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    Great Insight into life in Appalachia Mountains

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Penguin Random House, through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. This book is written from the author’s perspective. She grew up in the Appalachia Mountains, Owsley County, Eastern Kentucky. She doesn’t want the reader to think “that this poverty is all that exists in Appalachia … as hopeless, broken, dirty.” It becomes obvious that this culture is “men and women who take care of each other even when the outside world does not take care of them.” The primary focus is on the “grit in the mountain women.” It is women’s … “stories of resilience, love, and strength.” However, “women were perceived as having less power.” Although the primary focus is on the author and her perspectives, she does a good job conveying insight into her family, immediate and extended. Life in these mountains is much hard work. Sharecropper’s life, tobacco, coal mining, subsistence living and life in the mountains are well portrayed throughout the book. “In Owsley County, hard work is physical labor that breaks down your body: in a tobacco field, a coal mine, a lumber yard.” The author and her parents break out of the mountain life. Ms. Chambers’ and her immediate family obtain their advanced education providing the vehicle to leave life on the mountains. Yet, the pull to stay in the mountains is well detailed. While the book touches on a number of women, the main story of the book is Cassie’s life and relationships. Ms. Chambers wants people “to take something of value from her story, from our family’s tory. It’s a tale of struggle, change, and success.” I enjoyed the book and felt compassion to life in the mountains until politics is pulled into the book. I wish political opinions were left out. Overlooking this aspect, I recommend the book that gives detailed insight into the challenges of people in the “hills.”

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