"What else would you wish for?" Daddy says. "If you could have anything in the world, what would you wish for?"
I shrug. "Oh, I don't know. Maybe . . ."
"For us to live better than we do."
He does not say anything.
In 1948, award-winning author Ruth White lived in Jewell Valley, a coal camp nestled between the hills of southwestern Virginia, with her mother, still mourning for a baby who died four years earlier; her father, who spent the weekends and most of his pay out drinking; and her three older sisters, Audrey, Yvonne, and Eleanor. Told in Audrey's voice, this is how the author imagines Audrey's experiences during a time of great trauma for the White family -- and what happened before they were able to live a better life.
This snapshot of life in a coal camp, complete with everyday heartaches and joys -- as well as stories, songs, and jokes -- is Ruth White's most personal work to date.