Essays about contemporary Appalachia.
If you have Appalachian roots, you’ll see yourself again and again in these essays. They concern religion, Appalachians’ outsider status (with a particular emphasis on the LGBT experience), and reflections from authors who have left the region for good.
The collection also includes a great but harrowing essay by Chris Offutt, the very funny “Confessions of a Halfalachian” by Mary Crockett Hill, and the coming-of-age reminiscence “Tough” by the fantastic Ann Pancake.
Many of the authors note the stereotypes that they have to combat in their writing. As Hill says,
“What culture in the current age of hypersensitive political correctness is it still acceptable to mock? Hillbillies, of course. The same person who would never think of making a rude remark about someone else’s race or religion has no problem telling a West Virginia joke.”
Also, one of the editors is Adrian Blevins, whose Live from the Homesick Jamboree I really liked. It's an unsentimental, hard-edged poetry collection that gives glimpses into the life of a woman who grew up in Appalachia in the 1970's and finally moved to Maine to escape.