Thursday, September 14, 2017
"Gully Dirt" by Robert Coram - On Exposing the Klan, Raising a Hog, and Escaping the South
Robert Coram has written a memoir that is very much in the spirit of "Hillbilly Elegy" by J.D. Vance, another excellent book about growing up in poverty south of the Mason Dixon Line.
White Rhino Report Review of "HillBilly Elegy"
The subtitle of "Gully Dirt" lays out much of the author's intent and agenda: "On Exposing the Klan, Raising a Hog, and Escaping the South." The title phrase, "gully dirt" is what Coram's father would often call him to indicate that he saw his as good for nothing and beyond redemption..
The book recounts how Coram grew up dirt poor in southwest Georgia in the 1950s, and encountered all manner of abuse and neglect. Yet his resilience allowed him not only to survive these humble beginnings, but to escape to Atlanta to become a successful novelist and biographer. He is unflinching in his descriptions of the obstacles that had to be overcome.We learn intimate and amusing details about the way - and venue where - he surrendered his virginity. Jock itch is almost a living character in this book; it played a strong role in the ethos of the athletic teams that Coam joined.
The author evokes and reveals many of the scars that he bears from his years in Edison. Yet in his young mind, a lightbulb went on, and he was able to see a clear path to escape through writing. This is ultimately a story, not only of survival, but of resilience and hope in the face of formidable obstacles.