With her debut memoir, In the Shadow of the Valley, Bobi Conn etches a love song to home, and like any great love song, though there is longing and elegy, there is too the unmistakable melody of Bobi’s transcendence as we witness her become a phoenix rising to the truth of her own story.
More than a world plagued by OxyContin, violence, and broken schools, and more than simply geography—a valley between mountains that she and her family inhabit—Bobi’s Kentucky holler is a place where grandmothers wait on their front porch with open arms and food, calling empty bellies to their warming stoves, where streams and blackberry brambles bloom in abundance, and where women stretch the lack that can afflict a whole region into family heirlooms and leftovers. Bobi’s holler is where both love and a little something extra for a rainy day are hidden away in tight corners, protected from the broken men they love and their angry fists.
Here, in this beautiful, complicated landscape, Bobi rewrites the ravaged and narrow myths of what it in means to grow up poor and sounding like the place you come from, showing us that thriving, like survival, never looks quite like what we’ve been taught to expect. For fans of Janesville and The Glass Castle, In the Shadow of the Valley is a gorgeously and authentically written book.
— Hafizah Geter, Editor