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Raney (1985)

by Clyde Edgerton

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534734,310 (3.91)14
"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 HaileyRaney 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 Paperback edition."… (more)
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Salem College, Meroney Theatre play ( )
  Tammyhil | Mar 18, 2020 |

This is the endearingly funny first novel by Clyde Edgerton who grew up in Bethesda, NC. He currently teaches at UNCW. The story is about the marriage of a feisty Free Will Baptist and a liberal librarian. ""Music is what brought Charles and me together,"" narrator Raney Bell explains. ""He don't look like a banjo picker but he sounds good."" And though Raney has ""a weird way of looking at things,"" Charles appreciates her ""stabs of common sense."" So it's on to the shaky wedding festivities. There is some talk that folks from up north tend to imbibe on alcohol at weddings. That is an abhorrent idea in the Free Will Baptist thinking. The wedding happens and Raney is not happy the men are going outside for more than kool aid punch! But the wedding comes off smooth enough. Then comes the wedding night--the proper.time for the marriage to be ""consumed."" Raney is unnerved to find Charles standing there in his Fruit of the Loom drinking champagne out of a plastic cup.
But, while things get settled down sex-wise, it's soon obvious that Charles ""just don't have a single sense about family"": he gets mad when Mama drops in unannounced; isn't it good manners to call first? Charles does go to the the Bell Sunday dinners but he uses this event try out his ""aggressiveness training""; he gets upset about Raney's and her family's use of the word ""nigger"" it's okay to say nigger about a black person and of course she'd never say it to a black in person, allright?
Charles was in the military with a man named Johnny and they have remained close friends. And are whites and blacks supposed to mix like this? Charles and Johnny talk regularly on the phone. To Raney, Johnny doesn't sound black on the phone. Hmmmm... Rainey is able to hear their conversations through a vent. She tells herself she must tell Charles about this breech, but never gets around to doing it.
Charles seems grumpy when dragged along on Bell-family outings--or on a good-deed Golden Agers trip to see a cannon shot off by an old Reb who has raised fine kids. (""Didn't a one go to college, thank the good Lord."") So, while Charles bashes wits against the righteousness of Raney's kin, a marital explosion looms. Raney--who does understand the imperatives of family ties--clashes with Charles, the enlightened. Even though Raney's family doesn't understand the need for psychologists, Charles convinces her to go a marriage-counselor session with a ""psychiatric."" This goes errrr fairly well.

But somehow it's some erotic sinning in the feed-room of Daddy's grocery and maybe those two glasses of white wine Raney consumed. Anyway, this sets the stage for an event leading up to a birth announcement. Affectionate teasing rather than cutting satire--this quick read narrated by Raney herself, a delectable hard-shell Southern flower.
I wasn't a sequel!!! ( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
Jim and I took turns reading this book out loud to each other years and years ago. It is a sweet, funny book. Edgerton knows his Southerners. I mentioned it to two of my cousins during our recent cousin reunion. When I got home, I remembered that Edgerton had lost his job at a Baptist college because of this book; so I decided to re-read it to decide if I wanted to send a copy to my Baptist cousin. And I do. It is somewhat dated, but still a warm account of two very different people learning be married to each other. ( )
  judithrs | Apr 26, 2013 |
Another good book from Edgerton, poor-girl-makes-good in a nice way is how I remember it. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
This story is an excellent character study. Raney is an old-south, small-town, Bible-thumping Free Will Baptist. Charles is a college- educated big-city boy from Atlanta- the only child of a college professor and a teacher. When these two marry, the culture clash is phenomenal. Each believes that her/ his way is the only way. Raney thinks alcohol is a sin and should never be touched or allowed in the home. Charles is unused to large, close-knit families, and is miserable at Sunday dinners with Raney's family. The story is hilarious at times- Raney's family insists on calling women's breasts "dinners". When everything comes to a head and nearly falls apart, the two must learn to compromise or lose everything.

I enjoyed this story. It made me laugh out loud at times. People like Raney and Charles really do exist in the south. Thankfully, most southerners fall somewhere in the middle. The story illustrates what is best and worst in the south.

Read this story if....

*you love southern fiction

*you love the south

See this review on my blog at: http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=3847741541582807646#editor/target=post;p... ( )
  smartchiksread | Jan 8, 2013 |
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BETHEL--Mr. and Mrs. Thurman A. Bell announce the engagement of their daughter, Raney, to Charles C. Shepherd of Atlanta, Georgia.
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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 HaileyRaney 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 Paperback edition."

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