If the Creek Don't Rise (Paperback)
Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781492647454, 320pp.
Publication Date: August 22, 2017
August 2017 Indie Next List
— Elizabeth Merritt, Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA
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— Lauri Weisbecker (W), Island Bookstore, Corolla, NC
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He's gonna be sorry he ever messed with me and Loretta Lynn
Sadie Blue has been a wife for fifteen days. That's long enough to know she should have never hitched herself to Roy Tupkin, even with the baby.
Sadie is desperate to make her own mark on the world, but in remote Appalachia, a ticket out of town is hard to come by, and hope often gets stomped out. When a stranger sweeps into Baines Creek and knocks things off kilter, Sadie finds herself with an unexpected lifeline...if she can just figure out how to use it.
This intimate insight into a fiercely proud, tenacious community unfolds through the voices of the forgotten folks of Baines Creek. With a colorful cast of characters that each contribute a new perspective, IF THE CREEK DON'T RISE is a debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. 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?
2. Sadie Blue was the principal character in the book, with her story told in three chapters. Did you root for her from the start? What were her key moments of growth? Who were her mentors and supporters? What did they do that helped her grow a stronger backbone?
3. In what ways were Sadie Blue and her grandmother, Gladys Hicks, and Sadie and her mother, Carly, alike? In what ways were they different?
4. Gladys and Marris were best friends. Who needed the other the most? Who gave the greatest purpose to their relationship?
5. Did you think Gladys was oblivious to her mean behavior? Why did she feel entitled to that mean behavior? How do you think she would have described herself?
6. Who were the most lovable or admirable characters? What made them that way? What were their strengths and weaknesses? In what ways were they important to Sadie’s salvation?
7. Preacher Eli Perkins never quite believed he was good enough for his job. How did that quality make you feel about him? How do you think he performed his job?
8. Three characters who are hard to love are Prudence Perkins, Roy Tupkin, and Billy Barnhill. Did you find any reasons to empathize with them? What were the pivotal moments in their pasts that shaped their personalities? How do you think you would have fared if you were born into their families and stations of life?
9. When Kate Shaw arrived in Baines Creek, she expected to be doing the teaching. What were the things she learned instead?
10. Birdie’s Books of Truths: What insights did they give you into life in Appalachia and the gifts Birdie possessed?
11. What role did Tattler Swann play in the book? Was he a good spokesman for Jerome Biddle? If so, why?
12. This book is written in first person, present tense. Did that choice by the author make the story more intimate? If so, in what ways?
13. Which characters were most capable of loving? In what ways did they demonstrate that?
14. A number of murders were committed in the book. Do you think any of them were justified? If so, which ones and why?