Mama’s Song is a WV story set in the rural community of Elgood, in Mercer County. I finished it a few weeks ago and enjoyed the local history and the powerful, ordinary people portrayed. It hooked me from the first sentence, ” Ten thousand years ago, Scotland and Ireland were connected by a land bridge.” Then the history of the world steadily zoomed in closer and closer to Jennings’ characters descended from that ancient place. She used broad brush strokes to set the scenes then wielded a tiny brush for the details of a picture of everyday life in the “hills and hollers’ of West Virginia in the early1900s. The negative realism of outhouses and too many green apples, traveling liniment salesmen, kicking cows, and diphtheria was balanced beautifully by the love shared in families, and, over and over, the beauty of nature: apple blossoms in springtime, blue skies, “a path of pink Ladyslippers” and early morning mists.
The Higginbotham family was tough, no doubt, and survived a changing world with heavy reliance on their faith and the power of love. Nannie and Robert, Ma
ude, Blanche, Cleva, Nelson, Sam, and Gene. are presented so powerfully that I think of them as I go through my similar everyday farm routines.
The author, Gayle Jennings, is a high school classmate and our paths hadn’t crossed since graduation several years ago (well a few
more than several!) until a class reunion this fall. We exchanged books and my life became richer with that swap.
Check it out at http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000969464/Mamas-Song.aspx