Review: Crapalachia: A Biography of a Place

Crapalachia: A Biography of PlaceCrapalachia: A Biography of Place by Scott McClanahan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m still trying to wrap my head around Crapalachia. It’s not quite memoir, it’s certainly not a biography of a place, and as we find out at the end of the book it’s not entirely real.

The book came recommended as an interesting, and non-traditional, book about Appalachia. if I’m honest: I’m always skeptical of these books. The region and its people have come up on the short end of the stick, culturally speaking, on more than one occasion.

And yet even as I found Scott McClanahan’s admission at the end that he’d taken a great number of liberties with the story, I still found the underlying story — his story as told through the reflections of the people around him — really compelling. In fact, I found myself really wanting more of that story. I wanted more from him.

The writing was short and choppy, which fit nicely into one of his main points: that places like the place he’s from are short-changed and quickly forgotten. And the book’s pacing suggested that urgency.

But — as I said — I’m still trying to wrap my head around what it all meant, and how I felt about the book., which felt a bit like a series of vignettes without a unifying wrap.

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