Stay and Fight
"Like Bastard Out of Carolina, ffitch's electrifying debut novel is a paean to independence and a protest against the materialism of our age." —O: The Oprah Magazine "Delightfully raucous." —Sam Sacks, The Wall Street JournalHelen arrives in Appalachian Ohio full of love and her boyfriend’s ideas for living off the land. Too soon, with winter coming, he calls it quits. Helped by Rudy—her government-questioning, wisdom-spouting, seasonal-affective-disordered boss—and a neighbor couple, Helen makes it to spring. Those neighbors, Karen and Lily, are awaiting the arrival of their first child, a boy, which means their time at the Women’s Land Trust must end.So Helen invites the new family to throw in with her—they’ll split the work and the food, build a house, and make a life that sustains them, if barely, for years. Then young Perley decides he wants to go to school. And Rudy sets up a fruit-tree nursery on the pipeline easement edging their land. The outside world is brought clamoring into their makeshift family.Set in a region known for its independent spirit, Stay and Fight shakes up what it means to be a family, to live well, to make peace with nature and make deals with the system. It is a protest novel that challenges our notions of effective action. It is a family novel that refuses to limit the term. And it is a marvel of storytelling that both breaks with tradition and celebrates it. Best of all, it is full of flawed, cantankerous, flesh-and-blood characters who remind us that conflict isn't the end of love, but the real beginning.Absorbingly spun, perfectly voiced, and disruptively political, Madeline ffitch's Stay and Fight forces us to reimagine an Appalachia—and an America—we think we know. And it takes us, laughing and fighting, into a new understanding of what it means to love and to be free.

Stay and Fight Details

TitleStay and Fight
Author
ReleaseJul 9th, 2019
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN-139780374719715
Rating
GenreFiction, Literary Fiction

Stay and Fight Review

  • Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
    January 1, 1970
    Things I learned from Stay and Fight:- people are mean- people are even meaner to you if you're different- and even more so if you're also poor or any kind of minority- but it's still alright to be differentStay and Fight was gritty, sometimes brutal and cynnical, real and rough, but it was also a gem, a pure wonder. It's told in a very honest and very raw way - you can basically feel, smell and see it all, because it's so colorful and full of energy.And so I loved this book with incredible fero Things I learned from Stay and Fight:- people are mean- people are even meaner to you if you're different- and even more so if you're also poor or any kind of minority- but it's still alright to be differentStay and Fight was gritty, sometimes brutal and cynnical, real and rough, but it was also a gem, a pure wonder. It's told in a very honest and very raw way - you can basically feel, smell and see it all, because it's so colorful and full of energy.And so I loved this book with incredible ferocity.Read the full review here: I thank the publisher for a free copy of the ebook through NetGalley in exchange to my honest review. This has not affected my opinion.Read Post On My Blog | Themed Bookstagram | Quick Update Bookstagram | Bookish Twitter
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  • Tam_ the_ med_bookie
    January 1, 1970
    ''I said, You can keep my comic books.He said, I'll give you my force field.''This literally made me happy and sad at the same time.This is the slow kind of good read where even the different POVs work just fine.This one has characters which you feel like you have known them as they are but you cannot reach them and not actually know what they are thinking.The writing style is good. The characters are good weird to read about.The events described in this one weirdly satisfying.Three women raisin ''I said, You can keep my comic books.He said, I'll give you my force field.''This literally made me happy and sad at the same time.This is the slow kind of good read where even the different POVs work just fine.This one has characters which you feel like you have known them as they are but you cannot reach them and not actually know what they are thinking.The writing style is good. The characters are good weird to read about.The events described in this one weirdly satisfying.Three women raising a boy together.Lily is the 'mean aunt' who had invited the lesbian couple, Karen and Helen, to built a house and stay together with her.My favourite character is the boy, Perley. Right from the moment he was born till the end of the book.I just love how he sees things. A beautiful mind.Another unlikely favourite character is Rudy. The guy who was there whenever the unlikely trio needed him. The characters are sometimes disturbing. And what they do and say is hell creepy.(Sleeping with a black snake alongside the kid, get the hint🤦)I felt malnourished while reading this one.I could actually feel the characters starving at some point or the other.And I nearly gagged when one of the characters actually drank fat.Damn. It's hard to survive on a barren land.But the real issue came up when Perley was sent to school and the series of events happening after that.And this unseeming family gets attention and Perley is taken away in order to 'protect' him. Things start getting clearer.Things kept happening.You are made to believe something else this whole time and towards the end, you are given a new story.I freaking loved Perley's POV chapters.It kept me going.*I further need to rate this book based on itsCover: 2⭐Writing style: 4⭐Character description/development: 4⭐Chemistry between the characters: 5⭐Plot: 2⭐So, it was basically the writing style, the character development and the chemistry between the characters that made this one a good read.
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  • Jake
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to goodreads and the publisher for the free copy! This is the story of a woman who moves to Appalachia with her boyfriend to live off the land (his idea). He quickly bails out at the first sign of difficulty. She stays and barely survives the first winter. Needing reinforcements, she invites a lesbian couple who need a new place to live. The have a new baby boy making them ineligible to stay on Woman's Trust land any longer. They mix with a hillbilly anti-authoritarian who usually has che Thanks to goodreads and the publisher for the free copy! This is the story of a woman who moves to Appalachia with her boyfriend to live off the land (his idea). He quickly bails out at the first sign of difficulty. She stays and barely survives the first winter. Needing reinforcements, she invites a lesbian couple who need a new place to live. The have a new baby boy making them ineligible to stay on Woman's Trust land any longer. They mix with a hillbilly anti-authoritarian who usually has cheeto dust in his beard and an old depressed lawyer. They get by minding their own business for a few years. Of course, when the boy is old enough for school other people start minding their business for them. The villains aren't evil really, but like in life they are just principals and social workers and nameless corporations who need their land, just doing their jobs. With the over the top nature of the characters, the book probably shouldn't have worked. But it sure did work. It reminded me of The Monkey Wrench Gang with feminists instead of cowboys, hillbillies instead of polygamists. The fighting against the system was fun, but the characters were very well written, I came for the rebellion and stayed for the people. The narration alternates between first person takes of the three women and the boy and they all worked. The quirky boy raised like a wolf fantasizing of being an elf, able to live off the land but problematic because he can't navigate a tablet, was particularly entertaining. A fine book.
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    I’m a huge fan of character driven novels, especially ones in which characters narrate their turn of events. In this incredibly quirky novel, “Stay and Fight” author and Appalachia environmental activist, Madeline Ffitch, provides the reader with the ugly downside of the gas pipeline projects. But it’s more than that; it’s also a story of survivalist sorts trying to live peacefully, outside social norms, in untraditional ways. This way of life becomes a problem for society’s do-gooders who want I’m a huge fan of character driven novels, especially ones in which characters narrate their turn of events. In this incredibly quirky novel, “Stay and Fight” author and Appalachia environmental activist, Madeline Ffitch, provides the reader with the ugly downside of the gas pipeline projects. But it’s more than that; it’s also a story of survivalist sorts trying to live peacefully, outside social norms, in untraditional ways. This way of life becomes a problem for society’s do-gooders who want to banish those who don’t fall in line with their ideals. Ffitch’s strength as an author is making her characters endearing and sympathetic. An casual observer could view the characters as being dangerous, malicious, and a bit crazy. Under Ffitch’s deft skills, the reader sees the characters heart and intentions. It’s a novel that forces the reader to take a pause in initial judgments of those who live an unconventional life.Narrators Helen, Lily, and Karen are three women who live in the Ohio Appalachian Mountains. Helen came with her boyfriend, purchasing a few acres to scrape off a living. Lily and Karen are lesbians who want to live their lives freely. Lily is pregnant and the ladies plan to raise their child off the land. When their son Perley is born, the two women need to find another place of living, as they are in a woman only community. After Helen’s boyfriend leaves her, she offers her home to the women to share.Perley starts narrating when he’s around 5 or 6. He’s an adorable narrator, providing the reader with his innocent points of view. He loves his moms and his “mean aunt” Helen. However, once he sees the school bus stop at the end of the road to pick up other children, he decides he wants to go to school. He just wants a friend.Another fascinating character is Rudy, an arborist who has his own special place in the novel. If I saw Rudy in the streets, I’d keep my distance. In the novel, he is hilarious.The life-style of the characters could make anyone blanch. When Perley goes to school with snakebite on his face, the officials get involved. Perley is one of the best characters in the novel, with his innocence and observations making the reader chuckle. The ladies have their own special chuckle moments. It’s a story of misfits just trying to live their lives with the underlying message that pipelines will have serious social and economical consequences.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 3.75 but rounding up. Let me begin by saying I don't think the blurb was accurate. NOT at all "hilarious." Certainly some humor, but... Definitely a novel about family and independent spirit. Also described as a protest novel--again, not a conventional protest per se, but an alternate lifestyle--way out of the mainstream. Populated by strong, stubborn women--not necessarily likeable. Told in the voices of the main characters-- I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 3.75 but rounding up. Let me begin by saying I don't think the blurb was accurate. NOT at all "hilarious." Certainly some humor, but... Definitely a novel about family and independent spirit. Also described as a protest novel--again, not a conventional protest per se, but an alternate lifestyle--way out of the mainstream. Populated by strong, stubborn women--not necessarily likeable. Told in the voices of the main characters--Helen [Mean Aunt--who starts the novel], Lily and Karen [partners]; and their son, Perley--via sperm donor. Other, peripheral characters--one laughs the most at the descriptions of Rudy [in particular] and Aldi. A story of love, persistence, and emotional and physical survival in the hils of Appalachia/West Virginia. A hardscrabble, basic life--by choice. Their diet and living conditions appalling. I didn't particularly care for the ending, but I'm not sure how I would have ended it/wanted it done differently.I loved Perley--his world of elves and the wolves. His naivete. His fantasy/reality was, however, somewhat offputting because his [their] lives were [to me] dysfunctional--though it worked for them--to a point. Poor Perley, so out of sync, insulted/isolated. He wants to go to school; his moms resist, but he goes, at age 7--setting the latter part of the novel in motion.And the snakes--who inhabited all the women's and Perley's lives. They too have a significant and vivid role in this story. Some great descriptions:Rudy: "...hairy face so full of sawdust it looked like he'd been breaded." "I smiled to hide my heart, struggling to escape from my chest. My cheeks broke ice when they lifted.""The loneliness was as insulating as a layer of snow.""...rode to work listening to Springsteen, the only boss Jay said he could stand." Ha!I recommend this book, but it's not for everyone.
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  • meg
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 rounded up. I was actually really startled by how much I ended up enjoying this book. The writing was crisp and clean yet evocative. The shifting first-person POV really worked for me and I absolutely loved the way the differing personalities were revealed through the eyes of others. I even found the child narrator charming and hilarious, and I usually find child narrators deeply annoying. (Yes, even in Room! That's how good this was.) The one thing that kept coming up again and again is tha 4.5 rounded up. I was actually really startled by how much I ended up enjoying this book. The writing was crisp and clean yet evocative. The shifting first-person POV really worked for me and I absolutely loved the way the differing personalities were revealed through the eyes of others. I even found the child narrator charming and hilarious, and I usually find child narrators deeply annoying. (Yes, even in Room! That's how good this was.) The one thing that kept coming up again and again is that everyone was an unreliable narrator towards their own life; everybody saw themselves completely differently to how the other characters saw them, and that felt very true to life while also being actually a pretty original way to tell a story like this, despite the fact that I've described it so poorly that I'm sure it sounds run-of-the-mill here. Perhaps for this reason, the book this actually ended up reminding me most of was Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey, which also had a really unique approach to multiple narrators, and also featured strong female familial relationships sketched across a brutally harsh natural landscape. (Of course that book is a dystopia, and this book is set in our regular old world. But still.)This came up again in the main plot of the novel; I kept jumping back and forth and back and forth as to whose side I was on, as I'm sure I was intended to do. All the characters were vivid and written with a sense of deep love and empathy despite how critically flawed they all were, and that made for an uncomfortably conflicted yet brilliant read at times. Characters that initially seemed villainous to me seemed increasingly reasonable as I delved deeper into the storyline, and then tilted back towards antagonism. Everyone seems to have the best of intentions but nobody is totally sympathetic, and I really liked that the whole novel really lived in that moral grey area.The setting of the story was another highlight. It had a vivid sense of place and the descriptions of the natural landscape and the family's homestead were beautifully detailed. There were so many small details that still managed to make a big impression and really brought the whole scene to life.I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Wanda
    January 1, 1970
    'Hilarious, truth-telling?' The most hilarious thing about this book is Goodreads’ description of it: ‘A rightful heir to great American novels from A Confederacy of Dunces to The Grapes of Wrath to LaRose'. Ha, not even close. That’s not to say I didn’t (eventually) get caught up in this unconventional, off-the-grid family saga. But a couple of situations such as the one the social worker walked into on a welfare check were so ridiculous they undermined any chance I had of seeing this as the 'Hilarious, truth-telling?' The most hilarious thing about this book is Goodreads’ description of it: ‘A rightful heir to great American novels from A Confederacy of Dunces to The Grapes of Wrath to LaRose'. Ha, not even close. That’s not to say I didn’t (eventually) get caught up in this unconventional, off-the-grid family saga. But a couple of situations such as the one the social worker walked into on a welfare check were so ridiculous they undermined any chance I had of seeing this as the ‘new understanding of the American landscape and what it means to be free’ I was led to expect. 2 1/2 stars I received this book for free from Goodreads Giveaways.
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  • Grace (9racereads)
    January 1, 1970
    Let me start by saying that while I enjoyed this book overall (and more on that in a minute), it isn’t exactly how it was first marketed to me. The pitch claims it is a humorous book, and sure, there are humorous moments, but I really wouldn’t suggest this one to a reader looking for something funny. The story also claims to be about Helen and her boyfriend leaving her, but it is much more than that, and I think that the reader should go into it thinking little of the boyfriend, because honestly Let me start by saying that while I enjoyed this book overall (and more on that in a minute), it isn’t exactly how it was first marketed to me. The pitch claims it is a humorous book, and sure, there are humorous moments, but I really wouldn’t suggest this one to a reader looking for something funny. The story also claims to be about Helen and her boyfriend leaving her, but it is much more than that, and I think that the reader should go into it thinking little of the boyfriend, because honestly, it seems to do the novel a disservice. Really, Stay and Fight is not about a dissolving romance (or even about Helen herself, really, for it shifts the spotlight quite a bit), but a growing family. Essentially, three very different women come together to raise a child and they meet various other characters along the way while chronicling their struggles through their different voices and views. Additionally, their son, Perley, narrates several chapters, and in my opinion, he is far too precocious, but the manner in which Ffitch writes is so unique it is bearable. Honestly, this is the main thing that kept me going, because personally, I found all the characters to be quite annoying, and yet, somehow I wanted to stay — this is certainly a testament to Ffitch’s abilities. While this story wasn’t my cup of tea, I know it is someone else’s, and I would be interested to see what else Ffitch writes.
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  • Debi Hawkes
    January 1, 1970
    "One winter, Rudy got an infection in his testicles while he lay out drunk on coal company land in a one-room shack that didn’t belong to him."Intriguing, quirky beginning. I love "quirky", this style continued throughout the book, from the character descriptions/actions, the lifestyle, and the plot.So I should be a happy camper, right? Hmmm... a bit disappointed actually. Solid 3 star read for me, but it could have been more, almost felt unfinished with a slapped on wrap up.I received an ARC fr "One winter, Rudy got an infection in his testicles while he lay out drunk on coal company land in a one-room shack that didn’t belong to him."Intriguing, quirky beginning. I love "quirky", this style continued throughout the book, from the character descriptions/actions, the lifestyle, and the plot.So I should be a happy camper, right? Hmmm... a bit disappointed actually. Solid 3 star read for me, but it could have been more, almost felt unfinished with a slapped on wrap up.I received an ARC from NetGalley and publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
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  • meg
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 rounded up. I was actually really startled by how much I ended up enjoying this book. The writing was crisp and clean yet evocative. The shifting first-person POV really worked for me and I absolutely loved the way the differing personalities were revealed through the eyes of others. I even found the child narrator charming and hilarious, and I usually find child narrators deeply annoying. (Yes, even in Room! That's how good this was.) The one thing that kept coming up again and again is tha 4.5 rounded up. I was actually really startled by how much I ended up enjoying this book. The writing was crisp and clean yet evocative. The shifting first-person POV really worked for me and I absolutely loved the way the differing personalities were revealed through the eyes of others. I even found the child narrator charming and hilarious, and I usually find child narrators deeply annoying. (Yes, even in Room! That's how good this was.) The one thing that kept coming up again and again is that everyone was an unreliable narrator towards their own life; everybody saw themselves completely differently to how the other characters saw them, and that felt very true to life while also being actually a pretty original way to tell a story like this, despite the fact that I've described it so poorly that I'm sure it sounds run-of-the-mill here. Perhaps for this reason, the book this actually ended up reminding me most of was Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey, which also had a really unique approach to multiple narrators, and also featured strong female familial relationships sketched across a brutally harsh natural landscape. (Of course that book is a dystopia, and this book is set in our regular old world. But still.)This came up again in the main plot of the novel; I kept jumping back and forth and back and forth as to whose side I was on, as I'm sure I was intended to do. All the characters were vivid and written with a sense of deep love and empathy despite how critically flawed they all were, and that made for an uncomfortably conflicted yet brilliant read at times. Characters that initially seemed villainous to me seemed increasingly reasonable as I delved deeper into the storyline, and then tilted back towards antagonism. Everyone seems to have the best of intentions but nobody is totally sympathetic, and I really liked that the whole novel really lived in that moral grey area.The setting of the story was another highlight. It had a vivid sense of place and the descriptions of the natural landscape and the family's homestead were beautifully detailed. There were so many small details that still managed to make a big impression and really brought the whole scene to life. I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    I dunno what to say about this, but it was lovely and featured a non-heteronornative family unit and I liked that. Also, the little kid's POV was amazing
  • BookGypsy
    January 1, 1970
    Stay and fight. Exactly what happens. This was everything I thought it would be going in. I love southern grit and this was gritty. Life in the Appalachian mountains. An odd family living off the grid. Quirky characters, survivalist, snakes and outsiders interfering. A story of a family. Excellent southern grit debut. I enjoyed it. Dawnny-BookGypsyNovels N Latte Book ClubHudson Valley NY
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  • James (JD) Dittes
    January 1, 1970
    How did Farrar, Straus and Giroux miss the obvious title for this book--Snakes in a Shack!--and settle for the anodyne, Stay and Fight?I can't blame Madeline Ffitch for this oversight, because she does her job brilliantly: unveiling one of America's most misunderstood cultures (Appalachian hillbillies), creating characters that readers will root for, and illustrating the lush, tangled landscape of southeastern Ohio.Helen, a transplant from Washington State, moves to a 20-acre plot for love (of a How did Farrar, Straus and Giroux miss the obvious title for this book--Snakes in a Shack!--and settle for the anodyne, Stay and Fight?I can't blame Madeline Ffitch for this oversight, because she does her job brilliantly: unveiling one of America's most misunderstood cultures (Appalachian hillbillies), creating characters that readers will root for, and illustrating the lush, tangled landscape of southeastern Ohio.Helen, a transplant from Washington State, moves to a 20-acre plot for love (of a man), she stays there, though, for a love of the land, trying her best to live off the land (road kill, wild plants, acorns) and record her discoveries in a Best Practices Handbook. Joined by Karen and Lily, a lesbian couple raising their son, Perley, outside societal bounds, Helen builds a shack and a lifestyle that sure looks to the reader like dire poverty but proves to be something far more.Ffitch's book is no Hillbilly Elegy. The poverty of its characters is defiant, intentional, embraced with a fondness for past ways and little hope for the future. America flies over the compound in helicopters and offers temporary riches in return for the despoliation of Appalachia. The heroines are one with the land--to the point that they sleep and live entwined with black snakes.It is a jarring collision with the outside world that will push these women toward confrontation with the law and the natural gas company--that will push them to expel (in Samuel Jackson's immortal lines) "these MFing snakes from this MFing [shack]." And Perley, the son of the hills and Friend of Snakes, the boy raised on fantasies of elves and woods, will pursue a quest that will "redeem the land" and his modern family as well.Full disclosure: I grew up in southeastern Ohio on a hill called Tick Ridge (Helen's property vividly reminded me of my neighbor's plot growing up, complete with the small, metal trailer). When I was seven, I explored the woods just as Perley did--I even had my own, hidden cave. And while I live now in Tennessee, I'm still haunted by a love of Appalachia. It's the reason why I selected this book. And it's the reason I found it so satisfying to read.Full disclosure: I read the book thanks to Net Galley, but these opinions are all my own.Go and buy Stay and Fight.
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  • Rachel Watkins
    January 1, 1970
    Who decides what makes a family? STAY AND FIGHT is a weird and wonderful story of living off the grid, communal living and the enormity of being a parent. ffitch's debut deeply connects to our planet's impending environmental crisis without preaching. The characters dig in when they believe they're right, and their tenacity (and sometimes obvious impending train wrecks) is terribly entertaining.
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of the best books I've ever read.
  • Ray Sinclair
    January 1, 1970
    There are many layers in this wonderful saga of queer, feminist, off-the-grid life in Appalachia Ohio. Ffitch skillfully weaves together issues of poverty, environment, gender, non-traditional families, property, living close to the land, and a conflicted relationship with establishment systems of education, heath care, foster care and employment. This seems like a plate full of perspectives that is too big for this relatively quick read, but ffitch’s characters (three women in prominent roles, There are many layers in this wonderful saga of queer, feminist, off-the-grid life in Appalachia Ohio. Ffitch skillfully weaves together issues of poverty, environment, gender, non-traditional families, property, living close to the land, and a conflicted relationship with establishment systems of education, heath care, foster care and employment. This seems like a plate full of perspectives that is too big for this relatively quick read, but ffitch’s characters (three women in prominent roles, three men is secondary roles and one boy, the son of two of the women) are so original, interesting, and well-sketched that we expect them to handle it all. And they do -- with joy and pain, with resolve and weakness, with brilliance and stupidity, that is, with a humanness that draws us into their story. And they are all poor. Through their strong and fragile voices ffitch shows that poor people are not stupid, weak and lazy. Rather they are complex humans who are sometimes committed to a lifestyle that has long odds for success. Somehow, ffitch makes life in a falling-down shack filled with black rat snakes, wasps, and other vermin, a diet of grub worms, acorns, and squirrels, and no toilet seem harsh but understandable and even reasonable for the women and the boy who argue constantly but love each other unconditionally. In this book, the voice of poor people is not just heard, it is virtually the only perspective we get. In that way, the articulateness of Stay and Fight on so many issues is a rebuke to those who think less of poor people just because they are poor. By the end of the book, this inspiring group has taken action on every one of the issue areas that crowd their daily lives and thoughts in ways that people with many resources could also do – if they only had the same strength of character and resolve.
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  • Steffy
    January 1, 1970
    "Leaving is just leaving. Staying is the hard thing.""We have to decide when to take action. Some people decide never to take action at all. Some people look back on a jumble of uncertain floundering and to cast the right frame around it so that they can remember doing the ring thing when it counted."A few chapters into the story and I felt like the marketing for this book was a little off. I received an ARC at the beginning of the year and to that time, I was expecting something different. Neve "Leaving is just leaving. Staying is the hard thing.""We have to decide when to take action. Some people decide never to take action at all. Some people look back on a jumble of uncertain floundering and to cast the right frame around it so that they can remember doing the ring thing when it counted."A few chapters into the story and I felt like the marketing for this book was a little off. I received an ARC at the beginning of the year and to that time, I was expecting something different. Nevertheless, I kept reading and actually found myself laughing about the humor and actions taken by the characters. It doesn't necessarily focus on Helen alone but also on the lesbian couple and their baby she invited into her home, after her boyfriend left. It tells the story of strangers becoming family, raising a child together, fighting and rebelling the system in odd ways. The characters are stubborn, quirky, quite annoying actually. The dysfunctional dynamic between them pushed them to make frustratingly decisions. Survival dice? This unconventional get together and sleeping with snakes really put me off as well. The parts from the point of view of the kid were irritating to read. As precious as he seems, the lack of punctuation really bothered me. This stylistic choice worked only in short portions for me. In general, the writing is really good and reads fluidly once you get used to it. Side-character hillbilly Rudy is probably the most fun character in this story. While the women seem to be blind and dumb about the situation they are in, as drunk Rudy sometimes seems, he probably was the sanest of them all.*I received an advance digital copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
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  • Susan Kaplan
    January 1, 1970
    This is a remarkable book, one that I would most likely have set aside for its strangeness, but I was so captivated by the characters and how their lives evolved, moving back and forth in an unusual dance, that I could not put it down.Although I am rarely at a loss for words, I am now. The book is indescribable and must be experienced by the reader. I’ll just say when you have a survivalist young woman who invites a lesbian couple, one very pregnant, onto her virtually uninhabitable land, a half This is a remarkable book, one that I would most likely have set aside for its strangeness, but I was so captivated by the characters and how their lives evolved, moving back and forth in an unusual dance, that I could not put it down.Although I am rarely at a loss for words, I am now. The book is indescribable and must be experienced by the reader. I’ll just say when you have a survivalist young woman who invites a lesbian couple, one very pregnant, onto her virtually uninhabitable land, a half drunk male character who cuts down trees for a living, and a boy child who might be the most remarkable character in modern literature - well, it’s off to the races as these very well created, larger than life people navigate life and everything life can possibly throw at them. This is a story of survival living off the grid until the outside world intervenes. I received this book as an ARC from the publisher and NetGalley.
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  • Mary Ann
    January 1, 1970
    Appalachia conjures up images in most people's minds, and Madeline Ffitch creates believable, rough, stubborn women in this novel Stay and Fight. First, it is not about a couple, for he quickly bails at the first moments of hardship, but instead the use of shifting POVs allow the reader to explore a trio of women who form a famiky or small community to raise a child. Some have mentioned the humor, and while there are some funny moments, it is a challenging book to read, partly because of the set Appalachia conjures up images in most people's minds, and Madeline Ffitch creates believable, rough, stubborn women in this novel Stay and Fight. First, it is not about a couple, for he quickly bails at the first moments of hardship, but instead the use of shifting POVs allow the reader to explore a trio of women who form a famiky or small community to raise a child. Some have mentioned the humor, and while there are some funny moments, it is a challenging book to read, partly because of the setting and partly because of the characters. These are tough women who are not always the most likeable people. An interesting book, a look at the Midwest area of Appalachia, and a picture of tenacity. My rating is 4.5 out of 5.
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes I agonize over the number of stars I give a book. No agonizing here. I went straight for the full five. Stay and Fight may be listed as fiction but it is TRUE fiction. When you read this book, if you take to it (or it takes to you), pack a bag and head for Southeast Ohio for a visit from which you may never leave. Madeline ffitch’s writing seems effortless, as though it just came naturally. I am, sincerely, hoping for a sequel. Soon.
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to FSG and Goodreads for this giveaway. I really enjoyed this story. Madeline Ffitch put the most unlikely characters together and they formed a family. While this clan was messy in it's evolution it was good. They loved each other despite their imperfections. You will fall in love with the charaters. This is a classic story of an American family braving the unknown and living through it. Bravo!
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  • Annarella
    January 1, 1970
    Not my cup of tea. Even if I loved the style of writing and the author can surely write I couldn't connect to the characters and the book fell flat.Not my cup of tea.Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
  • Marie
    January 1, 1970
    Brilliant prose that hooks you, plus a plot about the ethics of raising kids outside the culture. What else could you want?
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I'll be honest, I was a little confused by this book. First off, it is nothing at all like the description implies. It's more a family drama type novel. A weird, dysfunctional family drama. I was left feeling "meh". I didn't dislike it, but I also didn't like it either. There must be something going around the writing world that says multiple character POV chapters and ambiguous endings are the way to go. I hate it, and I didn't particularly think it was well done in this case. The writing was f I'll be honest, I was a little confused by this book. First off, it is nothing at all like the description implies. It's more a family drama type novel. A weird, dysfunctional family drama. I was left feeling "meh". I didn't dislike it, but I also didn't like it either. There must be something going around the writing world that says multiple character POV chapters and ambiguous endings are the way to go. I hate it, and I didn't particularly think it was well done in this case. The writing was fine, the story was fine, in general everything was just fine. This book was just not my cup of tea. For those readers who enjoy an nontraditional,quirky writing style, this is for you. Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC for review.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    "Stay and Fight" is a novel about family. It's also about protesting societal norms and government restrictions. While the characters are flawed, they're also real and loyal, and I liked that. I never really connected emotionally to any of them, though, and felt like I was on the outside looking in. I also appreciated the honest look at Appalachian Ohio and the frustrations that accompany being poor and misunderstood. I definitely did not like all the distracting and unnecessary F-words, though. "Stay and Fight" is a novel about family. It's also about protesting societal norms and government restrictions. While the characters are flawed, they're also real and loyal, and I liked that. I never really connected emotionally to any of them, though, and felt like I was on the outside looking in. I also appreciated the honest look at Appalachian Ohio and the frustrations that accompany being poor and misunderstood. I definitely did not like all the distracting and unnecessary F-words, though. In my opinion, "Stay and Fight" is an okay novel with important themes. But I finished it out of obligation and would not recommend it to other readers.
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  • Lee
    January 1, 1970
    Stay and Fight is such a remarkable novel. It is filled with very strong characters that I got to know quite intimately because the story is told from alternating points of view of the different characters. It is a story about emotional and physical survival; about family and love; about staying and fighting for who and what you believe in. This is a story worth reading. I highly recommend it. Advance reader copy was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book from the publisher via a Goodreads giveaway.
  • Miss Maureen
    January 1, 1970
    I'm 4 pages into the story and the words " he said, she said, he asked, she asked " have probably been written in 48 times. So aggravating to have a writer repeat this over and over, like the reader is so ignorant & has no idea someone is asking or talking. A female couple and a single straight woman, Helen, become friends. 1of the women in the couple, Lilly, has a baby boy. They decide to live on the single woman's land & build a house together. It's not a very good house, but it serve I'm 4 pages into the story and the words " he said, she said, he asked, she asked " have probably been written in 48 times. So aggravating to have a writer repeat this over and over, like the reader is so ignorant & has no idea someone is asking or talking. A female couple and a single straight woman, Helen, become friends. 1of the women in the couple, Lilly, has a baby boy. They decide to live on the single woman's land & build a house together. It's not a very good house, but it serves the purpose. The woman in the couple that didn't have the baby, Karen, is a bitch. She disagrees with everything everyone says. She acts like a know it all. She is hateful, doesn't want the boy, Perly, to go to school, and complains about everything. Karen wants him to live totally in the backwoods and never conform, never socialize, never play with the other children. So, I originally gave 2 stars, but after finishing, I moved it down to 1 star. The words "said & asked " were used hundreds, if not thousands, of times. This book has no ending, it just stops. The name was ridiculous. They never fought against anything. Stupid shit like a house full of snakes, one of them sleeping in the bed with the female couple and the son, bites the child's face and latches on, leaving a 7 yr old boy with a scarred face for the rest of his life. All because of their ignorance, bullheadedness, and laziness. These 3 grown women couldn't, or wouldn't, even work enough to buy the necessary things for themselves. They spent hundreds of hours foraging for crap when they could have worked, made money, and made life easier. They seemed to want Perly to be an outcast and a misfit. Karen stayed a bitch, but was also lazy and didn't want to work. Lily was a complete airhead and oblivious to the terrible way they lived. And Helen ? I'm not sure what to think of her. Desperate? 3 grown women and nobody could clean up that dump? Nobody could get rid of the snakes? Hadn't they heard of lime? Nobody could fix or repair or redo anything? A hammer, a few nails, a piece of wood to fix the holes instead of Karen whittling it away?Then the dumbasses let a 7 yr old live alone? I'm surprised it took 7 yrs for DCS to intervene. They didn't deserve to have a son if they let him grow up in filth and disrepair and unsanitary conditions. Shitting in a bucket? Not even a real outhouse for these lazy people. They were disgusting, filthy, lazy women who fought for nothing. The title is a scam. The author needs a few lessons on writing about likeable characters and to quit using those same 2 words in every sentence. Plus, where was the ending? To just stop a book in the middle of a supposed plot, it's lazy, just like the characters she wrote about. Did Perly get to go back home? Who knows, the writer forgot to let us know. Did Karen get in trouble for screwing up the machines? Not sure. Ms. Ffirch neglected to tell us. This is an incomplete story of some unlikable peopl who fight for nothing. Stupid title for a dumb book. I'm just glad I listened to the audio version and didn't waste my time sitting down to read it. I was able to do my housework while it was playing, something Madeleine Ffitch"s characters seemed to do little of.
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  • Deedi (DeediReads) Brown
    January 1, 1970
    All my reviews can be seen at https://deedireads.com/.Thank you, NetGalley and FSG, for the advanced review copy of this book! It will be published on July 9th, 2019.I requested and read this book on the recommendation of a good friend who really knows books, and she did not let me down. I’m still mulling this one over. It was an introspective, deep novel about family, independence, identity, and love.There are four main characters: Helen, who moved to Appalachia with her boyfriend (he left; she All my reviews can be seen at https://deedireads.com/.Thank you, NetGalley and FSG, for the advanced review copy of this book! It will be published on July 9th, 2019.I requested and read this book on the recommendation of a good friend who really knows books, and she did not let me down. I’m still mulling this one over. It was an introspective, deep novel about family, independence, identity, and love.There are four main characters: Helen, who moved to Appalachia with her boyfriend (he left; she stayed); Lily and Karen, domestic partners who live simply, Lily a mother type and Karen a provider type; and Perley, Lily and Karen’s son. There’s also Rudy, their crude but loyal friend and Helen’s employer, but he doesn’t ever narrate as the others do.After Helen’s boyfriend decides to leave, she continues to live on the land they paid for together in Helen’s name. After her first winter in complete isolation, learning to live off the land (literally), she invites Lily and Karen to join her on her land and build a home together. Over the years, they become a (very dysfunctional) family. Then a lonely Perley decides he wants to go to school, and it brings the outside world in — and not really in a good way.One of the best parts of this novel was Perley’s point of view. His chapters were fascinating and beautiful. They’re written the way children seem to think, in run-on sentences that flip-flop between both childish and adult-like thoughts and emotions. He is so innocent, so heartbreaking, so wise. I could have read the entire novel through his eyes and been perfectly happy to do so.Alas, Perley probably has the fewest chapters of all of them. But the way we meander through POV lenses, we get to really understand that the way these characters perceive themselves is rarely, or never exactly, how the other characters perceive them. Which is pretty profound in its effect.There’s something deeply American in this book, and something that gets to the heart of agency and independence. Something that resonates really deeply, although I’m still trying to pinpoint what, exactly, that something is.If you read it and figure it out, let me know.
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  • Joann
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for advanced reading copy. I have never read a book like this, and I enjoyed it! Looking back at the description of it, I would disagree that it is hilarious. I didn't really laugh at all and found the characters deep, somewhat unlikable, but I still enjoyed the way it all played together. Set in Appalachia at the peak of fracking times, a lesbian couple fights to keep their son who was raised with them, "mean aunt" who gave them a place to live, and the Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for advanced reading copy. I have never read a book like this, and I enjoyed it! Looking back at the description of it, I would disagree that it is hilarious. I didn't really laugh at all and found the characters deep, somewhat unlikable, but I still enjoyed the way it all played together. Set in Appalachia at the peak of fracking times, a lesbian couple fights to keep their son who was raised with them, "mean aunt" who gave them a place to live, and the cantankerous "uncle" who is living on the land near the pipeline. Snakes live in the house as well, as they are hard to get rid of. When Perley, the boy, gets a snakebite, the school takes action and he is removed from the only home he's ever known due to neglect and conditions. I imagine this book being like the movie "Leave No Trace" where a family is doing fine on their own, living off land and off grid - and the "establishment" comes in to enforce their rules and ways of being a family. However, throughout the tale, I am torn about what is truly best for Perley. Is he really being taken care of, or is he just surviving? The whole book was really thought provoking, it was hard to put down. I wasn't completely satisified with the ending, as it left some things open to interpretation and I'm more of a "ok, it's complete" kinda gal, but I saw it coming and it makes sense to end it that way. A great read, very enjoyable.
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