Off Magazine Street by Ronald Everett Capps: A Review

I hardly ever watch television, but I love movies. However, my schedule is now so incredibly busy and packed with college and writing business that I don’t often get to watch a movie or read a book. However, a couple of weeks ago, I managed to do both. I had a small window of time and on one of the movie channels caught Love Song for Bobby Long with John Travolta and Scarlett Johansson. I found the film moving, and I checked to see if it were based on a book. It was–the novel by Ronald E. Capps entitled, Off Magazine Street.  I ordered it right away.  Then I ordered the CD with the theme song of the movie.

Off Magazine Street Capps’ first novel. Good Reads says he has two more. He is a graduate of Auburn and an Alabama resident. In addition to being what I consider a fine writer, he is also a visual artist, painting and sculpting.  He has the attitude of a writer. I found a quote of his that I really liked. He said:

“See what is invisible and you will see what to write”


You can find the plot of Off Magazine Street in many places, so I won’t repeat that here, but I would like to make some observations of this novel. I found the movie good, the book better, the song by Grayson Capps (not sure if he is related to the author) a fair capsule of the novel.  The story is a moving one, so full of sadness, the characters so realistically portrayed, the dialogue so natural, that I knew it had to be true (not in the literal sense, but as in “truth”–reflecting life accurately). I understood the characters–Bobby Long, the fallen from grace professor; Byron Burns, the struggling writer and friend, and Hanna, the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, indeed the wrong side of life, whom they help get into college.  I learned about drunks, about writing, about seeing life, about New Orleans. The many allusions are rich and instructive, the narrative effective. This was a novel I could not put down until I finished it.

However, the novel is still not finished with me.

“Bobby got an overdose of some things and an underdose of others. His mind ran too fast. He could not slow it down. He was like a gazelle in a toy store at times, and a moth to a flame at others” (192).

“Bobby knew nothing about occasions, timing, he only knew what he lived. That was the way he had lived his whole life. To him things were simple. You reached out and took, and if you felt like it, you gave, with intensity you wanted to give with” (237).

“Byran wished he could have blamed it all on a war; a broken home during childhood, some terrible handicap, and make the reader of the book he would probably never finish believe that there was some good in Bobby. But the truth was more likely that, his friend, with all his sins and faults, with his unusual mind–enhyanced or diluted with years of alcohol and too many thoughts–was neither good or bad, just a conglomeration called Bobby Long” (238).

There are many other quotes, but you need to find them yourself.

Here are some quotations I liked:

One thought on “Off Magazine Street by Ronald Everett Capps: A Review

  1. I came across the movie, book, and music much in the same way. Grayson Capps is Everret Capps’ son. Grayson has an interesting musical and collegiate background in New Orleans as well, which adds a bit more flavor to the soundtrack and book, “I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.”

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