Ludie lived during a different time, in a place called West Virginia, in a region known as Appalachia. A time when girls married in their teens, when families were dependant on what could be mined from the ground, one of the only forms of entertainment was gossiping with the neighbor over the back fence, and a woman was proud to be “famous for her biscuits.” Ludie sent most of her six children to college, even though she never went herself, believed that “doting on” any animal that didn’t provide a service was “a certain pass given to those of a certain class,” and buried a beloved husband who died from the coal dust he inhaled his whole life. Cynthia Rylant’s free verse character study of a person and a way of life that is seldom explored in teen literature is a warm, poignant homage to days gone by. Draw up a chair and sit with Ludie awhile. Listen to her stories. I promise you’ll be glad you did.
Ludie’s Life by Cynthia Rylant