Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of a Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator

Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of a Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator

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: 9780062325907
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/05/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 118,297
Product dimensions: 0.00(w) x 0.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Homer Hickam (also known as Homer H. Hickam, Jr.) is the bestselling and award-winning author of many books, including the #1 New York Times memoir Rocket Boys, which was adapted into the popular film October Sky. A writer since grade school, he is also a Vietnam veteran, a former coal miner, a scuba instructor, an avid amateur paleontologist, and a retired engineer. He lives in Alabama and the Virgin Islands.

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Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of A Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
“Elsie had always felt her life was like a jigsaw puzzle with no picture on the box to show her how the puzzle pieces should fit together” Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of A Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator is a book with a title that is certainly lengthy-yet-succinct and quite intriguing. This memoir by American author, Homer H. Hickam Jr. is his account of his parents, Elsie and Homer’s epic adventure with an alligator named Albert (and a rooster), in which (Hickam’s website tells us) everything is true, except the bits that are made up. Which is no doubt why the cover says “a novel”. Some say it could be considered a prequel to his Coalwood series. An embarrassing incident with Albert leads Homer to issue Elsie with an ultimatum, "Me…or…that…alligator”. The decision is made to carry Albert home from Coalwood, West Virginia to Orlando, Florida. Albert travels in a quilt-lined bathtub on the back seat of Homer’s Buick. For no apparent reason, a russet-coloured rooster with green tail feathers decides, at the last minute, to join them. Homer takes two weeks’ leave from the mine, expecting to be back in Coalwood by then. But the trip does not go according to Homer’s plan. When they finally reach Florida, they encounter Elsie’s former beau, singer and dancer, Buddy Ebsen, the man who was responsible for sending them the hatchling Albert as a wedding gift. Buddy apologises if Albert caused them any trouble. Homer, by this stage is quite angry: “Oh, no trouble at all. Your marvellous gift merely made us abandon our house, get caught up in a bank robbery, run illegal moonshine through North Carolina, get cast adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, act in a jungle movie, and get all but blown away in the Keys! No, sir. No trouble at all”. Their adventure has also included joining a bunch of radicals, flying a plane and meeting John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway. Underlying the crazy adventure with all its quirky characters is the love story between Elsie and Homer, which hits a few rough patches before a relatively happy ending. But the real star of the story is, of course, Albert (although the rooster does have a certain appeal). Funny and moving, this is a very enjoyable read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cute story, well written. I would read it again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Made me laugh and cry.Pulls at your heart strings as well as your funny bone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very entertaining
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An amusing, yet captivating story. It is pretty far fetched, but still held my interest through some wild and hairy tales. There is something about this cute story I will not soon, if ever, forget, and I will remember it fondly, and recommend it highly.
MommaBMG More than 1 year ago
What a whimsical and strange little book about a journey that is reminiscent of Walter Mitty's fantasies. Such a good rainy day, snow day, light-hearted read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really can’t add more than what has already been written. Humorous, slapstick, wise, spiritual, philosophical, and even heart wrenching....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was excited when this came out because I had enjoyed The Coalwood Way and Rocket Boys. I was rewarded with great characters (Elsie is a hoot!) and a fun plot. Great story that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Being a huge Rocket Boys fan, I was excited to pick up this book. It definitely sounded charming to say the least. For the most part, I wasn't disappointed. I thought the tale grew a bit far fetched and long, but it didn't take away from its charm. It is a quirky adventure that reminded me of Forest Gump. For someone who loves to read about southern families and in particular strong southern women, Elsie Hickam included, this book was a treat. I would recommend it to my friends who appreciate southern culture, literature, or US history duri g The Great Depression.