Growing up poor in 1953 in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia doesn't bother Lydia Hawkins. She treasures her tight-knit family. There's her loving mama, now widowed; her whip-smart younger brother BJ, who has cystic fibrosis; and wise old Gran. But everything falls apart after Gran and BJ die and Mama is jailed unjustly. Suddenly Lydia has lost all those dearest to her.
Moving to a coal camp to live with her uncle William and aunt Ethel Mae only makes Lydia feel more alone. She is ridiculed at her new school for her outgrown homemade clothes and the way she talks, and for what the kids believe her mama did. And to make matters worse, she discovers that her uncle has been keeping a family secret—about her. If only Lydia, with her resilient spirit and determination, could find a way to clear her mother's name. . . .
Marilyn Sue Shank
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Child of the Mountains Travel back in time to an early 1950's mountain community and meet Lydia Jane Hawkins, whose mother is in prison for the death of her brother. Lydia must go to live with her childless aunt and uncle, leaving behind all that she knows and loves. Lydia keeps a journal, her entries following her memories down troubled paths as she tells the story of her mother, her little brother with cystic fibrosis, her outspoken granny and her life with her moody uncle and sickly aunt. The entries tell things no child should have to tell: a drunken father, a struggle to make ends meet and care for her brother, bullying classmates, impersonal medical professionals, the death of her brother and granny, her mother's trial and incarceration. Through it all, Lydia's voice remains strong and clear, her faith in her mother and her...
Having grown up in Appalachia, I understand the unique way of life that exists among the hills of the Appalachian Mountains. This book captures that way of life beautifully and relays it in its narrator's authentic Appalachian dialect. There were countless moments throughout the book where I stopped to think, "I know that person!" The characters were realistic--at moments painfully so--and this made Child of the Mountains even more tragic and redeeming for me. The phrases, songs, food, and pasttimes in this novel will resonate with anyone who has grown up in the heart of Appalachia, and the book introduces this way of life to outsiders in a way that garners respect for our rich culture. It is a powerful and beautiful novel that takes you through a roller coaster of emotions, and I would recommend it to anyone who grew up in this area or to anyone interested in learning about an often mistakenly-stereotyped group of people.
I loved the book 'Child of the Mountians'! I immediately fell in love with the central character, Lydia, and was drawn into her world. I could not wait to turn the page and see what happened with Lydia and her problems next. I grew up in Appalachia-and Lydia's character rang true to my own childhood days. As a Mother raising kids in Appalachia today, I felt a strong connection with Lydia's mother and grandmother. I also easily identified with her Uncle, her Aunt, and her Teacher.
I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Appalachian based fiction-and I recommend it to anyone who just enjoys a good story!
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