If the Creek Don’t Rise

by Leah Weiss

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Different books have different things to offer to it’s readers. There are thousands of books written, and it is likely that these books have covered all possible story lines. How then does one set their book apart? How then do writers churn out something that has not been said before? If the Creek Don’t Rise gave me an insight into a culture I had never read about before. It may not claim to have a very unique storyline, but does it stand apart? What can you expect from this book set in the Appalachian region? Find out more as we spoke to Leah Weiss in an exclusive interview, and read on for more on the book.

Cover: If the Creek Don’t Rise

Cover

Sitting at the foot of a battered trailer, here is an innocent looking dainty girl, looking ahead with arms wrapped around herself. While the cover does not give a major insight into the book, it possibly aims to give a peek at the lead character and the setting in which the book is placed. It also evokes a sense of sympathy as nothing in the set up seems luxurious or exuberant, but quite the opposite. While I personally would’ve liked a cover that showed the Appalachian trail, this isn’t that bad a cover, is it?

Characters

Otis Blue marries Carly, who runs away leaving little Sadie Blue and Otis to fend for themselves. After Otis dies, Sadie lives with her grandmother, Gladys . Apart from these two, there is Aunt Marris, who is their neighbour who always looks out for them. They are residence of Baines Creek which has a small church led by Preacher Perkins, who lives with his sister Prudence.

Sadie marries Roy Tupkin, the local ruffian who beats her and torments her hours after being married to her. He is always accompanied by his side kick Billy, who harbours love for Sadie. While this quiet town is busy sympathising with Sadie, Kate Shaw walks into their life. She is a teacher who comes to the local school and has Birdie- the crazy lady with a crow on her head as her neighbour. Apart from this there is the little boy, Tattler, who accompanies Birdie in her little adventures.

Content

The book is set in the fictional Baines Creek, set in the Appalachian region. This run down town is set in the rocky mountains, and the book talks about life in this town, laying special focus on Sadie Blue. Narrated from the perspective of ten different characters, the book gives one peek into the life of Sadie Blue, and how she walks into trouble by marrying Roy Tupkin. While this is just one of the plotlines in the book, the book touches upon the lives of these simple people, the struggles that they encounter and how they all join hands at difficult times.

It also shows how an outsider is treated, how a person from the valley feels amidst these people who are oblivious to the rest of the world and how these cultural difference become a point of exploration rather than being a point of disagreement. It would be wrong to call it a thriller, and it would be more suited to be described as a book that highlights culture, relationships and a book that inspires one to trust in themselves and have faith in new beginnings.

Language

This is hands down the most intriguing part of the book. As it focuses on a unique group of people, people who have a heavy accent and a rather interesting dialect. It is very interesting to read this book that is written in a traditional Appalachian style.

Good Points

The Author, though not of Appalachian descent has managed to narrate this book in a very authentic and rustic style. Another feature of the book are the varied characters included in it. The different voices in the book are all unique and have an interesting story to tell. The book is rich with details of the landscape, the local culture and beliefs of the people making it a very life like narrative.

Bad Points

The book is about Sadie Blue, well mostly. The blurb somehow gave me an impression that it is all about Sadie Blue. However, somewhere along the narrative the book seems to derails and talks about everything else other than the lead character.

Birdie is one of the most unique characters in the book who deserved more focus, in my opinion. The blurb also says that a stranger comes into town and brings about a chain of changes—something that I found lacking in the story.

Overall

I quite liked this book, though I cannot say that I loved it! However, it did give me an insight on a culture I did not know much about, and I got to read a narrative in a rather interesting style, so brownie points for that.

Who do I recommend it to?

It is a story about a small town, and lives of people who will bring out a lot of softness in you. So if you are the one for books touching upon diverse cultures, this one’s for you.

Quotable Quotes

Sad is the person who stops being a student. She misses out on the best parts.

Sleep is gonna come. It always does, but so do rememberings. Sometimes they take me places I don’t wanna go. Sometimes they take places I don’t wanna leave. I never know where I’m going when I climb in this featherbed.

God must hate womankind something terrible to punish her month after month, and leave the mark of blood as her shame.

One time these bones was wrapped in flesh and muscle and brains. They mighta fought a good fight to the end. But in the end, even the smart ones is just bones with all the fight gone out. Looking at em makes me think different bout power and petty things.

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Gazala Amreen

Logophile, bibliophile, writer, designer, high on wanderlust and all things pretty.

Bangalore, KA merakipost.com