Homer Hickam’s emotional yet witty story Carrying Albert Home a West Virginian coal miner (Homer Hickam Sr.), his wife, and her pet alligator. When Homer’s wife, Elsie, was in highschool, she dreamed of living West Virginia. She moved to Florida soon afterwards to go to secretary school, where she met Buddy Ebsen and fell in love. She claims these years were the best of her life. But when Ebsen moves to New York, crushing her dreams of having a future together, Elsie finds herself back in the coalfields, married to her former classmate, Homer Hickam. As a wedding present, Buddy Ebsen sends Elsie a pet alligator so she can always keep a piece of Florida with her. Years pass, and eventually Homer gives Elsie a choice, “Me or that alligator!”. Elsie gives it some thought, and decides it’s time to carry Albert home. But little does Homer know, Elsie doesn’t plan on coming back.
After reading the description of Carrying Albert Home, I was not interested. It wasn’t until a friend gushed about it repeatedly that I finally picked it up. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I adored the book. Homer Hickam has an amazing way of storytelling. He manages to make the most boring and mundane encounters witty and enjoyable. The story itself is roller coaster with ups, down, and that thought at the end of the ride, “again!”. Homer and Elsie’s adventures consist of everything from radical communists and bank robbers to hurricanes and Ernest Hemingway. On top of all this, it’s a love story, not only between a man and a woman, but between a woman and her pet.
In short, Carrying Albert Home was witty, engaging, down-to-earth, and most of all, absolutely adorable. I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 12.