Kin: A Memoir

Kin: A Memoir

by Shawna Kay Rodenberg


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“Kin moved me, disturbed me, and hypnotized me in ways very few memoirs have." –Rosanne Cash

A heart stopping memoir of a wrenching Appalachian girlhood and a multilayered portrait of a misrepresented people, from Rona Jaffe Writer's Award winner Shawna Kay Rodenberg.

When Shawna Kay Rodenberg was four, her father, fresh from a ruinous tour in Vietnam, spirited her family from their home in the hills of Eastern Kentucky to Minnesota, renouncing all of their earthly possessions to live in the Body, an off-the-grid End Times religious community. Her father was seeking a better, safer life for his family, but the austere communal living of prayer, bible study and strict regimentation was a bad fit for the precocious Shawna. Disciplined harshly for her many infractions, she was sexually abused by a predatory adult member of the community. Soon after the leader of the Body died and revelations of the sexual abuse came to light, her family returned to the same Kentucky mountains that their ancestors have called home for three hundred years. It is a community ravaged by the coal industry, but for all that, rich in humanity, beauty, and the complex knots of family love. Curious, resourceful, rebellious, Shawna ultimately leaves her mountain home but only as she masters a perilous balancing act between who she has been and who she will become.

Kin is a mesmerizing memoir of survival that seeks to understand and make peace with the people and places that were survived. It is above all about family-about the forgiveness and love within its bounds-and generations of Appalachians who have endured, harmed, and held each other through countless lifetimes of personal and regional tragedy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635574555
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 06/08/2021
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 80,039
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Shawna Kay Rodenberg holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her reviews and essays have appeared in Consequence, Salon, the Village Voice, and Elle. Shawna was awarded the Jean Ritchie Fellowship and in 2017 she was the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award. A registered nurse, community college English instructor, mother of five, and grandmother of one, she lives on a hobby goat farm in southern Indiana.

Table of Contents

Prologue xi

Treasures upon Earth 1

Deborah Kay 23

Sex & Black Magic 34

Rose of Sharon 51

Chicken Pox and Army Worms 63

Aunt Hope 78

He Is Faithful to Forgive Us 87

The Doghouse 102

Shorty in the Turning Place 117

Fletcher Hill 125

Aunt Ruby 149

The First End Times 173

Yellowjackets 199

Deliverance 227

More End Times 245

A Bimbo My Whole Life 255

A New Colossus 275

The End of the End Times and the Beginning 292

Shotgun Wedding 302

Acknowledgments 329

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