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Born in a bathtub in 1954 to a Cherokee father and white mother, Betty is the sixth of eight siblings. After years on the road, searching in vain for a better life, the Carpenters return to their hometown of Breathed, Ohio, in northern Appalachia. The world they inhabit is one of poverty and violence - both from outside the family, and also, devastatingly, from within.
But despite the hardship she faces, Betty is resilient. Her curiosity about the natural world, her fierce love for her sisters, and her father's brilliant stories are kindling for the fire of her own imagination, and in the face of all she bears witness to, Betty discovers an escape: she begins to write.
Inspired by the life of her own mother, Tiffany McDaniel sets out to free the past by telling this heartbreaking yet magical story - a punch-in-the-gut of a novel, full of the crushing cruelty of human nature and the redemptive power of words.