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Summary and book reviews of Creeker by Linda Scott DeRosier

Creeker

A Woman's Journey

by Linda Scott DeRosier

Creeker
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  • First Published:
    Oct 1999, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2002, 272 pages

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Book Summary

A humorous and poignant memoir of an educated and cultured woman who came of age in Appalachia. A story of relationships, the challenges and consequences of choice, and the impact of the past on the present.

Linda Sue Preston was born on a feather bed in the upper room of her Grandma Emmy's log house in the hills of eastern Kentucky. More than fifty years later, Linda Scott DeRosier has come to believe that you can take a woman out of Appalachia but you can't take Appalachia out of the woman.

DeRosier's humorous and poignant memoir is the story of an educated and cultured woman who came of age in Appalachia. She remains unabashedly honest about and proud of her mountain heritage. Now a college professor, decades and notions removed from the creeks and hollows, DeRosier knows that her roots run deep in her memory and language and in her approach to the world.

DeRosier describes an Appalachia of complexity and beauty rarely seen by outsiders. Hers was a close-knit world; she says she was probably eleven or twelve years old before she ever spoke to a stranger. She lovingly remembers the unscheduled, day-long visits to friends and family, when visitors cheerfully joined in the day's chores of stringing beans or bedding out sweet potatoes. No advance planning was needed for such trips. Residents of Two-Mile Creek were like family, and everyone was "delighted to see each other wherever, whenever, and for however long."

Creeker is a story of relationships, the challenges and consequences of choice, and the impact of the past on the present. It also recalls one woman's struggle to make and keep a sense of self while remaining loyal to the people and traditions that sustained her along life's way. Told with wit, candor, and zest, this is Linda Scott DeRosier's answer to the question familiar in Appalachia--"Who are your people?"

Chapter One: My Place

Mine was not the Kentucky of bluegrass, juleps, and cotillions; the Kentucky of my youth was one of coal banks, crawdads, and country music. I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky between the small towns of Paintsville and Inez in a place called Two-Mile Creek. This is my postcard from Appalachia written from the beginning of the "Big War" through the "Age of Aquarius" and running headlong, as quickly as all my baggage will allow, into the twenty-first century.

I was born February 20, 1941, on a feather bed in the upper room of my Grandma Emmy's log house on the left-hand fork of Greasy Creek in what is now Boons Camp, Kentucky. The small birthing room was heated by a coal fire, illuminated by coal oil lamps, and permeated by the aroma of cured hams hanging above the bed. Dr. Frank Picklesimer drove the fifteen or so miles from Paintsville over winding dirt roads to deliver what he judged to be about four pounds of Linda Sue ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Journal of Appalachian Studies

Both a joy to read and a serious exploration of rural Appalachian culture.

Southern Seen

An odyssey laced with tenderness and objectivity.

Kentucky Monthly

DeRosier's memoir is both painful and touching as she recounts the hardships encountered after leaving Two-Mile.

Mountain Eagle

Meets the harshness and the narrowness with a gentle humor while she displays the bonding of family and that of community in all their glory.

Paintsville Herald

A frank, in-depth account of mountain mores, the habits and morally binding customs of us mountain people.

Appalachian Quarterly

Describes an Appalachia of complexity and beauty rarely seen by outsiders.

Knoxville News-Sentinel

A lively, irreverent memoir.

Bowling Green Daily News

Effectively blends sociology, memoir, autobiography, coming of age and discovering voice, and probably a whole lot of other things. Most of all, however, it's a story that tells a tale of our age, and that is priceless for future generations.

Bourbon Times

A rare gem because it is an astonishing look at life in Appalachia without the 'spin' typically put on the portrait by journalists with TV cameras.

Kirkus Reviews

There is nothing typical about this memoir, which is full of not only the language but also the values, humor, and perseverance of DeRosier's family. . . . Rich in both language and history, enjoyable, informative, and 'sharpern ary tack.'

Booklist

Her great gift is to render in absolutely limpid fashion what growing up in Appalachia meant, without a trace of sentimentality. . . . DeRosier's robust language and mordant humor never flag, and she allows us to see and to hear the Appalachian child in the fiftysomething psychology professor from Montana.

Lexington Herald-Leader

One of the finest autobiographies ever written by a native Kentuckian. . . . Breaks down stereotypes by honestly portraying what life was like, as only an insider can.

Author Blurb Sandra L. Ballard, Carson-Newman College
I cannot recall reading any autobiographical work that explores the Appalachian identity so thoroughly or so well. DeRosier generously shares what she has learned from experience, from close observation, and from introspection--all presented with impressive common sense and insight."

Author Blurb Myra McLarey, Harvard University
DeRosier captures this extraordinary part of America in a way that no outsider could because she is not just from the land, but of the land. Creeker is as lively and colorful as a patchwork quilt--and just as genuine--thanks to DeRosier's wit and wisdom and grace.

Author Blurb Kentucky Libraries
Her narrative is captivating, moving quickly and sensitively, creating a sense of personal connection with the reader.

Reader Reviews
Bev Crowe

I am a third generation Appalachian and I soulfully identified with Linda's writing. It was like music to my ears to hear someone put into words what my family has lived and felt for so many generations. "My people", the Reynolds clan, ...   Read More

Anonymous
Elaine M
Although we have read many books over the past eight years, "Creeker" (1999) proved itself to be one of our favorites. I have read it twice myself and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a poignant, funny, and wise account of DeRosier’s ...   Read More

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