Meely LaBauve: A Novel

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9780375503115: Meely LaBauve: A Novel

Fifteen-year-old Meely LaBauve is growing up on Catahoula Bayou and living by his wits. His father is an alligator hunter, still unable to cope with the death of his wife eight years earlier. He finds comfort in bottles of hooch and with companionable women and disappears for days at a time. School, for Meely, is a long, dusty walk away in a place where truancy isn't a top priority. "Up at Catahoula School, we've got all the grades. I'm in ninth when I'm in anything," says Meely. But the law has it out for Meely's dad; and Junior Guidry, nephew of a rogue cop and a bully himself, considers badgering Meely his favorite sport. When the LaBauves find themselves in the law's sights, it takes baseball bats, fire ants, flying alligators, an unidentified body, and a lot of fast thinking to set things right.

Not since Huck Finn rafted down the Mississippi has there been a coming-of-age story like this, told in such an utterly authentic, unlettered American voice. From a charming encounter with first love in the Canciennes' corn patch to an adventurous paddle through wild and timeless places little explored, Ken Wells has cooked up a zesty gumbo of a book--rich, poignant, and often hilarious.

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From the Back Cover:

Praise for Meely La Bauve

"Meely LaBauve does for the Cajun bayou what Cold Mountain did for southern Appalachia, bringing to life a wonderfully peculiar notch of the deep, deep South. Wells gives us back a piece of ourselves as Americans--and takes us on a romp in the swamp as warm and spicy as Momma's best gumbo."
--Tony Horwitz, author of Confederates in the Attic


"I don't know when a voice in fiction has connected so solidly with me. It's as particular as a thumbprint and as unmistakable as someone's laugh. This tough and wonderful child is going to stay with me."
--Anne Rivers Siddons, author of Low Country


"Meely LaBauve is a Cajun Huck Finn, full of fight and honor, who battles his way toward adulthood past gators of all kinds, scaled and otherwise. He is the perfect elixir for a dot.com world."
--Erik Larson, author of Isaac's Storm


"Meely is completely charming. . . . A first-person novel, particularly one of a child in an exotic (to most readers) setting is notoriously hard to pull off, but this one seems real and effortless."
--Frances FitzGerald, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Fire in the Lake



About the Author:

Ken Wells grew up on the banks of Bayou Black, deep in South Louisiana's Cajun belt. He got his first newspaper job as a nineteen-year-old college dropout, covering car wrecks and gator sightings for  The Courier, a Houma, Louisiana, weekly, while still helping out in his family's snake-collecting enterprise. He is now a senior writer and features editor for The Wall Street Journal's Page One staff. He lives with his family on the outskirts of Manhattan. Meely LaBauve is his first novel.

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