The Bottoms

The Bottoms

by Joe R. Lansdale
4.4 32

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Bottoms 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I¿ve been aware of Joe R. Lansdale as a writer of short stories and novels for over fifteen years; but, until a few days ago, I¿d never read anything by him. I¿m not sure what drew me to THE BOTTOMS. Maybe it was the fact that this novel won the Edgar Award for 2000, or possibly it was the large number of positive reviews that were written about it. Whatever the reason, my curiosity was peaked to the extent that I wanted to read the novel now, in hardcover, rather than wait another month for the Trade paperback to come out. I wasn¿t even sure if I¿d like the book; yet, I felt compelled to buy it. Now, let me say that over the last forty-two years, I¿ve probably read somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 novels. Though there have been hundreds of books I¿ve enjoyed over the years, few have managed to capture my heart and soul in such a way as to leave me with a profound sense of what it means to be a human being. This is a rare experience, but when it happens, I know that it¿s something that will stay with me for many years to come. THE BOTTOMS by Joe R. Lansdale is one of those miracles of writing that had such an affect, and what troubles me is that only a small audience of people is actually aware of this book. I hope my review will help alleviate this to a certain degree. THE BOTTOMS is the story of eleven-year-old Harry Crane and the tragedy that transpired between the years of 1933 and 34 in the small East Texas town of Marvel Creek. It began on a normal summer day when Harry and his younger sister, Thomasina, were out hunting squirrels along the Bottoms with their dog, Toby, and accidentally discovered the tortured body of a dead black woman. On their way back home to get their father, Jacob, who is the town¿s constable, they are stalked through the darken woods by something or someone that could be the legendary Goat Man. The two kids make it back home safe and sound, but just barely. When Jacob Crane is told about the body, he recovers it the next day and begins an investigation that few white people seem to care about. Eventually more bodies are discovered and the town realizes that it has a demented killer within its midst. It isn¿t, however, until a woman, who is partially black and white, is murdered that the ¿good¿ citizens of Marvel Creek decide to take matters into their own hands. Because of a careless error on Jacob¿s part, an innocent man is lynched, and he must come to grips with the totality of his mistake, as well as his failure to stop the hanging. It¿s a burden that can weigh heavily on the shoulders of a decent person. As the killings continue and someone very special to young Harry is brutally murdered, he and his sister take it upon themselves to solve the mystery of the Goat Man and find out who the killer really is. Of course, the killer knows that the two Crane children are hunting him and has plans of his own for dealing with them in a very special way. THE BOTTOMS is a morality tale in the grandest sense, dealing with the deep roots of racism and how people can close their eyes to prejudice and injustice. It¿s also a story about life itself and how human beings (both and bad) choose to live it, probing the emotions of guilt and shame like an open wound, while at the same time depicting heart-felt acts of courage and redemption. Filled with difficult questions concerning love, friendship, what its means to be a man, and doing the right thing when the odds are clearly stacked against you, Mr. Lansdale offers no easy answers and doesn¿t pull his punches when delving into the dark side of human nature. All of the characters in this novel resonate with a life force of their own, luring the reader into their world, making you believe each and every word that¿s written. I was there at night, in the woods, when the Goat Man stalked Harry and Thomasina, feeling their terror in the pit of my stomach. I breathed in the close friendships that Harry had with old man Mose and Miss Ma
Guest More than 1 year ago
Told from a child's viewpoint of his bi-racial town, this story shows the influence of the boy's parents' moral stand on issues confronting them in the wake of serial murders. Compelling!
harstan More than 1 year ago
Remembering back to the days of the Great Depression in East Texas, Harry Crane recalls his father Jacob was always working. To eke out a living, Jacob toiled on the family farm, at the barbershop, or as the local constable. In 1933, thirteen year old Harry accompanied by his younger sister Thomasina finds the mutilated body of a black woman. The victim, a prostitute, was tied to a tree with barbed wire.

Jacob begins making inquiries and quickly learns form the black doctor performing a quick and dirty autopsy that this is third black whore viciously killed in eighteen months. No one but Jacob seems to care until a white hooker is murdered. In spite of Jacob¿s efforts to stop the hostility, a mob lynches an elderly black man, but that fails to stop a fifth death.

No one does rural noirs quite like Joe R. Lansdale does. His latest tale, THE BOTTOMS, initially sounds like a historical mystery, a period piece, or even a coming of age story. None of the above is fully accurate and yet all three describe the plot. That is the charm of the unpredictable Mr. Lansdale, who fits no filing cabinet yet consistently provides a fabulously feral novel. The story line is taut, as readers can taste the racial hatred and the impact of the Depression on the charcaters. The cast is fully developed, especially the siblings passing time by wandering the nearby woods, THE BOTTOMS. Fans who don¿t mind a FREEZER BURN by visiting Texas heritage of BAD CHILI need to tumble into the dark rumbling world of Mr. Lansdale.

Harriet Klausner

Guest More than 1 year ago
Joe R. Lansdale can hold your interest in a story like few others. The Bottoms is hard to leave after you start reading so you better get set for a long sit. The setting is east Texas during the Depression. The main plot is about a murder but this is much more than a murder mystery. You get a deep feeling for the family that the story is about. There is also a little bit of a horror story here as well as a whole lot of racial turmoil from the 30s. If you have never read Joe R. Lansdale, this is a great book to start with and if you are a returning fan, you may very well think this is his best work ever.
RebelYaleLdy More than 1 year ago
To Kill A Mockingbird set in Texas. It was a hell of a read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will pull you in and stay with you long after your through. Mr. Lansdale is a true master. I am a constant reader and after 6 of his books he has become my favorite author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being an avid book reader, I visit my local library often and glancing at the new book titles the other day I spotted this one and thought that I would give it a try. All I can say is that it was an excellent choice.The story pulls you in and doesn't let go. I finished this one in one sitting and can't wait to try some of the authors other works.Just an excellent book all around. I recommend this to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!
wonderwomanLC More than 1 year ago
Since I am not a mystery fan, I did not give this book 5 stars but I must say this is one of the best books I have read this year . . . easy to see why it was an Edgar Award winner. The story is told by Harry, an old man in a nursing home, as he recalls a particular summer when he was an eleven-year-old boy. It could be that many things Lansdale includes in the story struck me as being so true to life at the time. Harry and his sister Tomasina, everybody calls her Tom, live near the Sabine River bottoms in east Texas with mom and dad in 1933. A series of grisly murders occur. Now can anybody solve them? Sounds like any other murder mystery, right? But do not be misled . . . it is amazingly written. Best of all it is a quick, easy read. I found the last few pages especially interesting as Harry tells you what happened later in life to some of the main characters in the story . . . in fact, the last few paragraphs were moving enough to bring tears to my eyes . . . a fine book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This author captures the reader from the first word. Highly recommended. The novel includes murder, heartbreak, racial tension, cruelty, poverty, evil, a lovely family, a injured dog, a hard as nails grandmother, and more. Outstanding book! It deserves an A++++
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