Withrow's witty style has built a loyal following. Withrow's previous book, More Than Penny Candy, is in its third printing. Her award-winning columns appear in The Jackson Herald and The Charleston Daily Mail. Rooted in Appalachia, Beyond the Apple Orchard is part memoir, part reflection, and part humor. Each part is filled with insight, wit and wisdom. While her book captures the pulse of everyday life in a particular place and time, its universality can make anyone nod and smile.
Withrow brings to life a bygone era in her essay A Sense of Place. "The Prayer and Faith Tabernacle stood high on a hill overlooking Cat Eye's beer joint. . . . [Walking past Cat Eye's], I could hear the beat of country tunes and smell the stench of stale beer intermingled with cigarette smoke. A few minutes later, as I walked up the hill, . . . I could hear echoing down from the Tabernacle the singing of hymns. . . As odd as it may seem, many of the same people frequented both places. . . ."
The author offers Survival Tips for Everyday Living. From folding a fitted sheet to opening childproof containers, this essay provides hilarious advice. Here's the author's take on child discipline. "Getting children to behave has been a problem since Cain slew Abel, but I've noticed a difference in discipline techniques of yesteryear and today. We now have something called 'the time-out chair,' and children love it. I've seen them snicker all the way to the chair and smile slyly when they get to leave it. . . . Then there is the practice of counting. The parent begins with 'one.' Then the parent says more loudly 'two,' and by three the child is supposed to obey. . . . [One day] I heard a parent say,' two thousand four, two thousand five' . . . . Keen observers know that most children are more intelligent than adults. . . ."
Giles Snyder of West Virginia Public Radio notes that her essays leave her listeners "clamoring for more. . . . Her vivid descriptions of yesteryear and her wit and wisdom ring true with our audience. . . I can't recommend Dolly's work enough."
With a handsome cover, yesteryear photographs, true-life stories, and quick wit, Beyond the Apple Orchard promises a thumping good read. Written from both heart and mind, this book lives up to that promise.
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About the Author
A retired English professor, Dolly has taught for the University of Iowa's world-famous Summer Writing Festival. Since 1987, she has presented writing workshops to employees of Fortune 500 companies, as well as to various governments and organizations.
Dolly has spoken to general audiences, including writers, readers, engineers, lawyers, judges, college students (well, of course), senior citizens, editors, and publishers--people from all walks of life. She has spoken to organizations (a few examples include Ambucks, the Charleston Exchange Club, CPA Society of WV, the South Charleston Rotary Club).
*Dolly has spoken to the WV Press Association (Contact Bill Childress, director of the association for information on her speaking skills.)
*Dolly was invited last year to speak to the New York Press Association (probably recommended by Bill Childress).
*She has spoken to organizations both inside and outside West Virginia, always getting excellent ratings, and in most cases, the highest ratings of all speakers.
*With years of experience as a public speaker, Dolly keeps her audience laughing and learning throughout her talk (this comment was on an evaluation form).
Here are a few titles of Dolly's presentations. Regardless of her topic, members of her audience have said on evaluation forms that she "entertains, inspires, instructs, and delights. Not a minute is wasted."
"Writing the Lifestyle Column" (This includes collecting ideas, choosing titles, getting started, shoring up the middle, and ending with a sense of finality.) She has spoken to high school students about column writing.
"Journaling" (This presentation focuses on the importance of keeping a journal, whether or not the person wants to publish.)