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January 13 , 2008

Carrying Albert Home

The Somewhat True Story of a Woman, a Husband, and her Alligator


The long-awaited prequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir Rocket Boys—the basis for the movie October Sky

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She was born to kill, born to die. Crescent is a crowhopper—a genetically modified mercenary programmed for ruthless warfare. When she’s taken prisoner by Crater Trueblood instead of being killed in battle, she thinks it’s a disaster. Crater is weary of war. He’s a miner, not a soldier. He’d rather be mining Helium-3 than battling the…

Elsie Lavender and Homer Hickam Sr.—the future parents of Homer Hickam Jr.—were high school classmates in the West Virginia coalfields, graduating just as the Great Depression began. When Homer asked for her hand, Elsie instead headed to Orlando where she sparked with a dancing actor named Buddy Ebsen (yes, that Buddy Ebsen). But when Buddy headed for New York, Elsie's dreams of a life with him were crushed and eventually she found herself back in the coalfields, married to Homer.

Unfulfilled as a miner's wife, Elsie was reminded of her carefree days in Florida every day because of Buddy's unusual wedding gift: an alligator named Albert who lived in the only bathroom in their little house. Eventually Homer gave Elsie an ultimatum: "Me or the alligator!" After giving it some thought, Elsie concluded there was only one thing to do—carry Albert home.

Carrying Albert Home tells the sweet, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking tale of a young couple and their special pet on a crazy 1,000-mile journey. Told with the warmth and down-home charm that made Rocket Boys a beloved bestseller, Homer Hickam's rollicking novel is truly a testament to that strange and marvelous emotion we call love.

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