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Mountain Girls by Stephanie Kadel Taras is a memoir and social history about growing up in West Virginia. It is heartwarming, heartfelt, and often a humorous tribute to the mountains and people of West Virginia.
Stephanie now lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and when she talks about her home state, she says, “If it sinks in that I’m talking about a different state from Virginia, and which state that is, their faces suddenly change like they’re thinking, ‘You grew up in that place of inbred hicks and barefoot children and black lung? How did you make it out of there?’” Stephanie asks, “How can I get back there?”
Mountain Girls weaves seamlessly between the past and present of a lifelong friendship of two girls from Elkins, West Virginia. It’s a story about the resilience, humor, and creativity that shaped their lives. This book is inspired by stories from other West Virginia women, generations of Appalachians who have long known, “It’s up to you to make the life you want.”
You will love these irreverent and poignant tales of beans and cornbread, forest clear-cuts, old-time music, Scots-Irish tempers, and sex after Sunday school. Mountain Girls will make you long to be a hillbilly — or praise-the-Lord-and-pass-the-moonshine if you already are. ISBN 9780991035809.
Stephanie Kadel Taras is a Ph.D. in Sociology and Education with a focus on interviewing and people’s stories. She has been a professional writer for twenty-five years, and has written more than 35 full-length personal biographies and several in-depth organizational histories.
She has led dozens of life-story writing workshops at senior centers, women’s clubs, continuing education programs. Her classes have spawned ongoing writing groups still going strong after several years. Stephanie also writes personal profiles as articles for local Michigan magazines. She was elected to serve as president of the Ann Arbor City Club in 2014.