Thursday, August 18, 2011

A local story...

I have a friend, John H_____, who was interested in doing a bit of genealogical research on his family.  I offered to help.  I really enjoy solving the mystery of who, what, when and where.  In doing so I was looking for narratives on the Estaline Valley which is just north of Craigsville, VA.  In my search I came across a book, "Jesse is Her Name" by Don L. Brown

Now this is a "novel" but it is called a novel because while the facts of who, what, when and where are absolutely true, the "how", i.e. the words exchanged by the participants (their conversations) are a matter of supposition and yet Mr. Brown has added that dialog to his family story.  That is what makes it interesting, the family story part.  Not much to do with the Estaline Valley really, but it touches on class, race, culture and the influences of the times (THE Depression). 

It is a short book, I read it in a little over 1½ hours, but well written and it doesn't stray from the goal of telling the story that Mr. Brown wants to tell.  I think he does it well.  I enjoyed reading it, I enjoyed the story as history, and I really identified with the places.  If you live here in Staunton or in Craigsville or even in other areas of Augusta County, you can get a real feel for the area in the 1930s and 40s by reading this book.  If you have family that lived here during that time, the book might be a great way to open the door onto family history. 

Again, yes, Jesse and Luther were real people.  Thank you Don for sharing your story with us.

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