Local author gives book lecture on boll weevilBy Emily Etheredge Published 6:44pm Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Local author Rhett Barbaree gave a book lecture about his book, “Thank God for Boll Weevils,” on Tuesday at the Chilton-Clanton Public Library.
Barbaree told those in attendance the Lord impressed on him to tell the story of the boll weevil and he hopes to reach more people who might not know the story with his book.
Barbaree’s first novel depicts “the meanest little bug in America” that invaded and destroyed cotton fields and reached southeast Alabama in 1915. Barbaree’s book also gives factual accounts of George Washington Carver and others who played important roles when faced with the invasion of the crop-eating insect in the early 1900s.
Barbaree said he used his experience of growing up in Andalusia as well as time he spent on a family plantation in Evergreen called Melrose as well as growing up hearing Southern dialect to influence some of the characters and themes in his novel.
Barbaree spoke about different ways to publish a book and encouraged those who might be interested in the route he took to publish his first novel.
“I paid a smaller publisher to publish my book,” Barbaree said. “I worked closely with her because I did not want to go through everything of writing a book and not end up being published.”
The front cover of the novel depicts a field of cotton that Barbaree said was chosen out of four different options.
“When I first saw the cover of the book it had a telephone pole in the background,” Barbaree said. “I was happy with everything except the telephone pole because the story was written in the early 1900s.”
Barbaree said his two favorite characters in the book include the main character Janie and George Washington Carver, who is one of Barbaree’s heroes.
“Sometimes I go back and re-read the chapter about Carver because I enjoy it so much,” Barbaree said.
Although many readers locate Barbaree’s book by word of mouth or the association with Southern history, Barbaree hopes to reach more readers with his story.
A monument still stands in Enterprise that was erected in 1919 to the insect in appreciation for the changes the boll weevil made to their approach in agriculture.
Barbaree’s book can be purchased on Amazon, Wright’s Gifts and Drugs in Clanton, Shoney’s and the library.