(Hot Stuff) Crapalachia by Scott McClanahan

NOTE: The following is a truncated version of the full review found at Heavy Feather Review.


With every sentence penned, he is recording a side of history that would otherwise go unaddressed. Scott speaks of the many faces of family while fearlessly pointing out the darker lines around the eyes we often disregard as a bad day, a bad decision, with catch-all excuses and idle sympathies.

McClanahan views happenstance with uniquely tragic sort of eye, the focus being on who committed suicide, who got their toes cut off by a lawnmower, rather than who survived and who has all of their toes. It might be melodramatic, a glass-half full kind of mentality but you aren’t seeing the point: It’s the narrative material we all fixate upon. No one would watch a reality TV show where all we see is one perfectly happy Pleasantville. Fuck that.

This book is evidence of the fact that McClanahan would live through the treacherously bad times and still manage to bring that big grin around and wide. He’ll say “CURE FOR DEPRESSION” and he’ll show you what’s up. How to do it. How to keep from letting a bummer bring you down.

I don’t waste any time trying to discern between which parts of Crapalachia are true or not; set together as a singular entity, family history as Crapalachia, it is all true, and every single word of it must be read.

Fiction. Nonfiction. It doesn’t matter. We live through it.

We live through all of it.

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