While Appalachian stereotypes and often misplaced debates about essentialism in Appalachian character still cloud our understanding of the people of the region--especially in the wake of J.
D. Vance's bestselling Hillbilly Elegy--the words of people who live in the region tell a far more complex story of diversity, hard times, perseverance, and unique experiences.
Based on recorded interviews with three different women in different areas of Appalachia, Voices Worth the Listening is a carefully crafted oral history work that faithfully represents these women's lives using their own words. A powerful counter-narrative to the current conversation, Voices Worth the Listening presents three real stories of Appalachian people that are unvarnished and more than simply anecdotal.
Race, class, drug culture, education, and socioeconomic mobility are all addressed in some way by these narratives.
While the themes that emerge in these stories are by no means unique to Appalachia--indeed, they resonate in some ways with the experiences of disadvantaged and marginalized people in other regions of the country--these three women have lived much of their lives outside of the mainstream and their narrated experiences become a meaningful signpost for the people of Appalachia.