Monday, October 12, 2015

Homer Hickam's "Carrying Albert Home"

Homer Hickam is the bestselling and award-winning author of many books, including the #1 New York Times memoir Rocket Boys, which was adapted into the popular film October Sky. A writer since grade school, he is also a Vietnam veteran, a former coal miner, a scuba instructor, an avid amateur paleontologist, and a retired engineer.

Here Hickam dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of A Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator:
Carrying Albert Home is a family legend about my parents, Homer (Sr.) and Elsie Hickam, and told by them over decades. When I first heard their various stories of Albert and how they carried him (along with a rooster) from West Virginia to Florida in the backseat of an old Buick during the Great Depression, I just thought I was hearing tales of youthful misadventure. That was true but it turns out the family legend of Albert is a bit more. When I put their stories together sequentially for the purposes of my novel, I discovered that my parents had actually sent me a message from their present location which I am fairly certain is heaven. Rather than being a story of an outlandish road trip, Carrying Albert Home was nothing less than their explanation of why they stayed together during sixty years of marriage while essentially not agreeing on much of anything. It was, of course, all because of love, that inadequate word that describes the most marvelous and least understood of human emotions.

If there is a movie made based on Carrying Albert Home (actually a very real possibility), I think it would be inspired casting to put Jake Gyllenhaal into the role of Homer and his erstwhile girlfriend Taylor Swift into the role of Elsie. True, Jake is a little old for the 23-year old Homer in Albert but I think there would be a lot of sexual and every other kind of tension automatically between him and Ms Swift. I'm aware that she is a singer, not an actor, but I think she's got some acting chops that would come out if paired with Jake. It would also be kind of cool for Jake to not only have played me in a movie (October Sky) but my father!

As for Albert, I would imagine a great deal of work would have to be done to find just the perfect little alligator. He'd have to be a happy creature, be able to say "Yeah, yeah, yeah" on cue, and generally be cute as only little alligators can be. For the rooster, that might be even more difficult because I don't really know why he was in the novel, just that he was.
Visit Homer Hickam's website.

--Marshal Zeringue