The Book woman of Troublesome Creek

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indexThis was a real eye opener for me. It takes place in 1930 Kentucky and relates the efforts of the “Pack Horse ” librarians, as they were called, to deliver the printed word to their patrons. They were almost all female, and rode horses and mules in every weather imaginable and across hundreds of miles at times. Young Cussy Mary becomes one to feed her father and herself, and enjoys the work immensely. She has led a difficult life: she had an abusive husband, was almost raped by his brother, and is at the mercy of the townspeople, since she was a “blue”. A local doctor ran tests on Cussy or Bluet, as he called her and discovered that she had a condition known as methemoglobinemia. Due to a recessive gene, the blood contains less oxygen and is a more brownish color, causing the person’s skin to have a blue color. Blues in that area were regarded as being lower than any other person of color and discriminated against terribly. Kim Michelle Richardson tells a fascinating story about the hardships and joys of living in Appalachia.

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