“This book is stunning in every way. There is a peaceful beauty as Betty describes her family and the places they live, finally settling in Breathed, Ohio. But, page by page, the story grows dark as we learn the truth—and myths—that shape their lives. Betty’s father is Cherokee, her mother white, and Betty, one of eight siblings, is dark-skinned, distained by society. But it is her family that will bring her the most pain. There are characters and moments in this novel I will never forget, that pull at me still. There are descriptions that are so beautiful, heartbreaking and uniquely Betty, that I read them two and three times just to take in their wisdom and magnificence. Tiffany McDaniel has written a story about living through grief, and finding stories that help and destroy us. It’s not a light-hearted novel. You must be ready for Betty, ready to have your heart broken, and healed.”Sarah, Loganberry Books
A stunning, lyrical novel set in the rolling foothills of the Appalachians about a young girl and the family truths that will haunt her for the rest of her life
"A girl comes of age against the knife."
So begins the story of Betty Carpenter. Born in a bathtub in 1954 to a white mother and a Cherokee father, Betty is the sixth of eight siblings. The world they inhabit in the rural town of Breathed, Ohio, is one of poverty and violence--both from outside the family and, devastatingly, from within. The lush landscape, rich with birdsong, wild fruit, and blazing stars, becomes a kind of refuge for Betty, but when her family's darkest secrets are brought to light, she has no choice but to reckon with the brutal history hiding in the hills, as well as the heart-wrenching cruelties and incredible characters she encounters.
Despite the hardships she faces, Betty is resilient. Her curiosity about the natural world, her fierce love for her sisters, and her father's brilliant stories are kindling for the fire of her own imagination, and in the face of all to which she bears witness, Betty discovers an escape: she begins to write. She recounts the horrors of her family's past and present with pen and paper and buries them deep in the dirt--moments that have stung her so deeply she could not tell them, until now.
Inspired by generations of her family, Tiffany McDaniel sets out to free the past by delivering this heartbreaking yet magical story--a remarkable novel that establishes her as one of the most important voices in American fiction.
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