Juvenile Fiction ID?
May 27, 2010 4:57 AM   Subscribe

Young-adult fiction about the barest survival of a family in rural Appalachia?

It must have been relatively well-known to librarians in the mid-seventies as that's how it came to me. It was a fictional account of the family's hard-scrabble subsistence with the older children caring for the younger and even the parents when they were sick, as they often were. It held nothing back, as I recall, and was probably too intense for younger children. It may have been structured around a calendar year and there may have been 1-3 books in a series.
posted by Pamelayne to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Sounds like it might be Where the Lilies Bloom by Bill and Vera Cleaver.
Mary Call has promised her dying father to keep her brother and sisters together forever on the mountain, and never to take any help from strangers. She is determined to keep her word. No matter what. At first she is sure she can manage. Romey, Ima Dean, and Devola help gather herbs to sell in town; the riches of the mountains will surely keep the family clothed and fed. But then winter comes, fast and furious, and Mary Call has to learn that the land where the lilies bloom is also a cruel and unforgiving place, and it may take more than a promise to keep her family together.
It came out in 1969 and received a lot of critical attention including a National Book Award nomination.
posted by Jeanne at 5:08 AM on May 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

I don't think it's it, but just in case: Where the Red Fern Grows?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:25 AM on May 27, 2010

Also could be The Dark Didn't Catch Me by Crystal Thrasher.
posted by Emera Gratia at 5:44 AM on May 27, 2010

I think Jeanne has it. The only other YA novel set in Appalachia that I can think of is Tuck Everlasting and that doesn't really fit your description at all.

That said, it's been a while since I've read Where the Lilies Bloom. I seem to remember there being a passage about the main character climbing tall trees and looking over the land where they lived.
posted by shesbookish at 7:37 AM on May 27, 2010

Response by poster: You did it, Jeanne. Thanks so much. This is the only book my mother and I both read and I've been looking for it for years.
posted by Pamelayne at 7:55 AM on May 27, 2010

I found it at a yard sale recently and bought it for a dime. My aunt played a role in the movie, I saw the movie years ago, only remember that she played some mean lady.

I read the book the other day and couldn't figure out what role she played. The book is quite lovely and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to older kids, maybe 10 and up depending on their maturity, and to anyone older than that.
posted by mareli at 8:56 AM on May 27, 2010

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