Appalachian Justice

( 10 )

Overview

Billy May Platte is a half Irish, half Cherokee Appalachian woman who learned the hard way that 1940s West Virginia was no place to be gay.

As Billy May explains, "We was sheltered in them hills. We didn't know much of nothin' about life outside of them mountains. I did not know the word lesbian; to us, gay meant havin' fun and queer meant somethin' strange."

In 1945, when Billy May was fourteen years old and orphaned, three local boys ...

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Appalachian Justice

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Overview

Billy May Platte is a half Irish, half Cherokee Appalachian woman who learned the hard way that 1940s West Virginia was no place to be gay.

As Billy May explains, "We was sheltered in them hills. We didn't know much of nothin' about life outside of them mountains. I did not know the word lesbian; to us, gay meant havin' fun and queer meant somethin' strange."

In 1945, when Billy May was fourteen years old and orphaned, three local boys witnessed an incident in which Billy May's sexuality was called into question. Determined to teach her a lesson she would never forget, they orchestrated a brutal attack that changed the dynamics of the tiny coal mining village of Cedar Hollow, West Virginia forever.

Voted Sapphic Readers Book Club Book of the Year in 2011 (under a different imprint), Appalachian Justice is a work of southern fiction that delves into social issues such as poverty, domestic violence, misogyny, and sexual orientation. Ultimately, however, Appalachian Justice delivers a message of hope.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780989572903
  • Publisher: Thomas-Jacob Publishing, LLC
  • Publication date: 7/6/2013
  • Pages: 276
  • Sales rank: 1,128,796
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Melinda Clayton is the author of Appalachian Justice, Return to Crutcher Mountain, Entangled Thorns, and Blessed Are the Wholly Broken. Clayton has published numerous articles and short stories in various print and online magazines. In addition to writing, Dr. Clayton has an Ed.D. in Special Education Administration and is a licensed psychotherapist in the states of Florida and Colorado.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Appalachian Justice

    "Appalachian Justice" is a story about being different, experiencing intolerance and abuse, while still remaining true to oneself. And ultimately, it is also a story of love, courage, and redemption. Books with a story this powerful are a rarity.

    A large portion of the book is narrated by Billy May, the main character, and it is done the way she would talk. She isn't highly educated and is far from "well spoken." I found this disconcerting in the beginning. Part way through the first chapter when I read the initial statement from Billy May, "from the top of my mountain, I seen that girl runnin'," it threw me. However, before long I became accustomed to Billy May's voice and no longer noticed.

    The book is structured to jump between three different points in Billy May's life, the current, as she lays in a hospice bed narrating her life story, her young life with the story leading up to a life changing event, and middle age, when another incident once again changes the course of her life. Several social ills are highlighted and explored through Billy May's eyes.

    It isn't often I hit the climax of a book and find myself holding back tears. Yet, during an emotional scene between two of the main characters near the end of "Appalachian Justice," I found myself doing exactly that. I managed to fight them off for fear of losing my man card, but had they come they would have been both tears of joy and of happiness. If you read this book - something I highly recommend - maybe you can spot the scene.

    **Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog.**

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Wonderful Read

    Kudos to Melinda Clayton for her superior storytelling. This book is a wonderfully interesting study of people and their differences. I couldn't put this book down and recommend it very highly. Not for young readers. Can't wait for your next book, Melinda.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 20, 2011

    Recommended by Mind Fog Reviews

    Appalachian Justice by Melinda Clayton tells the story of a Wilhelmina Platte a.k.a. Billy May from the time when her dad died in the mines to her death and everything in between. It shows the ugly side of people as well as the compassionate side. It also has the lesson that people will help if you let them in.

    I have to confess I love the format that this story is written in. It's told from Billy May's memories as she is dying. Sifting through her memoires is like reading a diary. The characters are well rounded and they jump at you throughout the story. When she is remembering the mountain itself you can picture it in your mind very easily. There were times (especially toward the end) that I felt I was there.

    Melinda Clayton did a wonderful job and I hope to read more of her work.

    4.5 bookmarks
    Carol Langstroth, Manager
    Mind Fog Reviews

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 19, 2011

    A Must Read

    Appalachian Justice
    by Melinda Clayton
    copyright 2010 by Melinda Clayton, published by Vanilla Heart Publishing

    Rarely has a character stuck in my head the way Billy May Platte of Appalachian Justice has. Melinda Clayton does such a rich job with the character you can hear her speaking plain as day by the end of her first chapter and her voices resonates long after she leaves the pages of the book behind. Other characters in the book are just as deeply drawn out, especially the antagonist who will make your skin crawl, almost literally.

    Appalachian Justice is a tale of the cost of prejudice, the value of love and the price of courage. It is the story of everyday characters who happen to be settled in the Appalachian mountains during a period of time from the forties through modern day, though the vast majority of the story covers two critical times, one, a single day in the life of Billy May Platte that would change her forever, the other a few critical weeks, in the lives of four families that will once again change the face of the small mountain town and the lives of those living in it.

    Appalachian Justice is visceral, reaching out to grab your emotions and senses from the first pages until the last. The tension is well-developed growing exponentially until it finally reaches the breaking point. It is a wonderful debut album for Melinda Clayton and deserves to be read by every family trying to teach tolerance and the cost of prejudice. The story, set in the past unfortunately still happens today in community after community, most of which aren't able to find a little Appalachian Justice.

    Open the pages, but be prepared, while Appalachian Justice works to break down barriers and to bring about understanding of a few key issues it is raw and at times violent though both factors are critical to the story and are not done simply for shock value. It is a critical story for our time and for the ages to come, by reading it we may evolve enough as a people to never need Appalachian Justice.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2014

    Emotional

    Love a book that you can't put down. Billy Platte, amazing woman does'nt do her justice. I want to share her story with so many people.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 14, 2012

    A Great Read!

    I really enjoyed this novel. Though it deals with sexual abuse and I tend to shy away from novels with this topic, the premise and the delicacy with which Clayton treats it made the story an enticing must read. It’s extremely well written, jumping between the past and present, following the lives of different characters as everything unfolds. It draws the reader in from the very beginning as the mystery surrounding Billy May’s life is presented, and I found it to be impossible to put down.

    I loved the depiction of all the characters, and though I hated some of them due to their treatment of women and those around them in general, I have to say that Clayton wrote all her characters to be extremely convincing, and I just loved the believability of the dialogue through the dialect. Clayton does such an amazing job with her characters that my hatred was palpable on many an occasion, as was my fear for Billy May and the other abused women of the story. I really felt a kindred with the female characters, and rooted for them the entire way, which is something I can’t say for most novels I read.

    While this novel deals with the very heavy topics of rape and abuse, it’s really a story of healing, and I loved that Clayton doesn’t explicitly portray the abuse. The allusions are there, but it’s lightly prodded, giving the reader an obvious idea of what is happening, but not to a blatant extent. I hate novels that have to detail every gruesome thing that happens, and thankfully, Clayton doesn’t do that. And, though it’s a sad tale, it has an great ending that, though a bit grisly, is exactly what the readers wants/needs to happen. I cheered aloud when everything came to a head and the smoke cleared… Clayton really did a great job.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 31, 2012

    Pain, Suffering, Comfort, & Heart That Only Great Southern Writing Can Give

    It’s not often that I read a book that stays with me. By “staying with me” I mean I think about it and the characters long after finishing the last page. I can recall the events that took place, and often every character’s name, as if they were real pages from my own life story and real people that I know and love. A book like this is usually one that I consistently suggest to other readers that I know will appreciate it as much as I did. Appalachian Justice by Melinda Clayton is all of this.

    Clayton weaves a small town Southern drama that is reminiscent of only the pain and brutality that the beloved Flannery O’Connor delivered in her short story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” or the love and tenderness shown in Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory.” The voice of her characters and their personal handicaps resonates with Southern charm and honesty that runs deep in my own backwoods roots, and that I still appreciate in classic Southern lit because it hits so close to home.

    Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book. Imagine them spoken aloud in the heaviest Southern drawl you can possibly muster…

    I wasn’t old enough back then to see the things Momma thought she saw, so I cain’t speak as to their existence. Don’t get me wrong; Momma would not lie, but sometimes the way one person see somethin’ ain’t necessarily the way another person does. She didn’t feel a part of the town, but I did.

    One thing about getting older, she had learned, was that all the lies you’d told yourself to simply make it through the days were no longer content being silent.

    “In a little town like Cedar Hollow, it don’t matter who you really are, you have to be who they expect you to be; that’s the only way they’ll ever let you be.” She sighed, and it was a lonely sound. “My whole life, I’ve been livin’ by somebody else’s idea of who I’m supposed to be. It takes a whole lot of courage for a person to live by her own ideas, and Billy May, I ain’t never been the courageous one.”

    “When you get right down to it,” I said after a minute, raisin’ my head, “at the end of everythin’, all any of really want is to be remembered by somebody.” I stopped, not knowin’ how to explain what I meant. “It’s a terrible thing, to think everybody you loved has forgot about you…”

    Appalachian Justice is the story of Billy May Platte, a half-indian woman living alone on Crutcher Mountain after a painful childhood provided reason for her to escape the clutches of the small mining town of Cedar Hollow. With her parents gone, at age 14, Billy May befriends Corrine and their innocent love for each other is soon shattered when Corrine’s brother and her friends discover their secret. Their small minds, fed by sexual voracity, are intent on teaching Billy May a lesson.

    Years later, Billy May, now age 44, finds the past resurfacing when a young girl named Jessie escapes to the mountain after being raped by her step-father, one of the same men who hurt Billy May so long ago. Can Billy May confront her past in order to come to the aid of Jessie? A harsh winter settling in on Crutcher Mountain is not the only thing that makes her choice difficult.

    The story switches between 1975 and 2010, told through Billy May’s eyes in present time when she is an aging woman in the hospital lying on her death bed. Her mind keeps taking her “back to the mountain” when she first met Jessie. Along the way, her own childhood is revealed through her story and through other poin

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 19, 2011

    A Must Read

    Appalachian Justice
    by Melinda Clayton
    copyright 2010 by Melinda Clayton, published by Vanilla Heart Publishing

    Rarely has a character stuck in my head the way Billy May Platte of Appalachian Justice has. Melinda Clayton does such a rich job with the character you can hear her speaking plain as day by the end of her first chapter and her voices resonates long after she leaves the pages of the book behind. Other characters in the book are just as deeply drawn out, especially the antagonist who will make your skin crawl, almost literally.

    Appalachian Justice is a tale of the cost of prejudice, the value of love and the price of courage. It is the story of everyday characters who happen to be settled in the Appalachian mountains during a period of time from the forties through modern day, though the vast majority of the story covers two critical times, one, a single day in the life of Billy May Platte that would change her forever, the other a few critical weeks, in the lives of four families that will once again change the face of the small mountain town and the lives of those living in it.

    Appalachian Justice is visceral, reaching out to grab your emotions and senses from the first pages until the last. The tension is well-developed growing exponentially until it finally reaches the breaking point. It is a wonderful debut album for Melinda Clayton and deserves to be read by every family trying to teach tolerance and the cost of prejudice. The story, set in the past unfortunately still happens today in community after community, most of which aren't able to find a little Appalachian Justice.

    Open the pages, but be prepared, while Appalachian Justice works to break down barriers and to bring about understanding of a few key issues it is raw and at times violent though both factors are critical to the story and are not done simply for shock value. It is a critical story for our time and for the ages to come, by reading it we may evolve enough as a people to never need Appalachian Justice.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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