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Carrying Albert Home

The Somewhat True Story of a Woman, a Husband, and Her Alligator
Narrated by: Adam Verner
Series: Coalwood, Book 0.5
Length: 10 hrs and 39 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (121 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 best-selling 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 best seller, Homer Hickam's rollicking tale is ultimately a testament to that strange and marvelous emotion we inadequately call love.

©2015 Homer Hickam (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

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  • Sharon
  • GLEN ELLEN, CA, United States
  • 03-01-16

Absolutely Delightful!!

When I saw that this book was about an alligator, I wanted to read it. I'm so glad that I was drawn in by both the cover and the title. This is a delightful story about the ups and downs of a young married couple, the wife's pet alligator (not a crocodile!!) named Albert, and the attempt to return him to the wild. Believe me when I say it is quite a journey.
If we are to believe this "Somewhat True Story", we meet many amazing characters along the way, including Buddy Ebsen, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway and more. Such fun. I really enjoyed listening to this book. The narration perfectly captured the tone of the book.
I plan to read more by Homer Hickam soon.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Boring.

I quit listening after ten chapters. This seems to be one of those partially biographical, partially fictionalized stories, in this case involving the author’s parents. I found it to be slow moving and boring. I lost interest in the main characters, particularly the self-absorbed young wife and her emotionally constipated husband, and their odd journey to Florida. By the tenth chapter, the only characters still eliciting my sympathy were the alligator, Albert, and his rogue rooster friend, though the rooster at this point seems to have come to a bad end, I decided that I couldn’t hang in there any longer to see if the rooster was spared. I returned the book.

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Truth or fiction; a fantastic journey the same.

As a prequel to the Rocket Boy series; this tells of Homer's mother and father going cross country to bring a very dog like alligator home to Florida. It's a fantastic odyssey with all sorts of weird situations that stay grounded in reality but might be a little exaggerated.

It does have some faults. Elise comes off as a real jerk at times that make me feel she is being too harsh on her husband. A man who's crime is having is head on straight but by the end it builds a great report with both of the couple growing to love each other.

If you loved the Rocket boys; get this. Call it a prequel. Try not to ask why a rooster and alligator make better pets than a cat or dog and just enjoy the journey. You'll love it!

Narrator was great too. Not too boring but not too hammy. He did a really great job with this one!

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Another excellent book from Hiram Hickam!<br />

Set as a ( SORT of) prequel to Rocket Boys. Don't want to have spoilers though, so I won't say more!
I would definitely go to a movie made from this book!

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I kept falling asleep

This story is failed to engage me. It was disjointed and it was hard to accept an alligator as a main character.

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  • ruth
  • United States
  • 07-31-17

I loved this book

This was a fun book and I enjoyed it very much. I would recommend it to anyone interested in an escape. It was funny and entertaining. Narration was perfect.

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Loved it!

This book was a pleasure to read! I laughed a lot, and cried a little. Homer Hickam hit another "Homer!"

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  • Wendi
  • Oswego, IL, United States
  • 04-28-16

Beautiful story, especially for Rocket Boy fans!

Loved it! I started listening to it again as soon as I finished the story. Even better the second time. It was wonderful to get to see the parents as a couple instead of only as "the parents." I would love to know where the fact ends and the fiction begins.

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Love Homer Hickam's Coalwood Stories

I loved this story of Elsie and Homer Sr.! This story is billed as "mostly true" and I found myself wishing that every word were the absolute truth.

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Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Really enjoyed this as we took a long road trip. Glad Albert is finally home!