In the Shadow of the Valley: A Memoir

In the Shadow of the Valley: A Memoir

A clear-eyed and compassionate memoir of the Appalachian experience by a woman who embraced its astonishing beauty, narrowly escaped its violence, and struggles to call it home.

Bobi Conn was raised in a remote Kentucky holler in 1980s Appalachia. She remembers her tin-roofed house tucked away in a vast forest paradise; the sparkling creeks, with their frogs and crawdads; the sweet blackberries growing along the road to her granny’s; and her abusive father, an underemployed alcoholic whose untethered rage and violence against Bobi and her mother were frighteningly typical of a community marginalized, desperate, and ignored. Bobi’s rule of survival: always be vigilant but endure it silently.

Slipping away from home, Bobi went to college and got a white-collar job. Mistrusted by her family for her progress and condescended to by peers for her accent and her history, she was followed by the markers of her class. Though she carried her childhood self everywhere, Bobi also finally found her voice.

An elegiac account of survival despite being born poor, female, and cloistered, Bobi’s testament is one of hope for all vulnerable populations, particularly women and girls caught in the cycle of poverty and abuse. On a continual path to worth, autonomy, and reinvention, Conn proves here that “the storyteller is the one with power.”

Title:In the Shadow of the Valley: A Memoir
ISBN:9781542004176
Format Type:

    In the Shadow of the Valley: A Memoir Reviews

  • Valerity (Val)

    I found this to be an interesting memoir by Bobi Conn, who grew up in small town Kentucky. It’s actually a holler in Kentucky, growing up with her dysfunctional family, she shares what it was like, ...

  • Amy

    Over all, this book would have benefitted from some serious editing. The story, heartbreakingly sad and difficult, is told in such a haphazard and circuitous way that it is almost impossible to build ...

  • Darcia Helle

    So, wow. This book packs one hell of an emotional punch.Bobi Conn writes with an intimacy and raw honesty that I felt to my core. She's unflinchingly honest about her upbringing and the way those earl...

  • Alice Driver

    I stayed up all night reading this moving account of a girl growing up in Appalachia. We need to hear the voices and the stories of Appalachian women, to understand their lives. So often the stories o...

  • Steve Whitworth

    Although I had my own familial challenges growing up, the author’s situation was exponentially worse. However, the narrative of blaming her life situation and background instead of either learning f...

  • Kymberli Ward

    While I commend the author for persevering and achieving some success in her life, "In the Shadow of the Valley" was not a book I will recommend. Her childhood was horrific and for that, she most defi...

  • Vonda

    A memoir set in the Appalacians that shows even with a terrible childhood, if you perservere and work hard you can still get ahead in life. This one just read a little too "poor me" for my liking....

  • Norma Endersby

    What a gut-wrenching story of how one little girl survived a childhood of abuse, desperate for love and acceptance. I couldn't put this book down; instead, reading it in one sitting, not unlike being ...

  • Rick

    This is one of the best books, in my opinion, to come out of Amazon's publishing imprints. It's filled with wisdom, heartbreak, despair, joy...and hope. It's a portrayal of the resiliency of the human...

  • Marzie

    In an often heartbreaking memoir, author Bobi Conn captures the hard life in the Kentucky Appalachia, where so many struggle with a lack of opportunity and education, which in turn, all too often lead...