Elsie Lavender and Homer Hickam Sr. 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.

Photos from the book that explain why it is “somewhat true.” Homer says, “Everything in Carrying Albert Home is true except those parts that aren’t.”

DonHowardalbert_rooster-Homer-Elsie 07-04-2015

Book Reviews

Germany – Publishing April/May 2016 
What this beautifully written story really got us with was the smart way it played with contradictions. Although the hilarious odyssey of· Elsie, Homer and Albert is clearly impossible, the narrator presents these events from a very authentic and realistic point of view. This disparity is very compelling, mind-boggling and extremely funny at the same time. Carrying Albert Home captures the common nostalgia for missed opportunities and transforms it into a brave adventure, where everything feels easy and possible. We instantly felt that the narrators affection towards his characters came from the heart and that’s why I connected to them right away. A great, entertaining read and such a unique story we are proud to publish!

Holland – Publishing February I March 2016 
Thank you for writing such a great novel, charming, clever, original, unique, imaginative, tender, playful, over the top and completely convincing at the same time. You easily convince the reader that ‘yes of course, travelling in a bathtub on the backseat of a Buick is what an alligator does’. With Homer and Elsie you have created absolutely unforgettable main characters and your writing style is balm for the soul. We at Harper Collins Holland are very happy to be your Dutch publisher.

France – Publishing April/May 2016 
We purely and simply fell in love with your book! Unclassifiable, unique, singular: moving and clever, serious and funny, cultured and accessible, a road book and initiatory jourriey, sarcastic and tender … It went straight to our heart and seduced us from the very first page. We are proud and happy to be the French publisher of Albert Carrying Home and wish you the best success here in France, and internationally as well.

Spain – Publishing February 2016 
Once upon a time, a fantastic book focused on a man, a woman, the bizarre return home of an alligator named Albert and the funny and enriching adventures that give color to this journey”. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen such a fresh and funny story and, at the same time, so directly aimed at our hearts. We are HarperCollins Iberica and we are very proud to share this travel with Albert and make Spanish readers do so.

Hungary- Publishing June 2016
Homer and Elsie enchanted me in seconds, I have been involved in a crazy journey immediately, where the incredible adventures follow each other. The style of the author, his sense of humour and the storytelling makes this read a real page turner. It is a great pleasure for us to present this particular book to our readers. I hope they love it as much as us!

Italy – Publishing in 2016
This amazing journey conquered US from the first pages with its hilarious situations and witty jokes, en thralled us with its fresh simplicity and its characters, so wonderfully human and humanly bizarre. An unusual, moving novel, deep and poetic, that goes straight to the heart. So beautiful that you regret to have ended it so quickly … Italian readers can’t help but love it.

Japan – Publishing 2016 
When I first read the pitch for this book: “people love stories about animals,” I thought “No way no way, it is an alligator. .. ” But once I started reading … “His belly was soft and creamy. His expressive eyes were the color of gold but glowed a compelling red at night” He was more attractive than I had expected! Readers will be falling for Albert as they read page after page.

Nordic – Publishing May/June 2016 
Carrying Albert home is a beautifully written and unique story. Very serious and at the same time very entertaining and funny. It went straight to our hearts. We are so proud to be the publisher of this book in the Nordic region.