[ download pdf ] Fair and Tender LadiesAuthor Lee Smith – Moncler2018.co

From Ivy Rowe S Birth On Blue Star Mountain, Her Life Is Full Of Passion And Longing As She Writes Letters To Family And Friends Ivy S Talent As A Budding Writer Is Recognized Early On, But Just As She Is About To Realize Her Dream Of Going North To School, She Is Betrayed By Her Passionate Nature Facing An Unwed Pregnancy And Publicly Admonished For Her Sins, Ivy Marries A Childhood Friend Who Takes Her Back To The Family Homestead, Where She Bears Several Children And Endures The Endless Toil Of A Farmer S Wife Through Her Trials Ivy Holds Firm, Knowing That Her Life Will Hold Happiness One Day 4.5 Take me home country roads I had a friend, recently deceased, who was raised in the Ozark mountains and I could hear her accent and unique phrases like down to a gnat s eyelash as told through Ivy Rowe s letters recounting her life on Blue Star Mountain as she describes passing through a field of lighning bugs like walking among the stars in the sky I was unfamiliar with the author until I heard her comments about Harper Lee and To Kill A Mockingbird as part of a recent documentary on PBS Coincidentally my GR friend Connie had recently posted her review on this book Years ago I saw a movie called Songcatcher about a woman named Lily who ventures into the most isolated areas of the mountains to collect songs and finds herself increasingly enchanted not only by the rugged purity of the music, but also by the raw courage and endurance of the local people as they carve out meaningful lives against the harshest conditions quote from film review More recently I have enjoyed reading about American Appalachia, past and present, through the writing of author Ron Rash Fortunately, all this has supplanted the only other image of the area and its people I had originally been exposed to in the movie Deliverance Probably not for everyone and no doubt my personal tastes played a big part in my enjoyment of this novel, but like Lily I was completely enchanted Highly recommend if you want to travel back to another time and place that has disappeared along with the great American Chestnut tree..Singing that tells a story from Songcatcher I just re acquainted myself with Ivy Rowe, after an absence of 30 years, and she is still the same wonderful woman I knew then I have been in her heart and in her head for the last few days, and am now emerging with an inspired sense of just how wonderful life can be when you face it with awe and courage.Ivy was not a paragon of virtue by society s standards She followed her heart and her passions, never doing the sensible thing, though she was as smart as they came She loved indiscriminately, but not always wisely, and refused to apologize for her decisions She was religious in her own way, but never got saved or was much of a church goer, as she disagreed with a lot of God s plans and actions She trusted herself to do what was right for her, a thing that can be hard to do in a small mountain community But as she said, once you are ruint, it gives you a lot of freedom Born in 1900, we follow Ivy s life through the letters she wrote to friends and family From a childhood with 8 brothers and siblings, on a farm way up high on Sugar Fork, through youth and marriage and motherhood and old age, we hear her opinions on everything she cares most about Oh, let me age as Ivy did, always learning, ready to accept new ways, but recognizing the value of the old ways too I said to Maudy, Those birth control pills are great They are the greatest thing since drip dry You ought to get yourself some Her father used to say, Farming is pretty work So is writing, when you do it like Lee Smith does, creating a world and populating it with a heroine like Ivy Rowe My second reading of this book cements her place in literary characters never to be forgotten. This is a fabulous book with an unforgettable heroine named Ivy Rowe It is great believe you me Set out in letters that begin with a twelve year old Ivy and take us through an entire lifetime, Ivy s soul is put onto paper, sprinkled with all her hopes, dreams and disappointments I defy anyone to get past the first letter without loving Ivy unreservedly She surely made me laugh, cry, rejoice and lament, and she made me remember something of a life that I once had a glimpse of that is now gone forever If you traveled deep into Appalachia, you might find people still living somewhat the same, but I doubt it There just isn t anywhere like Blue Star Mountain any.I have sometimes thought that my own life has a soundtrack I can conjure up specific events and people when I hear certain songs Apparently, Ivy Rowe s life had a soundtrack as well I loved all the references to old songs and, after one of my fine GR friends, Tom, posted one of the songs off of Youtube, I felt compelled to seek out every song that was mentioned and listen to them one by one It was a surreal experience, since they were songs that conjured my own father and his brothers, who loved nothing better than to get together on the porch with fiddle and guitars and fill the night with folk music, hymns and popular songs of their time Ivy dreams of a bigger life, one filled with purpose and travel and adventure, but she finds hers is destined to be a rather simple life, lived primarily at Sugar Fork and circling around a small community and a limited number of people But, I think she finds, in the end, that simple lives have purpose too, and perhaps as many or facets than those lived in exotic places or in fancy homes Like the creek that leads to Sugar Fork, her life meanders and turns and changes, and it is the memory of all that moving water that matters the mostI felt a pain shoot through me, like an arrow in my heart Oh Joli, you get so various as you get old I have been so many people And yet I think the most important thing is Don t Forget Don t ever forget Lee Smith is an adroit writer, who almost paints her scenes, like airbrushing with words I had a true sense of the beauty and wildness of Sugar Fork, the rising mountains, the foliage, and the fields of wildflowersBut night comes in slow over Bethel Mountain and we watch it come, like it is sneaking in I reckon, stealing across the mountains ridge by ridge, they go blue and purple before your very eyes, and then the mist will rise I could not be happier to have climbed this mountain with Ivy She is so refreshingly open minded, so kind, feeling, accepting and imperfect Like so many of us, she doesn t always appreciate what she has, she acts rashly, she caves into desires she barely understands, she falls for lines that she knows are not true, but she presses forward, forgives others and often forgives herself But, through it all, she chooses She never abdicates the choice to others and the responsibility, credit and the blame, are always hers alone If, at the end of my life, I could look back and see a life as full of love and meaning as Ivy s, I think I could be satisfied.I am always indebted to Diane and The Southern Literary Trail for introducing me to the best authors and the finest books I have discovered Tom Franklin, Howard Bahr, Tim Gautreaux, Michael Farris Smith, and now Lee Smith How on earth do you say thank you for that I had not heard of this author nor of this book before I saw it was a pick this month of the GR group On the Southern Literary Trail It s a favorite group that has introduced me to many great authors and stories, so I dived right in Boy, am I glad I did This book will certainly have a place in my top ten books ever Yes, it was that good Ivy Rowe is a woman born into a dirt poor family on a farm beside Sugar Fork creek on a mountain in southwest Virginia coal country, an often cruel circumstance But Ivy has a zest for life, an unceasing curiosity, a drive for education, an outsized love of nature and a passion for writing We meet her in 1915 when she is twelve and we get to know about her life through the letters she writes over the years to a handful of family and friends And what a life She wants to be a writer and gets oh so close to going north to be educated in Boston, but life has other plans for Ivy Life is not always easy and her drive to live it fully doesn t always lead her in the best direction, but Ivy is a model for making the best of her choices and what life throws at her I loved watching the sweep of history unfold through Ivy s letters from 1915 through the early 1970 s When she tells, for example, a friend about rural electrification coming to the valley below her, we too are amazed at the moment the lights go on, looking like a valley full of fireflies We feel her heart break at the loss of lives from war, we know the thrill of her first store bought dress, we marvel along with her getting a radio and listening to baseball, and we too chuckle at women wearing pantsuits Ivy doesn t just live life, she sees life and from this seeing comes a deep knowing As we experience life through Ivy s eyes, we are able to see and to know as well When I finished Fair and Tender Ladies, I was ruint for reading anything else for a few days, to borrow one of Ivy s oft use words A note on the audiobookThis was one of the best I ve ever listened to I felt as if I were sitting on the front porch up there on the mountain with Ivy as she told me the story of her life While I was reading this book, I found myself thinking and talking with a southern accent After all, if I were sitting up there with her, I must speak that way too We likely had a pitcher of lemonade, a fan to keep us cool from the heat and perhaps bluegrass music playing on the radio. Baby when I get down I turn to youAnd you make sense of what I doI know it isn t hard to sayBut baby just when this world seems mean and coldOur love comes shining red and goldAnd all the rest is by the way Why worry, there should be laughter after painThere should be sunshine after rainThese things have always been the sameSo why worry now Why Worry, Emmylou Harris, Mark Knopfler, Songwriters Mark KnopflerOh Ivy, sing ivory, rosebud and thorn An epistolary novel, this story is told through letters from young Ivy, beginning around her 12th year, to pen pals, family and friends Through these, we learn not only her story, but also the story of this hardscrabble way of life in the turn of the century for those living in Virginia s Appalachian region Along with the struggles of this life, young Ivy struggles with spelling, as her early letters show, but that takes away none of the charm, especially as lovely as her letters can be The first of herLetters from Sugar Forkshe writes to another young girl of the story of how her parents first came to live on Blue Star Mountain, and her mother s thoughts when she first saw the land of their future homeShe saw Sugar Fork sparkle in the sun like a ladys dimond necklace She saw Pilgrim Knob rise up direckly behind the house, and Blue Star Mountain beyond They call it that because of how blue it looks from down below, along Home Creek and Daves Branch, why you can see Blue Star Mountain clear from Majestic on a pretty day now you can see all them neghbor peoples houses fine but you cant see ourn, nor get to it nether, without wanting to You are not going to happen upon us, is what I mean And Blue Star Mountain don t seem so blue nether, when you up here But it is the prettest place in the worldAs Ivy grows older, her spelling shows improvement, but retains the colloquial speech of this region, which I loved Ivy loves her family, especially her sister Silvaney, who isso pretty, she is the sweetest, all silverhaired like she was fotched up on the moonSilvaney is five years older than Ivy, but due to the brain fever Silvaney had as a child, life is challenging for her, and so they play together In their childhood they play house together, building ovens out of rocks, and cookies out of sticks, drawing water from Sugar Fork, and added fancy hair dressings out of Black Eyed Susans and Queen Anne s Lace And while their life is not an easy one, life is good.But life has a way of changing courses, as most of us know, and as years pass, changes do come, some perhaps most unwelcome, but some are just nature s way Ivy matures physically, and her dreams change as the years pass, but there is a recognition of her truth, at her core The words of Shakespeare s Polonius,This above all to thine own self be trueseem to be her life s song, even when she finds herself ruint, and the object of gossip, she owns her decisions and refuses to feel shame in them She forgives herself, and others, their trespasses Reflecting on the swift passing of time, the loss of those idyllic, lazy days of childhood, and those spent playing with Sylvaney, she writesI think this is one reason I write so many letters to you, Silvaney, to hold onto what is passing Because the days seem to go faster and faster, especially now that I have got Joli, the days whirl along like the leaves blowing down off the mountain right now I remember Geneva saying that the older you get, the faster time goes by Well, I want to stop it I want to hold up its flight like you would hold up a train, and steal what I can from each daySo many reflections on love, what constitutes a life well lived, the busy ness of life meddling with the things that matter mostIt s funny how a person can be so busy living that they forget this is it This is my life Oh, Ivy Rowe How I have loved spending time with you. Fair and Tender Ladies A Life Well Lived My sincere thanks to Diane Barnes, my reading friend and a Co Moderator of On the Southern Literary Trail, who selected Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith, as her Moderator s Choice for March, 2018.3 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven 2 A time to be born, and a time to die a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal a time to break down, and a time to build up 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh a time to mourn, and a time to dance 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing 6 A time to get, and a time to lose a time to keep, and a time to cast away 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew a time to keep silence, and a time to speak 8 A time to love, and a time to hate a time of war, and a time of peace.Ecclesiastes 3 1 8, King James VersionThose few verses render the entire range of our lives on this earth It is simple and it is wise For it is the story of each of us These are among my favorite verses of the Bible Never have I seen it written so beautifully, so perfectly, as in this novel by Lee Smith.Ivy Rowe is a woman whose life will remain indelibly a part of my life as a reader While each of us lives out the words of Ecclesiastes, each of us must do so in our own way This is Ivy Rowe s story Told completely in the letters Ivy wrote through the course of her life, from a budding adolescent to a very old woman.This book is one to cherish, to keep, to love, to return to, no matter how many books we have left unread in the time allotted to us It is simply that special Ivy has much to tell us and she does in a manner each of us can see a bit of ourselves, whether man or woman We laugh with her We cry with her.As simple as the words of Ecclesiastes are, contained in them is the question just when is it time to do those things in our lives Often the time to get may be easy To keep may be as easy But accepting loss and deciding to cast away what we have held dear is not so easily done.The life of Ivy Rowe teaches the answers to the hard questions Ivy s story is that of a life well lived It now joins the relatively few books on my favorites shelf May it be on yours as well. Lee Smiths beautiful prose in this story told through the letters of Ivy Rowe made my heart and mind sing with nostalgia This story follows the stubborn and very wise Ivy from a young girl at the end of the 18th century to a very old woman in the mid 1900 s Though poor and poorly educated she had a thirst for knowledge and a zest for life She never lost that ability of the young to look around and see the beauty of your surroundings as well as be grateful for the simplest things in life Ivy was not simple, far from it but she always kept that sense of awe and wonder This story is about hardship, about great love, about great loss as well as about great yearning and disappointment Family mattered, no matter what Ivy travelled through her life with a dignity and quite a sense of humor that was matched only by how strongly she felt things She had little fear and charged ahead without considering consequences, then accepted whatever came her way Having come from a family of strong midwestern pioneers, and having lived in the mountains of rural Tennessee and North Carolina that mimic the setting of this story I appreciated how on target Smith was in her descriptions of the people, the traditions, the lore of this generation Her descriptions of the settings were lyrical, almost musical and I could close my eyes and see the fields of wildflowers, smell the rain in the air before the storm, hear the birds in the early morning and feel the dew on my bare feet Having also received a weekly letter from home for the last 35 years of my life since I left home I could appreciate Ivy s letters as her way to stay connected to those who held a place in her heart These letters were full of great sorrows and joys and everything in between I also appreciated the changes in society that were discussed in these letters, how progress in the world eventually comes to all corners We learned about not only Ivy s life but that of her family as well through these letters She was the person who kept them all connected With Fair and Tender Ladies Smith has cemented herself in my mind as the ultimate writer of Southern story telling I listened to the audio and so appreciated the language of the mountains The dialogue held the charm of the rural, mountain folk yet the speech was almost like the old English, no contractions but correct grammar The spot on narrative took this to a 5 star rating It has been a while since I have laughed, and cried and embraced a character as I did with Ivey I will miss her. From where we stood, we could see for miles I thought I could see Sugar Fork but I couldn t be sure, there were lots and lots of hollers, and I saw them all, valley after valley, ridge after ridge, Bethel Mountain beyond but now for the first time I could see over the top of Bethel Mountain to another mountain, blue, purple, then mountain after mountain, rolling like the sea It was so beautiful A single twisted pine grew bravely up out of the rocks before us Mile after mile of empty air stretched out behind it, the sky so blue, the sun so bright And the wind, which kept on blowing all the time now I recalled the famous endless wind on top of Blue Star Mountain.Ivy Rowe A devoted pen pal, a forever devoted pen pal, a I will remane forever I hope your devoted Pen friend , a I do not know wether you will recive this letter or not thogh I remane forever your devoted , your devoted granddaughter, I will not send this letter as I remane your hateful , sharing we are fine thogh and I remane your devoted , forever always, your devoted Ivy Rowe, I remane your exited and grateful , forever best friend, devoted sister, Oh Daddy I miss you so much do not think I am crazy because I feel they is something terible starting to happen and you know it is dog days so whatever it is will go on happening, but I remane your loving devoted daughter , yor devoted friend, But I miss Momma But I remain your devoted although ruint sister , I remane yor truthful , forever your devoted best friend, I remane your grateful , I remane your loving sister , a loving sister, a long last sister, a happy sister, a crazy sister, a loyal sister, your sister, a thankful student, wife, your loving mama, an aging thin sister, now I remain your loving and old mamaw Sometimes when Ivy was growing up compassionate by nature even with so many people on the mountain Ivy still felt lonesome She didn t feel as though she had anybody she could really talk with But she knew when her baby Joli came she would talk with her Ivy wrote letters I LOVED THEM ALL she also always loved a story.There was one letter where I wanted to stand up and cheer, HALLELUJAH, AMEN, YOU GO GIRL Dear Miss Mabel Maynard,I know you will be interested to hear from me because you acted so mean to me always and then you felt at my stomach the day I left, and ran off crying You cannot deny you did this, because you did And since I got up here, I have had some time to think about it, and reflect So I have something to say to you Miss Maynard, do not pity me Do not bother to dislike me, nor pity me, nor anything else, because I do not need anything from you, nor want to either My Little baby Joli Rowe was born September 10, 1918 She is all mine, I have never had a thing of my own before She is the most beautiful baby in the world So, I pity you Your former acquaintance, Ivy RoweIvy Rowe I loved her spirit She had a zest for love for inner understanding accepting the way that things turn out not always as we dreamed seeing reality and people and herself the way they she really were was Ivy was mindful aware made mistakes and took responsibility for them Sometime she was tired of being grateful could you blame anyone But mostly Ivy was a grateful human being She lived her life without regret..knew when to apologize..lived through good and bad days She danced she mourned made us laugh and cry And she taught us that by following our own path life can be a truly fulfilling existence This was my first Lee Smith book THANK YOU Sara..and Diane too..BOTH of your reviews express how I feel about this book deep down myself I can t ever remember reading a portrait of life spanning 70 years of an Appalachian woman Or..of any woman that was so wholeheartedly beautiful I m touched as can be by this unforgettable story and boy the stories just keep coming and coming..with 8 siblings alone.life is not dull I loved it all INCREDIBLE writing I paid attention to the way the dialect changed over the years Wow.I tried to imagine the patience and skill it had to take to write an entire novel like this It was actually very easy to read but I can t imagine it was easy to write Artistic writing talent Really gorgeous and sooooo charming Poppycock My favorite FUN WORD Ivy used it several times nonsense hogwash baloney Brilliantly written..heartwarming to our souls This book is special The cover may give you the impression that this is fluff It is not It is set in the Appalachians of Virginia It covers the 1900s through to the 70s Both wars and the Depression Yet history is not the focus even if it of course plays a role in shaping events The focus is a family, the family of Ivy Rowe She has six siblings, aunts and uncles, grandparents, friends and her own five kids They get married, and they have kids Each one of these becomes a person you know Not once was I confused about who was who Ivy thought she would become a writer, but she never did Yet she did, in her own way, because what we are reading are her letters to friends and those in her family Her whole life is told through these letters I never imagined that such a complete, heartrending and delightful story could possibly be told through only letters She reveals her innermost thoughts in letters that are not sent, and thus in this way we get the truth I would never have trusted only letters to friends and family, because don t we hide stuff from each other What is so special about this book is the writing Ivy expresses herself simply and honestly and beautifully Great writing Beautiful lines and lines to ponder the in depth character portrayals Each character becomes someone you know well Each one is a mix of good and bad Ivy tells all She thinks, she simply cannot stop thinking We watch her from early youth to old age Through these letters we learn of her life and the life of those close to her At the end when she is old, you don t want her to die You cannot bear to lose her Through her you think of your own life the accurate and detailed picture drawn of a mountain girl s life in the South Gorgeous writing about rural places mountains and creeks and hollers You don t know what a holler is In the Appalachians this word is used for a valley region between two hills or mountains, often with a creek Southern expressions and dialect create a feeling of place The audiobook narration by Kate Forbes was superb This is one of those cases where listening to the book is better than just reading it The dialect and sound you hear further enhance the atmosphere You hear as Ivy ages, scarcely noting that her voice has changed Never hard to follow and a great choice for those who have little experience with audiobooks When I close this book I am sad because it is over I will be grabbing by this author My next will be her memoir Dimestore A Writer s Life.