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Reviews/Press

"Doug Crandell reminds me of a far less intense J.D. Salinger... funny and appealing"

- Rocky Mountain News

"With Hairdos of the Mildly Depressed, Doug Crandell has given us one of the funniest book titles of 2008. The book itself is funny, too -- at times. But at others it is almost unbearably sad, with little moments of disappointment, loneliness and self-loathing coalescing into devastating despair. It's raw and real."

- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"The Flawless Skin of Ugly People is a tale about people moving form 'being anonymous jokes to beloved freaks' as Hobbie puts it. You'll be hooked."

- People Magazine

"Crandell's tale is engaging. And in the end, The Flawless Skin of Ugly People demands that we, like Hobbie, accept responsibility for our own life and, quite simply, live it already."

- San Francisco Chronicle

"A strange, tender novel about love and shame and the multitude of ways in which people come to care for one another."

- Tom Perrotta, author of Election and Little Children

"Throughout, Crandell struggles with the idea of what makes a man: is it working with your hands? Can a real man make a living off words? And, perhaps most importantly, how do men comfort one another in times of grief? This sad, sharp memoir is graced with humor, hope, a strong sense of place and a winning narrator, making it a fine example of the form."

- Publisher's Weekly

"Set on a small hog farm in Indiana, this moving chronicle follows one year (1976) in the life of an impressionable seven-year-old and his hard-luck family. Young Crandell was a very plump child. According to family lore, he consistently gained weight even though no one ever saw him eating dinner. When somebody spied him suckling a pig sow with the other piglets at the trough, he earned his moniker: Pig Boy. Crandell, whose work has appeared in the Nebraska Review and elsewhere, relates the story of his nickname, as well as the trials of his childhood: his family were bankrupt sharecroppers; they struggled with expensive medical bills from Crandell's mother's hysterectomy; Crandell had to have several fingers re-attached after a farm accident. He captures the emotional adhesive of family bonds when he portrays how they came together to love and support each other in crisis, committed to one another and their home. Richly anecdotal, the work leaves no detail unexamined, whether physical or ethereal. Crandell addresses everything—the loss of property and pride, the presidential candidacy of Jimmy Carter, childhood fears, the effects of the TV series Roots on a poor white family, the far-reaching effects of his mother's depression—with poetry and imagination. This version of growing up in America delivers several compelling, stellar moments."

- Publisher's Weekly

"When a very young and frustrated Doug Crandell considers riding a wild boar from his small farm town to the bright lights of Wabash, Indiana, you realize you’re in the hands of a visionary. Crandell is a genuine talent, and Pig Boy’s Wicked Bird is a magical book. Don’t miss this one."

- John McNally, author of THE BOOK OF RALPH

"Pig Boy's Wicked Bird is a delight--funny and heartfelt and deftly turned out. A big tip of the hat to Doug Crandell."

-Martin Clark, author of THE MANY ASPECTS OF MOBILE HOME LIVING and PLAIN HEATHEN MISCHIEF

"Pig Boy’s Wicked Bird is a moving memoir of an engaging family, written by Doug Crandell with simplicity, clarity, sensitivity and warmth."

- Lee Gutkind, editor of Creative Nonfiction
and author of many books included, most recently, FOREVER FAT: ESSAYS BY THE GODFATHER.

"Doug Crandell writes of a life too rarely seen in literature these days. Just as the hardscrabble work of surviving on a small farm has vanished from the culture at large, it is a distant memory for most American writers. But Doug Crandell preserves in prose a world that, if it were lost forever, would diminish us by its absence. And what he has held on to in this astute, darkly humorous memoir gives us reason to celebrate."

- Tom Grimes, Author of WILL@epicqwest.com: A Medicated Memoir