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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of Dimestore: A Writer's Life by Lee Smith

ICYMI: Smith evokes a vivid sense of the regional South in her fiction, and in this memoir she traces her Appalachian youth, offering striking depth and, at times, darkness.

“...the linear, beginning-middle-end form doesn’t fit the lives of any women I know. For life has turned out to be wild and various, full of the unexpected, and it’s a monstrous big river out here.”

In her memoir Dimestore, Lee Smith traces her beginnings in the Appalachian coal-mining town of Grundy, Virginia, where the background of her life was filled with tent revivals, mountain music, and her daddy's dime store and the community that flocked to it.

What could have been simply a charming memoir about growing up in Appalachia and an account the incredible changes in rural Virginia from the time of Smith's childhood to the present day is those things, but it's more: the depth and darkness of Dimestore surprised and intrigued me.

I was taken with Smith's open exploration of the good, bad, and ugly in her life.

I adored reading her mentions of University of North Carolina English professors, other Chapel Hill figures, and the hidden gems of places I love.

I mentioned this book in my Greedy Reading List Six Fascinating Memoirs to Explore.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Lee Smith has written numerous fictional stories about the Appalachian South, including Fair and Tender Ladies, On Agate Hill, The Last Girls, and Oral History.

Her newest book is Silver Alert.

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