Hill Women

Hill Women

Finding Family and A Way Forward in the Appalachian Mountains

Large Print - 2020 | Large print edition
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"Nestled in the Appalachian mountains, Owsley County is one of the poorest counties in both Kentucky and the country. Buildings are crumbling and fields sit vacant, as tobacco farming and coal mining decline. But strong women are finding creative ways to subsist in their hollers in the hills. Cassie Chambers grew up in these hollers and, through the women who raised her, she traces her own path out of and back into the Kentucky mountains. Chambers's Granny was a child bride who rose before dawn every morning to raise seven children. Despite her poverty, she wouldn't hesitate to give the last bite of pie or vegetables from her garden to a struggling neighbor. Her two daughters took very different paths: strong-willed Ruth--the hardest-working tobacco farmer in the county--stayed on the family farm, while spirited Wilma--the sixth child--became the first in the family to graduate from high school, then moved an hour away for college. Married at nineteen and pregnant with Cassie a few months later, Wilma beat the odds to finish school. She raised her daughter to think she could move mountains, like the ones that kept her safe but also isolated her from the larger world. Cassie would spend much of her childhood with Granny and Ruth in the hills of Owsley County, both while Wilma was in college and after. With her "hill women" values guiding her, Cassie went on to graduate from Harvard Law. But while the Ivy League gave her knowledge and opportunities, its privileged world felt far from her reality, and she moved back home to help her fellow rural Kentucky women by providing free legal services. Appalachian women face issues that are all too common: domestic violence, the opioid crisis, a world that seems more divided by the day. But they are also community leaders, keeping their towns together in the face of a system that continually fails them. With nuance and heart, Chambers uses these women's stories paired with her own journey to break down the myth of the hillbilly and illuminate a region whose poor communities, especially women, can lead it into the future"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Waterville, ME : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, a Cengage company, 2020
Edition: Large print edition
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9781432879174 (large print)
1432879170 (large print)
Branch Call Number: LP B CHAMBERS
Characteristics: 393 pages (large print) : illustration ; 23 cm
large print,rdafs

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TheresaAJ
Mar 23, 2020

This book, written by Cassie Chambers, is the counterpoint to J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy. With strong encouragement from her mother and Aunt Ruth, Cassie left her poverty-stricken upbringing to earn degrees from Yale and Harvard. She then returned to Kentucky to practice law and specializes in domestic abuse cases. Although she acknowledges that many of the hillbilly stereotypes have a kernel of truth, she also illustrates the strong-knit families and communities that are often led by women. When she marries the son of a powerful Lexington, Kentucky family, Cassie must reconcile her feelings about her family and the privileged world she has entered. This memoir has lots of fodder for a book club discussion.

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TheresaAJ
Mar 23, 2020

"it's easy to see why they were attracted to a political candidate like Donald Trump, who wanted to burn everything down. But don't mistake this anger for unsophistication. On my last trip to Owsley County, Sonny spent ten minutes explaining to my why Donald Trump's trade policies had lowered the price you could get selling a load of junk in a nearby town. By the time he finished explaining steel and aluminum tariffs, my head was spinning."

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