I read Christy in two days Not only was it a beautifully written and timeless narrative of Appalachian culture, it was also a most refreshing romance There are two main men in this book, the young Pastor, David and Dr Neil MacNeil a self proclaimed atheist What strikes me so throughly is the fact that both men are a perfect foil for one another In a sense, I feel that the Rev David is unknowingly an atheist and similarly Dr MacNeil a devout Christian by the book s end This is the power of the writing at display Christy is asking deep questions about the meaning of life, the hindrance of restrictive patriarchal cultures, and the impact poverty has on some of the most vulnerable members of society Both of these men offer her answers to her questions and in her own way she accepts and rejects these answers forming her own opinions in the book Among these questions is discovering for herself what constitutes love and what relationships look like both in the mountain culture and beyond I wish books were regularly written with such depth and profundity as is modeled in these pages Simultaneously the depth is complemented with colloquial mountain culture showing that these people s values and traditions are much than just a bunch of ignorant hillbillies With mountain expressions like, But that way is so up tilted, you could stand straight up and bite the ground thrown in it was hard to put down Catherine Marshall s descriptive sentences were a treat as well Here is my favorite that I now have begun reading every spring The evergreens were tipped with vivid green and the willows overhanging the streams were a whisper of green lace Here and there in the fields of the valley, spicewood bushes waved yellow plumes It was spring and I felt light and carefree Please read this timeless coming of age story I feel that every young girl should read this if only to know the beauty that comes from being immersed in other cultures and the self discovery that follows. Full review now posted This book is billed as the first Christian fiction novel Before this point, an author s faith might be woven through their work, but that didn t put it in a different genre Thanks to Marshall s novel, an entirely new genre was born and has now split into multiple subgenres The biggest awards for Christian fiction remains the Christy Awards in honor of this book If there is any classic of the genre, it would obviously have to be this book, which meant it was something that I really needed to read.I honestly expected fluff, because a lot of Christian historical fiction tends to veer in that direction That was definitely not the case here There was faith, yes, and it was an incredibly important element of the story Faith was the binding force But there was also a level of brutal honesty that was often uncomfortable to read The lifestyle of the mountain people whose children Christy goes off to teach was appalling They were in a way trapped in the past, unaware or untrusting of modernity and how life was changing as the country entered the 20th century As a whole, they are maudlin and superstitious to the point of actually adversely affecting their own health Christy is only 19, but she is desperate to make a difference Not just with the children she teaches, but with the Cutter Gap area as a whole Her parents are understandably upset by her choice to leave her well to do home for the squalor of the backwards mountain community to which she feels called But Christy wants than anything for her life to matter, and so she goes anyway Through her deep emotional involvement in the lives of the Cutter Gap people and the guidance of Miss Alice, the woman who helped start the missions in Cutter Gap and surrounding areas, Christy s faith becomes truly real to her for the first time in her life Before this, church was what she and her family attended on Sunday But as she is faced with questions from the people of the area, she has to start figuring out for herself what she actually believes and who God is to her Her spiritual growth was the most real and genuine such growth I ve ever come across in fiction.Besides Christy, my favorite character was Miss Alice, the Quaker woman who helps run three missions scattered over the area She takes Christy under her wing, and her own approach to faith was a beautiful thing She didn t believe in putting any conditions on love, or in trying to change the people of the area as soon as possible Yes, she sees the need for change, but than that she sees a need for a truer understanding of God and His unconditional love So that s what she offers love Miss Alice views God as a Friend and Comforter and Good Father who cares deeply about His people The mountain people tend to see God as vengeful and His favor as fickle, and that s what Miss Alice sets out to change She was such a real character, with a real faith that defines her entire life Her openness was incredibly refreshing.What amazes me most about this book is the fact that it s based on reality Marshall wrote this book as a moderately fictionalized account of her own mother s experiences teaching in a one room school deep in the Smoky Mountains That knowledge made everything I read poignant and disturbing in turn The bitter element of realism in this book, while compelling, is the reason this book was four stars for me instead of a full five It made me incredibly sad, and was hard to read in places because of that sadness However, I have a deep and profound respect for both the book and the author, and for how it helped develop an entire genre For of my reviews, as well as my own fiction and thoughts on life, check out my blog, Celestial Musings. At Nineteen, Christy Huddleston Left Home To Teach School In The Smokies Coming To Know And Care For The Wild Mountain People, With Their Fierce Pride, Terrible Poverty, Dark Superstitionsand Their Yearning For Beauty And Truth But In These Primitive Surroundings, Christy S Faith Would Be Severely Tested By The Unique Strengths And Needs Of Two Remarkable Young Men And Challenged By A Heart Torn Between Desireand Love For anyone who says that reading fiction is not as edifying and worthwhile as reading a non fiction book, I say, Have you read Christy I mourn that Catherine Marshall wasn t around in my lifetime, but I feel so utterly blessed that she poured her heart and soul and love into this eternal story There are moments of true wisdom tucked away in this biographical novel than in any other book I ve read outside of The Book and it s all nestled effortlessly in a touching, gripping, fascinating, and beautiful story Each time I read it I m reminded of the beauty and awesome power of God s love I remember and drink in the eternal wisdom in all Miss Alice says and does I am fascinated by the impetuous, passionate and immature character of Christy that every woman with a kindred spirit can identify with I am given hope for a world in which God s love can be allowed to work.What A Classic. This was the book that spawned adult reading for me My mom read it aloud on a car trip to the Smokey Mountains The characters are engaging and could walk off the page Truly the first experience I had with characters that i would recognize if they walked into the room.Fifteen years later, this book remains the only book I ve ever read that still holds all it s charm and wonder with each reread I make a piont to reread it at least every two years Cutter Gap and it s people are very much alive in Catherine Marshall s writing A beautiful story of romance, adventure, and coming of age in a time when being true to yourself was the least of your worries. I listened to this on audio, so pardon any misspellings Okay, this is going to be a complicated review In my opinion, Christy is a good book, just maybe not for all audiences I m giving it a solid 3.5 stars for didn t love didn t hate but liked it than 3 stars but not quite 4 stars There were things I liked and things I didn t like and things that simply were Things that were uplifting and things that were depressing I liked Christy herself for the most part She was lively, and an entertaining narrator, making me smile several times with her reactions to things It was good to watch her grow and mature, both emotionally, and spiritually, her faith journey being especially touching The thing I disliked about her was her romantic journey She was probably the most immature in that area, and while it wasn t at all like modern day YA in which it s often get physical first and ask questions later, she still had that immature attitude of, If I m not in love with him, then why do I have all teh tingly feelings when he kisses me Just guessing here, but that might bewait for ithormones, maybe Love should be so much than physical attraction and tingles, dear I also really didn t like her main love interest hardly at all, which brings me to my next point David, her love interest, didn t seem like a bad guy at first, but the she got to know him the I disliked him First of all, when she started trying to take small steps of faith to help the community, he put her down and acted like this wasn t a response from God, this was just a happy happening Though not always, he could also be condescending towards her when she asked questions for which he didn t have answers And finally, the man was in the ministry, not because he felt God was calling him to be there and he genuinely wanted to help the people of Cutter Gap, but rather, he was there because other people thought the ministry would suit him, other people had assigned him to Cutter Gap, and he was basically just there to do a job he was assigned to do, with no real love for the people On top of that, he would preach fiery sermons to the people about how they needed to change their ways, using Scripture to back himself up, and then we find out that he doesn t even believe everything in the Bible, and is so unsure of his own faith that when Christy starts asking him questions about what he believes and why, he gets all defensive and condescending saying she s diving into deep theological waters and he doesn t want to confuse her Umwho was the one who was just saying how unsure he was about the existence of heaven, Jesus miracles being true miracles, etc and keeps referring to debates back at the theological seminary rather than his own solid beliefs You, not her And that wasn t the only thing he was condescending to her about To give Christy credit, she did pick up on these issues and it did cause her to hesitate, but in my opinion, it took her way too long to put the brakes on the relationship If it were me, he would have been dropped like a hot potato the minute he proposed To give David credit, he too came to realize his shortcomings by the end and decided to take his life in a different direction.Then there was the other love interest Dr McNeill To be honest, I was pretty neutral about him throughout most of the book I never thought he seemed as arrogant as Christy thought he was at first, though he did have a strong personality And while I didn t agree with what he believed, at least he knew WHY he believed it, unlike David My main issue with the idea of Christy and him together was the contrast of his atheism with her growing faith, because I do feel that people who are considering a relationship, much less marriage, need to be in a similar place with their faith or you re opening up room for conflict that doesn t have to be there However, that contrast changed by the end albeit, last minute at which point I was okay with the idea.A character I was not neutral about was Miss Alice, who may have been my favorite side character in the whole story She was a woman of integrity and strong, unwavering faith, who made for an excellent mentor and friend for Christy and others, and her personal story held some interesting surprises.There were other likable side characters as well, Fairlight and Ruby May coming to mind first I also liked several of the school children and enjoyed reading about Christy s school times in general and the difference she made in her student s lives by actively showing love to them even when it was difficult As for the side characters I felt neutral about, I still felt that they were all characterized well and unique enough that I never got confused about them, and it was interesting to see them function as a community For the story itself, as I said at the start, it s a good story, but not necessarily suitable for all readers, due both to differences in personal taste, and for younger readers, a little bit of content issues It could be very uplifting seeing Christy s accomplishments and the sweet personal connections she made with individuals in the community, and ultimately, the change she brings to the community is the heart and point of the story At the same time, the story didn t pull punches when it came to thematic elements and there were a number of things that happened that could be considered depressing, and some things that aren t appropriate for readers of all ages The mountain community lived in desperate poverty and ignorance, and just like back in the day when their ancestors lived in Scotland, there was little in the way of traditional law enforcement, and family feuds and acts of revenge that sometimes resulted in murder were the norm There were other illegal acts as well, like the making and selling of illegal moonshine, the discovery of which could also lead to murder This is all historically accurate, and in all reality my own Appalachian ancestors nearly all of them probably experienced some form of this sort of poverty and ignorance in their lifetimes, so that was an interesting glance back in time for me It s just not one of the happier historical accuracies to base a story upon, and not everyone will find it enjoyable, even when taking the uplifting moments into consideration.On top of this, there were medical things that some could find icky One time in particular, I was listening while eating breakfast to the part where one character gets double pneumonia andughI wish I hadn t There was only one doctor for the entire community, though the people from the mission tried to help as much as they could, and some descriptions of illness and one surgery, which I ll cover in further detail in the content section of this review, while not graphic to an extreme, could be than some people want to read, especially as nearly the entire last third of the book centers around an epidemic of typhoid in the community, and that is one nasty disease that, sadly, did cause a number of deaths, thus adding to the depressing depressingness And finally, and probably the most problematic were a mention of rape and the discovery that rape is part of the backstory of one prominent side character When this character made this revelation, this was probably the one place where I thought a description went farther than it should have The sex act was not described, but the character did mention where the wicked, evil, DESPICABLE excuse for humanity initially touched her, and I thought she should not have included this detail as it went from the simple knowledge that he touched her inappropriately to, okay, now we re picturing where he touched her, and that s not something that needs to be pictured, especially as the mere knowledge that it happened was sickening enough to begin with I will also address this further in the content section.Now, having said that I will make note that hearing about the positive way that the community supported this character when they found out what happened was very touching and uplifting The individual s parents and the Quaker community, one older woman in particular, rallied around her and protected her from gossip, ensuring that she and the child felt loved, not rejected Her experience also taught them that they ve been so focused on their teachings about the inner light that they ve neglected other things such as educating their girl children about natural bodily acts like sex so they are not ignorant lambs among wolves if an evil person was to come into the community again with the intention of taking advantage of them They also made changes related to a number of other things like how they had some ideas about modern day revelations from God but were actually considering rather silly things like indigestion or bodily aches as messages from God So they enacted change so there would be checks for such things.So, all things considered, Christy is a complex book I can see why those who have loved it over the years loved it, as it is very uplifting in some ways and minus a little confusing moment, I liked the way it ended At the same time it is depressing in places, and with the hatred, revenge, icky medical descriptions, and one instance of a remembered rape, I was unable to completely fall in love with it, hence my rating of 3.5 Still, there is definitely a reason this is a classic, and I think the right audience will enjoy it very much.Content for those who want to know Due to the following content, particularly the part that touches on rape, I would not personally recommend this book for anyone under the age of 16, maybe older depending on the individual Violence There are many instances of violence in this book, though generally, it is not described As stated in my review, the part of the Appalachias where the story happens is so isolated there is not a lot in the way of traditional law enforcement and we discover that even when the law is enforced the courts can be biased because families plot and plan to get a certain people elected as judge Therefore, families get in feuds and may even shoot each other and sometimes get away with it Many don t seem to think twice about threatening others with guns and knives One Quaker woman who is normally against violence even taught herself to shoot better than the men just so they would respect her enough to listen to her when she tries to act as peacemaker We never actually see her have to use a gun during the story Early on in the story an in home surgery happens that will involve the need to drill a hole in a man s skull to relieve pressure, but Christy walks out before it starts.Christy sees the remnants of an animal that was killed by another animal Blood and fur on the ground described briefly One character recalls how another character was raised to have no respect for animal life and would often kill animals, not for food or fur, but just simply for the sake of killing, and was often unmerciful about it She recalls how he broke the leg of a baby deer, just because he could, and was about to bash its head in, but she stopped him.Miss Alice makes brief mentions of having met a crippled child who was later beaten and raped and died, and once walking into a house to discover an insane man had hung his wife Neither of these things are described any than what I said here Note Miss Alice tells Christy these things to explain to her that yes, she will run into some great evils being committed in this region, but she believes God has placed the two of them there to use them as tools to bring that evil to an end A baby dies and it turns out it was from internal injuries caused by something the mother did out of ignorance and superstition to try to cure what she thought was wrong The babys dead body is briefly described, but there is no external injury, so it s not icky just very sad Brief discussion of Indian scalping, how some pioneer doctor s helped those who survived a scalping via a procedure in which a hole is bored into the skull This makes Christy wish her imagination were not so vivid Some pranks the older boys play in the classroom have potential for physical harm A rock is wrapped in cloth to look like a ball and thrown at a young girl s head She is bruised but otherwise okay Hot marbles are left on the floor with the intention that Christy will pick them up and get burned She s warned ahead of time A much later prank involves someone putting something in the school furnace that spits out sparks when Christy goes to stoke the fire Holes are burned in her dress and her neck is burned enough to raise a blister An older boy beats a younger boy unconscious The beating is only barely described by the witnesses We later discover the reason for the beating is because the younger boy got too close to the place where a bunch of moonshine was being hidden Christy acts as assistant during one surgery on a child It is generally not described but there is brief mention of a large pocket of puss caused by infection.Sexual An older boy in Christy s class uses a written assignment to tell her he has trouble focusing on lessons because she s so pretty This is the only instance, and nothing ever comes of his supposed attraction to her Some non described kisses on the cheek, lips, and eyelids at varying times When Christy is preparing the dead baby s body for the laying out some men come in to see the baby and they are drunk Christy notices one of them staring at her and then winking to his companions She ignores it But the man of the house is concerned enough about the drunks that when he walks the ladies back to the mission he brings his gun.Later we discover that the man actually didn t bring his gun because of the drunks, he brought it because some strange men no one knew had followed Christy out there David warns her not to leave the mission without him again at least not until they find out who the men are Some men most likely drunk try to break into the house where Christy and two other women are staying by themselves The women end up having to barricade the doors and look for things to use as weapons because the men are out there looking to possibly kill a man they think is staying in the same house he isn t and whether or not they get to the man, they imply they might take advantage of the women as well, shouting through the door things like, We don t want to hurt ye we just want to enjoy ye, and offering the women alcohol that is probably moonshine The women can hear them discussing which man gets which woman The men never get in, though, and are eventually chased off by a sudden rain storm.In the last third of the story Miss Alice reveals to Christy that she was raped as a teenager It is not described in extreme or titillating detail, but enough is described that it s not appropriate for younger readers and could possibly be a trigger for those who have experienced this horrible thing , so I m going to put this is spoiler code view spoiler Miss Alice says her parents didn t talk to her about the act of sex in any way and an evil, evil man used this nievete to his advantage, twisting passages from God s Word to make it seem like physical touch would get you to some special spiritual plane Once he had her believing these lies she recalls that he had her take her clothes off and touched her breasts and thighs and then raped her She mentions him being on top of her and her realizing too late that what he was doing to her was wrong and trying to fight him off and failing She says by the time it was over she was crumpled on the floor in tears and he didn t care, even had dinner with the family that evening and acted like nothing had happened at all hide spoiler Is this the end Why isn t there This was my first time reading Christy by Catherine Marshall and I loved it Why didn t I read it sooner My only complaint is that the book ended More thoughts to come, potentially.Now, onto Julie Beautiful, beautiful book I absolutely loved the descriptions of the Smoky Mt area and the people It was wonderful to know of their heritage and what contributed to their stubborness, their clan loyalty and their work ethic Marshall is such a GOOD storyteller The characters and conflicts were so real The school children were a delight to read about I can t even begin to understand how she handled 70 kids in a one room school Amazing It s no surprise people fell in love with Christy I certainly did I love reading this may sound twisted of people s flaws and how they grow and sometimes overcome them, but often just come to understand them and gain a different perspective i.e her sensitive nose that never really went away, but she was able to not be as bothered by it because of her new perspective and feelings towards the people and the situation I love love love the ending. This warm and heartfelt novel is Catherine Marshall s loving tribute to her mother Lenora Woods journey to Cutter Gap, in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, to teach its children shortly after the turn of the century The effect it had on her mother s life and faith is captured with warmth and beauty in this fine audio book It is made all the special because it is read by Kellie Martin, who starred in the two hour television adaptation, and the series that followed.It is rare when an audio book is this good Though nothing is ever a substitute for reading the book, having both read this fine novel in the traditional manner, and listened to this audio reading, I can honestly say that if you loved the television series, you will love this Just as she did in the series, Kellie Martin perfectly captures the great beauty of these mountains and the poverty of its people Occasional and brief interludes of banjo music frame this heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking thinly disguised biography of a young and exuberant 19 year old girl who falls in love with the children of Cutter gap.This seems like a telling of a story than a reading, and that in itself separates it from many other audio books Martin captures the joy and humor of Christy s time in Cutter Gap, as well as the conflict and resentment as the school and church butted heads over moonshine She captures the romance that begins to blossom and her divided heart, as her inner emotions are torn between two very different men.This may be warm family entertainment but it has substance as well Those who are fans of the beloved bestseller and or the fine television series it spawned will not be disappointed The emotions of Christy and her resolve to stay in this place and teach are lovingly brought to life in Kellie Martin s voice as she reads the wonderful words of Catherine Marshall Particularly moving is the relationship between Christy and Fairlight Spencer, a strong but delicate woman who offers her friendship The sadness these mountains could bring upon such a fine and delicate soul is movingly rendered by Kellie Martin As Fairlight s inner flame begins to grow dim from the blowing winds of hardship and shadows of poverty, we are deeply moved.I highly recommend this one, even if, like me, you ve read it already It is a loving tribute to Catherine Marshall s mother and the life she chose to live Filled with love and joy, this is one audio book read by Kellie Martin that you ll savor and enjoy over and over. Okay so I have read this book about 10 times, most recently 2008 It is about a young women who heads to the mountains to become a school teacher and the challenges she faces There are two hunky guys she flirts with, too This book does have religious tones while Christy questions and figures out what she believes I think this book rings so true to me because I read it at an age when I was asking the same type of questions I still enjoy the beauty of the story after repeat readings This may be my all time favorite book.