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In this linked collection of essays, Sarah Beth Childers takes the stories she grew up listening to - on car rides with her mother, on walks with her grandfather, while playing Yahtzee in her Granny's nicotine cloud - and uses them to explore her childhood in a voice that combines traditional Appalachian storytelling with contemporary memoir. Through her family's stories, Childers reveals some of the ways that historical moments of the twentieth century affected the entire region. Large families squeeze into tiny apartments during the Great Depression, a girl steps into a rowboat from a second-story window to escape Huntington's 1937 flood, brothers are whisked away to World War II and Vietnam, and a young man returns home from the South Pacific and works his life away as a railroad engineer. At the book's center are two young women. Sarah Beth Childers's mother, Marcy, listens to fundamentalist Christian radio evangelists, pays for her mentally ill mother's food and cigarettes with a part-time job at a department store, longs for love, and dreams of becoming a majorette. Years later, Sarah Beth attends Marcy's chosen church, a Pentecostal congregation where members blow whistles and run circles around the sanctuary with lampshades on their heads, and she faces her own love problems at a fundamentalist Baptist school, where she feels isolated as one of the school's few Pentecostals. Sarah Beth's experiences allow her to tackle fundamentalist Christianity as an insider, admitting its flaws but also showing the positive side of such ardent belief. Throughout this book, Sarah Beth seeks to find her own place within the fundamentalist Christian community and her family, and she looks for the joy and clarity that often emerge after times of tragedy and change, when the earth shakes terribly beneath us.