 4, 2010

    Raw and Real

    A bookmark never touched the pages of my copy of The Cracker Queen. Hooked from the moment I picked it up, Lauretta Hannon, enthralls and mesmerizes with her great sense of humor and carefully crafted words. She answers the question of, "What will I do with my pain?" and inspires us to follow her on a journey of rising above the damage and hurt life inevitably brings. She proves that living life out loud with lots of laughter can carry you through just about anything. Like the author wrote, "You, however, do not have to be toothless to enjoy this book. Just Human." Cracker Queen or not, The Regal Essentials the author shares throughout her touching book of love, forgiveness, gratitude, and purpose will benefit all of us in surprising ways, if we let them. Long live the Queen!

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    whip-smart with tremendous heart

    I literally held my breath during some scenes in this memoir involving guns, knives, and mean back streets. But I also laughed out loud at the skate-a-thon, overeager grilling, and hostage guitar. The vivid moments of Lauretta Hannon's hardscrabble childhood and activist young adulthood make for spellbinding reading, and I devoured the book as fast as I could.

    Lauretta Hannon comes to the rescue, repeatedly. She prevents stabbings, assists prisoners, finds homes for the mentally ill, and confronts pit-bull breeders bent on dog fighting. The Cracker Queen is really a mantra about living life to the fullest with courage, joy, and great compassion. Call me a convert.

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    Posted May 13, 2011

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    Posted January 24, 2010

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    Posted March 27, 2010

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 9 Customer Reviews

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