Carrying Albert Home

Carrying Albert Home

by Homer Hickam


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Big Fish meets The Notebook in this emotionally evocative story about a man, a woman, and an alligator that is a moving tribute to love, from the New York Times bestselling author of the award-winning memoir Rocket Boys—the basis of the movie October Sky.

Elsie Lavender and Homer Hickam (the father of the author) were high school classmates in the West Virginia coalfields, graduating just as the Great Depression began. When Homer asked for her hand, Elsie instead headed to Orlando where she sparked with a dancing actor named Buddy Ebsen (yes, that Buddy Ebsen). But when Buddy headed for New York, Elsie’s dreams of a life with him were crushed and eventually she found herself back in the coalfields, married to Homer.

Unfulfilled as a miner’s wife, Elsie was reminded of her carefree days with Buddy every day because of his unusual wedding gift: an alligator named Albert she raised in the only bathroom in the house. When Albert scared Homer by grabbing his pants, he gave Elsie an ultimatum: “Me or that alligator!” After giving it some thought, Elsie concluded there was only one thing to do: Carry Albert home.

Carrying Albert Home is the funny, sweet, and sometimes tragic tale of a young couple and a special alligator on a crazy 1,000-mile adventure. Told with the warmth and down-home charm that made Rocket Boys a beloved bestseller, Homer Hickam’s rollicking tale is ultimately a testament to that strange and marvelous emotion we inadequately call love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062325891
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2015
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 497,380
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Winner of the prestigious University of Alabama's Clarence Cason Award and the Appalachian Heritage Writer's Award for his memoirs and fiction plus many other writing awards including an honorary Doctorate of Literature from Marshall University, Homer Hickam is perhaps best known for his # 1 New York Times best-selling memoir Rocket Boys which was adapted into the ever-popular movie October Sky. He has, however, written many other best-selling books including The Coalwood Way, Sky of Stone, and The Keeper's Son. Mr. Hickam has been a coal miner, Vietnam combat veteran, scuba instructor, NASA engineer, and now a best-selling author.

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Carrying Albert Home: A Novel 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! This isn't the kind of book that I pick up often but when I do I almost always enjoy myself. The title and description sparked my interest. This book sounded like it would be a quirky yet interesting story. By the end of the story, I had fallen in love with Albert and kind of wanted a pet alligator of my own (not really....I'll just stick with my 2 dogs and my cat for now). This story was filled with lots of exciting adventures. Elsie and Homer's journey to carry Albert home was anything but boring. They spent time with all kinds of interesting people including Buddy Ebsen, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and a nameless rooster. This one trip would have given them more adventures than most people would have in a lifetime. As preposterous as most of the events may sound, each one seems completely reasonable within the confines of this story. I liked Homer a lot from the very beginning of the story. He was just such a nice guy but I feared that he may be a little too nice for his own good. It took me some time to warm up to Elsie. She seemed a bit spoiled and seemed to be rather unkind to Homer. During the course of their journey things do change between the pair. They seem to really learn a lot about their own feelings and each other. Homer even learns that he does have a soft spot for Albert after all. I loved the fact that this is a "somewhat true" story. Every family probably has their own compilation of stories that are told that may be based in truth but over time have developed into the somewhat true realm. I really enjoyed the parts of the story where we see Elsie and Homer telling their children about their journey to carry Albert home. I would hope that most people can relate to this kind of family history although I can't remember anything about alligators or movie stars in my own family's tales. The writing in this book was well done. The pacing kept the story moving forward even though it seemed they could have driven to Florida several times by the middle of the book. Each event that occurred during their travels was exciting and really told a story within a story. I found myself grinning several time during the course of reading this novel. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a quirky story with a lot of excitement. I believe that this is the first book by Homer Hickman that I have read but I plan to check out some of his other works soon. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Harper Collins / William Morrow via Edelweiss for the purpose of providing an honest review.
nfmgirl More than 1 year ago
Homer can never seem to compare to either of his wife's first loves: Buddy Ebsen or her pet alligator Albert. After Homer gives his wife an ultimatum of him or Albert, his wife agrees to travel to Florida to release Albert into the wild. Nearly this entire story takes place during their journey away from home. As the back cover implies, it's a quirky story reminiscent of something like Big Fish. Fantastical and outrageous, there is a blurred line between reality and fantasy in this book. How much is truth and how much fiction? We don't really know. We know there was a Homer Hickman, his wife Elsie and her alligator Albert. We know they made a trip to Florida. Beyond that, we don't know a whole lot. The author explains, "Carrying Albert Home is a family epic, which means it's a blend of fact and fiction, evolved from stories told by my parents, both of whom were West Virginians and knew how to make their tales tall as the hills that surrounded them on all sides." This story is rich in colorful characters (some of them you'll recognize) and events, spanning the distance between Coalwood, West Virginia and Key West, Florida, with Albert in the backseat and a rooster sitting up front (the rooster is a character all his own). Homer is a good man, and has more patience with his wife Elsie than he would ever have with anyone else. And she is not an easy woman to get along with. Homer seems to do nothing right when it comes to Elsie. She is constantly displeased with anything he says or does. Homer is a bit clueless on how to make Elsie happy, even though that is what he desires more than anything. And no matter how hurtful she can be, he keeps trying. My final word: Clever, curious, and colorful, this story keeps you guessing. You never really know how much truth lies in it, but you get the feeling that there may have been a fair bit of truth, dressed up to make it a little fancier and bigger than life. Elsie can be a bit off-putting much of the time, but then she redeems herself with some tender moment, kind gesture, or humorous quip. And I found myself continually rooting for Homer in his quest to make her happy. Just a man, his wife, her alligator and a rooster on a road trip. What more could you ask for? I can almost hear Albert happily expressing yeah-yeah-yeah.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Carrying Albert Home is an emotional journey as Elsie and Homer travel from the coalfields of West Virginia to Florida with their alligator, not a crocodile, as some might think and of course the rooster for no apparent reason. Homer Hickam gets five stars from me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was given to me by a friend who is a huge fan of Homer Hickam, I'll admit it sat for a few days before curiosity got the best of me. When I finally picked it up, I couldn't put it down! The story he tells reminded me a bit of Forest Gump, could all of these incredible things be happening to one couple? From the day they embark on their mission to return their "pet" to finally arriving at their destination, the twists, turns, and surprises kept me wanting to read more. It was an enjoyable read that never had a dull moment and I've thanked my friend several times for turning me into a fan of Homer Hickam.
lottoplayerinva More than 1 year ago
The new book from Homer Hickam really exceeded my admittedly high expectations! Lots of twists, turns, trials and tribulations await Homer Hickam Sr., his wife Elsie and their pet alligator Albert on an epic road trip to Florida. This very original tale is packed with compelling real life characters and situations of the day interwoven with no doubt tall tales and has a cool "Oh Brother Where Art Though" and "Big Fish" feel. My favorite thing about this book is the very unique language cadence that Hickam uses masterfully in this book; it totally put me into the time period. Even if you've never read Homer's previous books, this sort-of prequel to his classic Rocket Boys is a terrific introduction to a great American author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AstroDawg More than 1 year ago
I have only just started Mr. Hickam's latest book, and I am already hooked on the story. Mr. Hickam relates an incredible adventure his parents went on well before he was born as only the engaging storyteller can. I venture to say it is nearly impossible not to see the coal dust in the air or hear Homer Sr. yelling from the backyard. I was immediately drawn to the edge of my seat by the story but also found myself smiling and laughing, while seeing Albert do the same. I can hardly put the book down and cannot to see what is in store next on this great adventure!