Winner of the 2015 Weatherford Award in Fiction
Finalist, Judy Gaines Young Book Award
Dawn Jewell is fifteen. She is restless, curious, and wry. She listens to Black Flag, speaks her mind, and joins her grandmother’s fight against mountaintop removal mining almost in spite of herself. “I write by ear,” says Robert Gipe, and Dawn’s voice is the essence of his debut novel, Trampoline. She lives in eastern Kentucky with her addict mother and her Mamaw, whose stance against the coal companies has earned her the community’s ire. Jagged and honest, Trampoline is a powerful portrait of a place struggling with the economic and social forces that threaten and define it. Inspired by oral tradition and punctuated by Gipe’s raw and whimsical drawings, it is above all about its heroine, Dawn, as she decides whether to save a mountain or save herself; be ruled by love or ruled by anger; remain in the land of her birth or run for her life.
|Publisher:||Ohio University Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Robert Gipe lives in Harlan, Kentucky, and grew up in Kingsport, Tennessee. His fiction has appeared in Appalachian Heritage, Still, Motif, and Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I got to hear Mr. Gipe read from this book and was compelled to read more of the words he so fluently spoke of Appalachia. The portion he read created a misguided expectation within me of the book. I expected How Green Was My Valley combined with “The Sound of Music.” What I found as I read this thorny, near-irresistible book was closer to “The Waltons” meet “Winter’s Bone.” The author validated that his eloquence in using the Appalachian language extended beyond what he spoke, he articulates a culture that has been forced to change in ways that are counter to its history while remaining firmly grounded in that very history. Mr. Gipe has crafted a tale of heartache and hope, finely detailing the reality of family and community in Appalachia without hiding the pain created by joblessness, chemical dependency and poverty in the region. The mountains, the love of which are central to being “Appalachian,” bring beauty in their mere presence, offer promise in the coal they harbor within their veins and conflict when those who want to “protect” both of those resources collide. This is not an easy book to read as the writer precisely captures the turmoil spawned by such a confrontation within these pages. Some of these images may not be suitable for all readers. Fifteen-year-old Dawn Jewell began living with her maternal grandmother after her father was killed in a coal mining accident and her mother sought to ease the pain of her grief by using various substances. “Mamaw” is a staunch advocate of protecting the beauty of the mountains, in particular that of (fictional) Blue Bear Mountain, Kentucky’s highest peak. While at a public hearing where part of a petition to strip mine that pristine wilderness is to be addressed, Dawn speaks up – loudly, and with clear enunciation as to the heritage of some in opposition of her cause of saving Blue Bear. To this point, she had managed to live her life in her “outlaw” family and small high school without drawing attention to herself; now both sides were very aware of this bright, strong, assertive young woman’s being. For the next month, the reader is allowed to journey with her, Dawn is seeking to understand how she got to be in this present position in this unique time. This is a not an easy journey to witness. It is one fraught with violence, drug and alcohol use, abandonment, possibilities wasted due to self-sabotage but one ultimately ending at the right “place,” but not before traversing some dreadful ground. Late in the book, there is a moment of rebirth for Dawn and in that moment the mindset of Appalachia is revealed in ways marvelous and dangerous, healing and destructive, complete and still in process. “Blue Bear wasn’t just about winning a fight. Everything I could see from Mamaw’s porch, . . . (were) all that kept me alive sure as if it was air I was breathing. . . . I needed them close always. I couldn’t let that get torn down.” (p. 225) “Those coal miners who had been so good to me, who had loved me through my tree-hugging ways, needed mountains and woods more than any of us. They loved it here, and they had to tear it up to stay. (Some of the coal miners) would hate me, but after that night, I never was mad at them, . . . , not the ones taking their own sorrow and joy from what was left of these trees, thes
This book is amazing. I think about Dawn every day.