Review: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
Sourcebooks Landmark, 2019
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Life is rough for the people of Troublesome Creek, Kentucky. The people are perpetually poor and struggling but, when President Roosevelt establishes the Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Cussy Mary Carter becomes Troublesome Creek’s traveling librarian and begins sharing her love of books with her community in a way that was never before possible. But this Appalachian community is prejudiced and suspicious of all things new…Oh, and also…Cussy’s skin is blue.
I requested this one from Netgalley because my ancestors are from Kentucky. And the idea of a traveling librarian bringing books to the holler was just too good a premise to pass up. But by the time I was able to pick this one up and read it I had completely forgotten that Cussy was blue.
Coming off of a huge paranormal romance binge, when I was first reading along, and Cussy’s skin was revealed to be blue, my brain immediately started down the road of trying to identify what sort of mythical creature she was…*face palm*
But then I remembered that I knew all about the blue people of Kentucky. They were quite real and completely human, by the way, suffering from a disease called methemoglobinemia. If you haven’t heard of this before feel free to jump down the wikipedia rabbit hole.
This book felt like a tribute to librarians everywhere and the work they do to make reading a reality for so many communities that might not otherwise have access to books or a place to read. It was a fascinating immersion into an often misunderstood and marginalized American culture but it didn’t romanticize these folks or make an attempt to hide their flaws. Such as…prejudice on the basis of skin color. It’s interesting to watch the crappyass way Cussy was treated a “blue” despite the fact that she was technically caucasian…really highlights how arbitrary these prejudices truly are…Imagine that, right?
Booklovers, and fans of historical fiction, give this one a read. I think you will find it worthwhile. Thanks, Netgalley for the chance to read an advanced copy. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek releases in May.