Bookclub with Amy Greene, author of Bloodroot

by Edie Wadsworth on January 23, 2011

At least four people told me about it.   “You HAVE to read this book.  You’ll love it.  It’s about growing up in Appalachia.”

So when Ms. Cindy told me that the author Amy Greene was signing books at the fall festival, I felt guilty that I hadn’t read it yet.

But I went to meet her because I knew.  I just knew.

I apologized profusely that hadn’t read the book yet.   She was warm and kind and easy, like talking to my sister.  I was instantly drawn to her.   I loved the book already without reading one page.

I devoured it in two days and a long night.   It got under my skin, Avett Brothers style.   The characters wouldn’t leave me alone.   I wrote Amy an email declaring my love for her work.   She graciously agreed to come to my bookclub.

***********

Fast forward three months.  A lot has changed for me.   My life will never be the same.
It was two weeks ago when it dawned on me that Amy was scheduled to come to our bookclub on January 21st.
I had been looking forward to it so much but I wasn’t sure I was ready. Could it get through it without crying? Could I moderate the discussion at all?
Maybe we should postpone.

But I knew her paperback was coming out and she’d be busy with book signings and tours so I decided to ‘keep calm and carry on.”  I’m so glad I did.

*************

My bookclub friends have been so generous and loving to me during this trauma. They’ve done every kind thing you can think of and more. It was so good to see them all. And then my sister reminded me that it was the one month anniversary of the fire. My dear neighbor Ms. Jan, who has been like a second mother to me during this mess, had graciously offered to host us at her house so it was kind of like ‘going back home’ for me, difficult but therapeutic.  I’ve had a hard time finding my words lately so I’ll sum up my thoughts about spending the day with Amy in an email I sent to her yesterday.

“I don’t even know what to say. I’m so blessed by you, by your heart, your sharing. It was our one month anniversary of the fire and so to be with you, back home, near it all, was kind of overwhelming. Johnny was so right, the healing comes with remembering, with going back. It will go down as one of my all time special days. I will remember it with the tragedy, which is so fitting, really. I know my friends loved you so. I don’t think any of them, save one, are from here but they have embraced us and our quirky ways and have learned to love our life here by the mountains. I’m so proud of them too, for learning to love us. I looked at the pictures and it’s funny, you and I both have the same blue eyes, almost exactly the same color. The color of healing and joy. I’m so proud of you for giving so much of yourself. For learning to live vulnerable, to give freely, to be willing to be hurt. You are so easy to love, like a sister——right there among us —-but teaching us to live our calling, to follow our dreams.
It was magical and enchanting, just like Bloodroot. You have a very special gift Ms. Amy and I am so blessed to know you.”

I can’t thank Amy enough for the gift of her presence and if you haven’t read her book, by all means, get that baby soon. It’s now available in paperback at Target!

********
My gifted poet friend Patty wrote a beautiful piece about our day together and a big thank you to my dear friend Sue, who loved the book, read it three times, and had wonderful questions ready!

I have the best friends ever.

I’m including Amy when I say that.  I love what she said to me,  ”Some people are just meant to know each other.  And I think we are. ”

Amen.

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tracey January 23, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I am loving this day for you! A breath of Gods fresh air for you and your friends! I love His divine appointments set well in advance of our knowing and understanding! Have a blessed day today. We continue to lift you and your family in our prayers! Thanks for sharing the book!

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2 Amy Avery January 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm

After reading Patty’s post yesterday, I went out with my daughter last night and purchased Bloodroot at the bookstore. I started reading it last night and couldn’t put it down. ALthough I did not grow here in East Tennesse, one of my dear friends from college did. She used to take me out to her family’s farm nestled in the mountains and we would spend the day with her “Pa” (grandfather) and Granny. This book is so authentic to what I experienced just getting to know my friends family. I love them dearly and am so delighted to be reading this book. It does grip you with a fierceness and keeps you turning those pages. Edie, I am so glad you were able to have this book club meeting at “home” with Amy Greene. You are both beautiful people and I am so happy for you to have been able to connect with her in such a profound way. I continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers for the journey of healing you are on.

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3 paige January 23, 2011 at 12:47 pm

what a beautiful tribute to amy greene & yes, i must read her book , indeed!!

i was talking about you last night to my family. one of my girls is reading c.s.lewis, again, which of course reminded me of you.
much love & prayers to you edie. you cross my mind & thoughts of you come into my heart daily. prayers for you continue. xo

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4 kendal January 23, 2011 at 12:49 pm

i read patty’s pieve yesterday. the book is in my queue! so glad you persevered and celebrated something normal like book club. blessings!

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5 kendal January 23, 2011 at 12:50 pm

that would be piece!

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6 Anonymous January 23, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Edie, it’s so good to see your smiling face here this morning. I’m so, so glad you had such a wonderful time with your friends and Amy. I have not read the book, but will do so as soon as I can get my hands on it. Hugs to you.

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7 ulli January 23, 2011 at 1:12 pm

I’m reading the book now, on your recommendation. It draws one in and doesn’t let go. Appalachia and her people have always been dear to my heart, and living in VA I can see the mountains a short distance’s drive from my house. It’s so good to see you blogging now and then, Edie. Keep your heart open to going back. Healing is taking place. Let it happen in its own time.
Blessings to you and yours…

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8 Anonymous January 23, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Edie, So glad you were able to have a *normal* outing. What precious friends you have! This author visit puts my little book club I use to have to shame. The most exciting visitor we ever had was one of the babies when there was no sitter!:) Look forward to reading this book. Sounds a lot like our NC mountains…..gotta love ‘em!!!

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9 Tara January 23, 2011 at 2:15 pm

it’ll be the next book that I read….
i grew in Clarkesville, Georgia…at the foot of the Appalachian Mtns….
so, i’m sure it’ll reach out and grab me and hold me forever.

praying for you always.
trusting that healing is happening.
no doubt, you’ll never,ever, ever be the same.

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10 Deb Martell January 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm

So, so glad to have found your blog. What a lovely group of women. Just got a sample of Bloodroot on my Kindle and can’t wait to take a look. I share in the journey through the tough stuff with you. The whys don’t always come, but His work is always done. Bless you this day :)

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11 patty January 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm

edie:
i thought the same thing when i just saw that photo of you two… but i thought, the same protective, haint blue eyes… :)
she was such a delight and totally felt like one of the girls. so inspiring for this old woman. :) you are just beautiful and i am so happy to feel the healing that is happening in you. and thank you so much for ‘introducing’ me to beautiful women like amy and meg and lindsey and … and … and …. and … and especially for getting to know sue better, as we share this common love and hurt and hope for you.
xoxo

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12 Ruth Emond January 23, 2011 at 3:32 pm

I’m from New England and we have our own quirky ways. I read the book after you first posted about it. I loved it. It was so hard to put down. I wish I could have been there with you for the book club and meeting Amy. What a special moment. It seems you are kindred spirits knit together. What a blessing.

Hugs,
Ruth

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13 Susan January 23, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I think it is so amazing how God puts certain people in our lives when we need them most. I am so sorry for your losses but so impressed with how you are handling it. Your blog has really helped me this month. My husband and I have been remodeling our house since May of last year and sometimes I get end of my rope because of the stress, sometimes arguing and oh my the mess. You have helped me gain so much perspective on what really is important and I know that this is a season of our lives and we should just sit back and take it in. One day we will have stories to tell and so will you. Your story is a sad one but I think the memories you gain from this rebuilding period will be more precious to you than what you have lost. When you first wrote and said how your sister put you in the car and you cried while she drove was so vivid to me because I could so envision my sister doing that for me. Sisters are priceless!You are one of the few people in this world blessed enough to know what you HAVE. Hugs and prayers to all of your family and praises for all of the people who have been there and helped you through this.

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14 Flower Patch Farmgirl January 23, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Well, you are the type of girl that when she says “Read this book”, I do not argue. I haven’t done it yet, but I will. Oh, will I. And might I add that you look positively gorgeous and joyful in these photos? And might I add that I thought of you about 500 times during church today? The question was, “Can you think of someone in your life who is demonstrating the fruits of the spirit in a supernatural way?” And I thought, “Yes I can. Her name is Edie.”

See you soon…

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15 Emily January 23, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Yes, I love that we are all talking about books! I love reading, and am missing my book club so much this year. I can’t wait to pick up this book, it WILL be added to my list. What is on your book club list this year, mine is posted on my blog…would love your feedback.
On another note, You look wonderful. I can’t believe how peaceful and pulled together you look in these pictures. I know you don’t know me, but I have been praying for you. Your love and trust in the Lord, your ability to pick up the pieces and keep moving, your beautiful smile in the midst of sadness, and your loving and gentle spirit have been a true testimony to all who have been privilaged to walk through this with you. I will keep praying for a peace which surpasses all understanding to guard your heart and mind as you press forward!
Emily

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16 Kerri January 23, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Edie,
I know you saw my post I wrote I about you on my blog a few weeks ago, but I have to reiterate. I truly believe God puts people in our lives for a reason. None of us can comprehend the loss you have endured, but from this loss, many of us in blogland have gained a special friend. I already have Mere Christianity on my reading list and now I will add this book too!

Thank you for inspiring me and for putting a smile on my face!

XO,
Kerri

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17 Lisa Taylor January 23, 2011 at 9:24 pm

I was so pleased today when I found a new post from you! I’ve been following your blog since last spring. I had been through some traumatic events in the previous year, and I can’t tell you how much seeing your smile and hearing about your life cheered me. I am so sorry for the pain & loss you’ve endured – and so glad that you and your family are still whole and together and moving forward!
Brightest Blessings to you and your family,
~Lisa

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18 Aimee January 23, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Edie,
I don’t think I’ve ever commented here, but I come here often because you are so inspirational. I just want to tell you today that you are an amazing woman and I am in awe of you. Your posts- even the ones that aren’t necessarily the serious ones– make me think a little deeper. Your words cause me to analyze my decisions about my children and what I want for them. I’ve always considered myself a good mother and wife, but you have made me want to be even better. Especially now. After your tragedy. Thank you for that. Know that I have prayed for you and have even found myself telling my aunt about you. I will continue to pray for you because I know you have a long road in front of you.

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19 Leslie@Farmfreshfun January 24, 2011 at 1:15 am

I love “hearing” your sweet voice again! The last post was magic. I’m so happy to learn that you are moving forward so very well. I will read this book. God is great. Thank YOU for keeping that FIRST ALWAYS!
Keeping you all in my prayers,
Leslie

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20 Wendi Gibson Richert January 24, 2011 at 2:45 am

I grew up in Norton, Virginia, practically a stone’s throw from the tri-cities, relatively speaking. Even though God’s stuck us up here in Connecticut for now, my heart will always be securely anchored in the mountains that raised me. I can’t wait to read this book! Thank you for sharing it with us. I have been keeping your family in my prayers every single day.

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21 Perfecting Pru January 24, 2011 at 8:53 am

I am so pleased that you went ahead with the book club. It looks like it was just what you needed – and after seeing the photo of the cake on Twitter I think it is certainly a corner turned.

I am so pleased also to see that you are looking so well. Your spirit throughout this last month astonishes me.

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22 nicole January 24, 2011 at 1:31 pm

edie, you are grace incarnate. i’m so glad you went ahead with book club, and even more glad you found amy. thanks for the book recommendation–i’m off to scour the web for bloodroot.

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23 Cyd January 24, 2011 at 2:02 pm

God carries us through the storms and provides us what we need…including new friends…

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24 SUMMER January 24, 2011 at 3:51 pm

MY DEAR EDIE , STILL HOLDING TRUE TO 1THESSELONIANS 5:17 …… PRAYERFULLY YOU ARE HOLDING ON TO THE HOPE FOUND IN THE BOOK OF HEBREWS CHAPTER 10 VS 23 …… BECAUSE OF THE GEOGRAPHICAL DISTANCE BETWEEN US AND THE COMBINED TOTAL OF ABOUT 20 INCHES OF SNOW OF OUR TOWNS , RIGHT NOW THE BEST GIFT I CAN OFFER YOU IS PRAYER ……. IF I WERE CLOSER I WOULD FOLLOW THE SCRIPTURE IN HEBREWS 13:2 AND SURPRISE YOU WITH COMFORTING POT OF SOUP ……BUT FOR NOW I WILL LEAVE YOU IN HIS ARMS ……ENJOY THIS DAY

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25 Courtney January 24, 2011 at 7:58 pm

I haven’t read this one, but am expanding my reading list as we speak, er, type. As I type this, I’m mentally adding it to my reading list! :) Your book club looks like one great group of friends, and it’s such a blessing to have that in your life–through good and bad. Praying for you, Edie, since I first heard about the fire. Praying…

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26 Dana @ CookingAtCafeD January 24, 2011 at 8:28 pm

You have the same eyes – that was my first thought when I looked at your photo and smiled.

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27 Andrea Z January 24, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Great! Thanks for the tip. I am going to read this book. You’re so fortunate to have the author nearby! How cool. She looks peaceful and so beautiful. I can hardly wait to pick up the book.

As for you Dear Edie, my heart pains for you. I have my own loss to deal with these days, so I feel a closeness to you that I normally would not have had neither of us had to face our losses. I’m grieving too. I do feel God is near me, altho it was difficult for a few months to feel Him near. I know my life is now in His hands. I feel the same for you. I think God fills our lives with His children so that we can feel Him near us, so that we can be carried when we really need it most. I have the dearest friends without whom I would not be able to face my days, which were so dark for so long. Today, 9 months into my loss which still contains an uncertain ending (altho it’s not looking good), I am finally seeing the sunshine in my life. I am finally waking up without dread. I am feeling a bit lighter in my heart. Sure there are things that are still very hard and difficult. Sure there will be more hard days ahead, especially if things don’t turn out how I hope they will, but just for today I am OK and … just for today I have what I need to get thru these 24 hours. I wish the same for you. I have no doubt you are being given this much and more. With love, andrea

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28 edie wadsworth January 29, 2011 at 1:13 pm

i don’t know if i wrote to you andrea or just dreamed i did?!
i read your story and prayed for you and your situation.
God loves you and will take care of you.
cling to Him.
much love and blessings,
edie

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29 Andrea Z January 24, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Great! Thanks for the tip. I am going to read this book. You’re so fortunate to have the author nearby! How cool. She looks peaceful and so beautiful. I can hardly wait to pick up the book.

As for you Dear Edie, my heart pains for you. I have my own loss to deal with these days, so I feel a closeness to you that I normally would not have had neither of us had to face our losses. I’m grieving too. I do feel God is near me, altho it was difficult for a few months to feel Him near. I know my life is now in His hands. I feel the same for you. I think God fills our lives with His children so that we can feel Him near us, so that we can be carried when we really need it most. I have the dearest friends without whom I would not be able to face my days, which were so dark for so long. Today, 9 months into my loss which still contains an uncertain ending (altho it’s not looking good), I am finally seeing the sunshine in my life. I am finally waking up without dread. I am feeling a bit lighter in my heart. Sure there are things that are still very hard and difficult. Sure there will be more hard days ahead, especially if things don’t turn out how I hope they will, but just for today I am OK and … just for today I have what I need to get thru these 24 hours. I wish the same for you. I have no doubt you are being given this much and more. With love, andrea

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30 Val January 24, 2011 at 11:17 pm

I believe she’s right. Some people are just meant to know each other.

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31 Richella January 25, 2011 at 4:01 am

My goodness–with the red hair and blue eyes, she looks just like my mental image of a girl from the Appalachians! You know–all that marvelous Scotch-Irish ancestry–there she is in the flesh!

I’m a native Tennessean, but I was born way at the other end of the state–in Memphis. And I was always jealous of the lucky people who lived in what I considered “the pretty part” of Tennessee. There’s just SOMETHING about those mountains. Do you remember, years ago, that highway signs said, “Welcome to the Three Great States of Tennessee”? It never seemed fair to me that I was in the flat one!

What a wonderful part of your healing! And there will be much more to come. It’s a pleasure to watch as God provides for you. Thank you for sharing your tender heart.

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32 The Crystal Crate January 25, 2011 at 6:22 am

Loving your blog! I just started my own blog with my fantastic crystal and shell bottle art. I’d love it if you could stop by, and if you like them, follow! :) Off to read more! xoxo, The Crystal Crate.

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33 FunkySteph January 25, 2011 at 8:20 am

Hello Edie,
I am happy to read that you had a great time and so happy to see a recent picture of you with your bright smile. I don’t know at all Amy Greene but will certainly google to learn more… Take care.

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34 Kim Setser January 25, 2011 at 12:11 pm

So glad (but jealous) that you got to meet Amy. I have promoted this book to friends and family since the day I laid eyes on an article in the local paper that a “local girl” would have a book coming out. I had no idea how it would touch me in a way that made me feel like I had been back home on the mountain. The language is so authentic, and the places are so real to me. Thanks for the post, and maybe I can crash your book club sometime :) (jealous again).

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35 edie wadsworth January 25, 2011 at 12:15 pm

dear sweet kim,
first of all, thank you so much for the dessert! it was unbelievable. so good to see you guys (in real life!) steve really enjoyed meeting jay. and you can crash our bookclub anytime. i think we’re meeting the 3rd week of feb at sandy kubis’ house (i’ll find out when for sure) and we’re reading The Great Gatsby. we’d love to have you kim. it was such a treat to meet amy. i wish i would have thought to tell you. you’d have loved her.
lots of love,
edie

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36 Sara Hill January 26, 2011 at 12:37 am

This is the sweetest post! I know Amy very well and I can promise you…that day meant SO MUCH to her! Thank you for being so lovely to my dear friend.

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37 Debcolarossi January 26, 2011 at 9:27 pm

This just makes me cry.
All of this community and hope and leaning on.
Thank you , and thank you to Patty for sharing this part of her life with me so I could lean in a bit too , for my own story, my own hope.

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38 Mary Kay January 31, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Well, I am SOLD! I am heading out today to buy a copy of Bloodroot at Target. My fingers are twitching for a new good read. Thank you!!

Thank you for your words. So many times I feel like they spell out my own feelings that I’ve tucked deep inside. Feelings I am afraid to let loose. Because if they come loose, what else will tumble out with them? And what to do with all of those tumbling raw emotions? I like to keep things tidy and in control. But, you know what? I admire vulnerable and real. Thank you for being an example of living life vulnerable and real. The way you pull it off looks so much better to me than tidy and in control.

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39 edie wadsworth February 1, 2011 at 12:39 pm

beautiful mary kay. thank you for being a blessing and encouragement. very vulnerable thing to do.
love to you,
edie
and yes, better get that book!

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40 Lottes31 February 5, 2011 at 12:07 pm

I just finished Bloodroot and it was an amazing book! It is our next bookclub book and I’m so excited to talk about it with my bookclub girls! I hate finishing books like this because I miss the characters when I go to bed. Thanks to Amy Greene for writing something with so much depth and beauty- thanks to you, Edie, for suggesting the book! Hope today finds you happy :)

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41 edie wadsworth February 5, 2011 at 12:19 pm

thank you . bless you.
don’t you just love it? i went to an appalachian literature conference to hear her read last night, it was awesome. silas house was also there with his newest book, elihu the good. can’t wait to read that one too.
xo,
edie

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42 Lottes31 February 5, 2011 at 12:14 pm

One more thing…I started with the book on CD because when I requested it from the library that is what they had available. The voice artists on the CD were amazing, particularly, Byrdie. I listened to the first quarter of the book in the car before I bought the book. My three year old daughter said “Mommy, I love that lady’s voice”.

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43 edie wadsworth February 7, 2011 at 11:42 am

I’ve heard that too although I wish Amy were reading one of them!
xo,
edie

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44 Terry A. February 6, 2011 at 2:52 am

I just finished Bloodroot. I have never been to Appalachia, but found the book riveting. It was wonderful. Thanks so much for the recommendation. Continued prayers for you and your family.

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45 Donnakw February 6, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Just found your blog and I love it. Tried your Chicken and Dumplings recipe. It is the bomb! Thanks.

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