Friday, September 08, 2006

Bloggin' Be My Life - Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie

“Bound for Glory”  Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

This book written by Woody Guthrie was also made into a movie. The movie starred David Carradine and Randy Quaid among others. I have never seen the movie and I had little idea what this book was about until I opened it up and started reading.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not simply the story of a famous County singer and songwriter’s life, but a “Hobo-ing America” adventure story. It was written in the Mark Twain tradition - with all the down home and backwoods country dialect included.
I enjoyed this story - it is a “real” story about real people. Woody did a fine job in telling this story.
The book has great drama and pathos and would be enjoyable reading even if you didn’t know who the heck Woody Guthrie was or what he turned into. I read it as a history novel and place it in the category with the “Grapes of Wrath” or “Gone with the Wind”.
The book is about hobo-ing and hopping trains and looking at America from an open boxcar door. It’s about looking for work and picking fruits and vegetables - it is an adventure. An adventure that was common to tens and maybe even hundreds of thousands during the Great Depression.
There is nothing in this book that didn’t interest me. Whether it be the bumming around, the hunting for a job, the brawling in the boxcars, the playing music, the childhood remembrances, or the personal romance and falling in love as a young man. Woody was clearly describing for the reader what had been his inspiration in life.
This book puts you right there in Woody’s world. You can see it; you can hear it and you can feel it.
The story about the killing of the kittens and his tales of kids playing at war are intentional and philosophical.
Woody was a barn yard philosopher. I hear his song, “This Land is Your Land” as more of a scream of protest from the disenfranchised than a cry of ownership from the patriotic now that I have read this account.
The paperback copy that I have is also speckled with little sketches also done by the author. So Woody drew, sang, played the guitar and wrote - he was the complete package.
It does seem to me today that the world is filled with “types”. Woody was the sensitive “artistic type”. This type all think the same, feel the same, an instinctively aspire to the same goals in life. You almost know what they are going to say before they say it - it is how they say it that is fascinating though.
I guess if I had to sum this book up, I would say: This is the story of a beautiful man, describing his life in a not so beautiful world.

No comments: