post written by Emma Filbrun
Author: Catherine Marshall
Major Themes: School Teaching, Appalachia
Synopsis: When 19-year-old Christy goes into the mountains of Appalachia to teach 67 students in a 1-room school, she has a lot to learn.
Some books stick with you a long time. I believe I was probably in my late teens when I first read Christy, which means it was over 20 years ago. I’ve always fondly remembered this book as a great story. When I read it again this week, I discovered that it’s more than just a great story—there are some parts of the story where Christy is given a lot to think about. Catherine Marshall has woven a masterpiece here.
In brief, 19-year-old Christy Huddleston has volunteered to teach school for the tiny mission in Cutter Gap, way back in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina near the Tennessee state line. She has no idea what she is getting herself into. Raised in a genteel home in town, she is shocked and horrified when she arrives in the mountains and sees the way people live, the filth and ignorance, the drinking and feuding. Having 67 pupils in her one-room school is almost overwhelming, and will she ever be able to break through the prejudice against outsiders, or the superstitions she encounters?
At the same time, Miss Alice is there, a Quaker woman who has moved to Cutter Gap to live among and help the people. She has a way of backing Christy into a corner and cutting through her idealism, making her see herself in a new an uncomfortable way—and then pointing her to Jesus. She shows Christy by her life what God’s love is really like.
Moonshining, illiteracy, the doctor with the mysterious locked room, a typhoid epidemic, and the young mission preacher who proclaims himself to be in love with her—Christy has many new experiences during the first 11 months of her stay in the mountains. Based on the life of the author’s mother, this story rings true. I thoroughly enjoyed every page of it.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults
Links to buy Christy:
View Choices on AbeBooks.com (Note: To buy the whole book, go to page 2 or 3, past the “Christy Series” titles.)
Keywords: Appalachia, School Teaching