In this appealing collection of fourteen interrelated stories, twelve-year-old William Stroup recounts the ludicrous predicaments and often self-imposed hardships his family endures. Playing on the tension between Martha, his hardworking, sensible mother, and Morris, his disarmingly likable but shiftless and philandering father, William tells of Pa's flirtation with a widow, his swapping match with a band of gypsies, his battle of wits with a traveling silk-tie saleswoman, and his get-rich-quick schemes based on selling Ma's old love letters and collecting scrap iron.
Often caught in the middle of the Stroups' bungles is Handsome Brown, their yard hand, as well as a number of animals with all-too-human qualities: Ida, the mule; Pretty Sooky, the runaway calf; College Boy, the fighting cock; a small flock of woodpeckers that favor Handsome's head over a tree; and goats who commandeer the roof of the Stroups' house.
Georgia Boy was a special book to Caldwell, and its humor is less in the service of social criticism than in other works in which he dealt with poor white southerners. Beneath Georgia Boy's folksy lightheartedness, however, lie the problems of indigence, racism, and apathy that Caldwell confronted again and again in his fiction.