CARRYING ALBERT HOME
19th November 2015| Hardback| £12.99
Eight hundred miles. In a car.
With an alligator in the back seat.
‘Until my mother told me about Albert, I never knew she and my father had undertaken an adventurous and dangerous journey to carry him home. I didn’t know how they came to be married or what shaped them to become the people I knew. I also didn’t know that my mother carried in her heart an unquenchable love for a man who became a famous Hollywood actor or that my father met that man after battling a mighty hurricane, not only in the tropics, but in his soul. The story of Albert taught me these and many other things, not only about my parents but the life they gave me to live, and the lives we all live even when we don’t understand why.’ Homer Hickam 2015
This is the somewhat true story of a woman, a husband and her alligator.
Elsie Lavender and Homer Hickam were classmates at school 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 up a relationship with dancing actor 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 time with Buddy daily because of his unusual wedding gift; an alligator named Albert, whom she raised in the only bathroom in the house. After three years of marriage, Homer issued Elsie with an ultimatum – ‘it’s either me or the alligator.’ Thus, there was only one thing to do; carry Albert home. To Orlando. A road trip of nearly a thousand miles.
Carrying Albert Home is the funny, yet sometimes tragic tale of a young couple and a special alligator on a crazy adventure. Told with a warmth and charm, Homer Hickam’s rollicking tale is ultimately a testament to that strange and marvellous emotion we inadequately call love. It captures the common nostalgia for missed opportunities and transforms it into a brave adventure, where anything is possible.
About the author:
Homer Hickam is probably known best for his no. 1 New York Times bestselling memoir Rocket Boys which was adapted into the ever-popular move October Sky. Mr. Hickam has been a coal miner, Vietnam combat veteran, scuba instructor, NASA engineer and now a best-selling author.
Claire's Review 4 of 5 Stars
This was such an intriguing read, I felt sucked into the story of Homer, Elsie and of course Albert, from the very beginning. Carrying Albert Home, is the story of the authors parents. His mother Elsie, is given a baby alligator as a wedding present, and eventually Homer has enough and gives her an ultimatum of the Albert or him, and reluctantly Elsie chooses Homer, so they embark on the journey to Orlando, Florida to take Albert home, and finding lots of adventures on the way.
I really enjoyed this book, it made me laugh and although I found Elsie a hard character to like, I still found myself hoping she would see the error of her ways and her treatment towards Homer.
I also loved seeing the photographs in the back of the book, which was a lovely touch, to see who you were actually reading about. A great read and definately one I would recommend to others.