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If the Creek Don't Rise
A debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.
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What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

Created: 10/09/17

Replies: 22

Posted Oct. 09, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1358

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What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

Life in 1970 Appalachia (and fictional Baines Creek) was undeniably hard and harsh. What did the novel tell you about that historic time and place that you expected? What did you learn that surprised you?


Posted Oct. 29, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Tired Bookreader

Join Date: 08/19/11

Posts: 78

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RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

It was expected that the area would be a little backwards. The surprise was how difficult it appeared to be to get out, to move on in life away from that area.


Posted Oct. 29, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Suzanne

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 229

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RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

For some reason I was surprised how primitive and out-of-tune with the 70s the characters seemed to be, at least in my mind and how I remember that time. It seemed that although the Appalachia has always been thought to be so, this oppression was more than I expected.

The book was hard to put down. I loved the story. The author's way of not telling the full story of the characters and then not enlightening the reader with an ending of the individual's plight was most intriguing. An example is Eli's budding love for Kate not being settled nor was his knowing that it never would be.


Posted Oct. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
keizerfire

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 20

RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

It showed that life in Appalachia in the 70's was still removed from the rest of the world, and almost lived in a different reality. They didn't expect so much from their lives and didn't really know they were missing out on anything because they weren't aware of much of the outside world. I wasn't really surprised by much in the book. Living in Arkansas in those years, it was a given that there were stills out in the woods, and you didn't go trespassing on land that didn't belong to you, unless you wanted to take a chance on getting shot. My grandparents didn't have indoor plumbing until the early 70's! We had a pump outside for water, and an outhouse. Also, we've forgotten that many of the old ways may have been better, and are now misunderstood, in regard to some naturopathic methods of healing and simpler times.


Posted Oct. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ScribblingScribe

Join Date: 02/29/16

Posts: 60

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RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

The novel didn't surprise me with its description of life in the Appalachia in the 1970s. I expected it to be behind the times and difficult. This is a poor region of our country that struggles with modern life. Poverty has a way of doing that in remote regions. The sheer physical barriers combine with the monetary restrictions to create a world removed from the rest of our country. Limited education also plays its part, which is why the teacher is so important in this book. She provides contrast between the world the locals know and what lies beyond the mountains. My grandparents were from Kentucky, the coal miner region. It was similar to this in many ways.


Posted Oct. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Sooz

Join Date: 07/29/14

Posts: 40

RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

I already expected the poverty and the lack of education compared to the more affluent areas of our country. I guess what most surprised me was the violence that Sadie and others experienced and the way that Sadie put up with it for so long. The book was fascinating and the characters well drawn but so sad to think of what type of life they endured and most likely still do. I have a hard time imagining myself growing up in such an environment.


Posted Oct. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
renem

Join Date: 12/01/16

Posts: 88

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RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

I expected pretty much every situation that was touched on in the book; poverty, domestic abuse, high teenage birthrate, alcohol abuse, low education, high superstition, but best of all is the spirit of community. those who don't have much tend to look out for each other and that is a wonderful thing.
What I had forgotten about was the impact of the chestnut trees.


Posted Oct. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 72

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RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

I was not surprised to read about the poverty, lack of education, mean spirited, tough living conditions, and abuse. These things seem to be what we know most well about this part of our country. What we don't hear about is the strength, perseverance, generosity, and gentle kindness of the people living in this region - this is one reason this book is so valuable. Add the fact that we are reminded about the natives who lived there before we were part of this country and about their traditions and beliefs that have been passed down through the ages. I mentioned earlier that I enjoyed reading about the great Chestnut trees, ginseng and herbal uses and remedies, and Mother Jones. These were all genuine treats and surprises of the novel.


Posted Oct. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
deeh

Join Date: 03/03/12

Posts: 171

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RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

I was not surprised that there was still poverty in the region, but was distressed by the depth of it. The atmosphere was more akin to the 1920s or '30s than to the '70s. I was surprised that the people were much more in tune with their surroundings that people that live in other parts of our country.


Posted Oct. 31, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
millicentg

Join Date: 03/10/15

Posts: 12

RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

I spent the first 34 years of my life in the suburbs and cities of the Northeast, graduating from college there and beginning my teaching career there. In so many ways reading this book was like visiting a foreign country for me. It was hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that Sadie and I had experienced the 70's at the exact same time. Even though I also started teaching children living in poverty, I was still shocked by the conditions at the school. I loved these characters and what I learned about this part of the country.

Sadie would have felt the same way about my life if she had come to spend time with me in the 70's ... it would have seemed unreal to her. However, I feel that we would have found a way to friendship if we had been together for a piece of time long enough to share commonalities.


Posted Oct. 31, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 397

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RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

Historically a poor and behind the times area but well presented. Though I grew up a country girl I did not ever live with that isolation and behind the times lifestyle. I guess that I felt these people were deprived and lead a very hard life but to them it was normal. The author presented them all so well and I was probably most surprised by how quickly the city girl and teacher. Kate, sort of figured things out and became a real part of this place which was so very different from her background and previous experiences. I thought I was missing out as an Iowa farm girl on what was the real world but I had the opportunity to get a college education and chose my own life. These people were so isolated and yet content in their own way. I guess you don't miss what you don't know.


Posted Oct. 31, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 230

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RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

The research for this book was fantastic. Leah Weiss captured the lives of Appalachia so well, I almost felt I was living it. I was not surprised by the poverty or the lack of education and when you add in the "stills", you are going to get abuse. People become superstitious and distrustful of the things they don't understand. In many ways this ties them to their mountain. They are afraid to leave because they don't understand what is out there or where or if they would they fit in. They are also aware that they would need some money and they truly have nothing. What they do have is a wonderful feeling of compassion for their neighbors and will always give what little they have to help another.


Posted Nov. 01, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lerrgoo

Join Date: 03/02/17

Posts: 7

RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

I thought the author did a great job in portraying 1970’s Appalachia during this time. It’s almost like she captured a small town feel with a lower socioeconomic culture. The characters are so secluded and don’t want to leave the mountain. Even though they lived in poverty, this did not dampen their spirits and it made them stronger to deal with whatever came their way.


Posted Nov. 01, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lesleyf

Join Date: 05/14/11

Posts: 33

RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

I knew by the time I read this book that life in Appalachia was sometimes gruesome. Still, it was surprising to think that in the 1970s, this life style was still extant in America.


Posted Nov. 03, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
louisee

Join Date: 06/29/15

Posts: 72

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RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

I learned a lot about the Appalachian region from a friend who grew up there. So I knew about the poverty, spirit, education, and isolation in this area. I agree that the author did a great job portraying the region. However I didn't know about the violence like others mentioned. The minister and teacher were their window to the outside world, helping educate people like Sadie.


Posted Nov. 04, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PiperUp

Join Date: 10/27/15

Posts: 71

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RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

I wasn't very surprised because I spent some time in rural areas of TN & KY when I was a kid 90's & when in college in the early 2000's. These areas are still really struggling economically, educationally, and with respect to technological advances so it wasn't surprising that Appalachia was struggling in these aspects in the 70's.


Posted Nov. 05, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
CoventryReader

Join Date: 08/04/11

Posts: 27

RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

I expected a backward society but was shocked at the depth of poverty and the lack of education among the characters in the novel. To think that this took place in the 70s and not the 50s was a surprise to me. The book really conveyed the difficulties that the characters lived with on a daily basis.


Posted Nov. 05, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurae

Join Date: 11/05/17

Posts: 2

RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

I thought the book was excellent in portraying a realistic look at Appalachia in the 70s. I was reminded of parts of Alabama and Mississippi in the 60s when I lived there. The rest of the world was changing and there was a sense of time warp in the South and even more so in Appalachia. The sad poverty and sense of defeat loomed loud and clear throughout the book.


Posted Nov. 05, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

Posts: 278

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RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

I loved the story. It definitely took me to a part of the country I don't think much about. I think I didn't realize the amount of poverty and ignorance that existed then and I'm sure to some degree exists today. If the depth of the poverty, lack of education, isolation is really understood it is easy to see how difficult is is for people to ever change their lot. The thing that I did get from this is how tough people really are. How they band together and make things work, how they support each other and get by on very little


Posted Nov. 07, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marys

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 35

RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

The complete isolation for most of the characters was what surprised me. I expected the poverty but I was taken aback by the isolation. I think of that period as a time when people were moving all around the country - hitchhiking was easy - but those folks weren't moving anywhere but where they knew.


Posted Nov. 08, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
tracyb

Join Date: 09/22/11

Posts: 66

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RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

Due to lack of education these folks were trapped in this town. I was graduating from college in 1972, had worked with HeadStart in N.H. yet I was shocked by the desperation that just the lack of basic school supplies created.


Posted Nov. 09, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gingiew

Join Date: 11/05/17

Posts: 2

RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

In the 1980s I spent time with our youth group in Appalachia working on homes. The people were tough and caring just like in the book. There was so much interconnectiveness between all the families. I knew the families have very little but knew they didn’t need a lot of material things. We would work on their house all day long and somehow they would pull together a full meal for us which I knew they couldn’t afford. At the end of the week, they had maybe a new porch or new roof and new friends and we had a new vision of a wonderful culture within our country.


Posted Nov. 10, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyh

Join Date: 01/23/15

Posts: 69

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RE: What did the novel tell you about 1970s Appalachia that you expected? What surprised you?

I expected the poverty. lack of education, abuse and how difficult it is to escape unless a person had a mentor to assist in their getting a better life


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