The Last Ballad

The Last Ballad

A Novel

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
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Ella May Wiggins, a young mother desperately trying to hold her family together with the paltry nine dollars a week she earns from the textile mill two miles away, makes up her mind to join the labor union--a decision that will have lasting consequences for her children, her friends, her town, and all that she loves. Intertwining myriad voice, Cash brings to life the heartbreak and bravery of the now forgotten struggle of the labor movement in early twentieth-century America--and pays tribute to the thousands of heroic women and men who risked their lives to win basic rights for all workers"-- Adapted from publisher information.
Publisher: New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2017
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062313119
0062313118
Branch Call Number: Fiction Cas
Characteristics: 378 pages ; 24 cm

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CMLibrary_akeller Jan 16, 2018

I became interested in reading this book when I heard Wiley Cash speaking at Verse and Vino 2017. The way he described the book made me want to read it. It's set partly in Bessemer City and Gastonia and surrounding areas, which made me happy because I live around these parts. But although I live around here, I knew nothing about the mill strike and Ella May. For the most part, I enjoyed this book, but I really wanted more from Ella May's perspective. I don't mind reading books with multiple POVs, but most of the book were other people's POVs rather than hers.
The storytelling was beautiful and sad. Ella May was such a strong woman who had to make a difficult decision about joining the union. The stories of people like her are often overlooked, so stories like these are important

r
Reads_A_Lot
Jan 03, 2018

Interesting historical fiction about the attempt to unionize the textile mills in 1929 North Carolina. Centered around mill worker Ella May Wiggins who lives in poverty with her four children and joins the union movement in hopes of a better life. The book jacket states it was inspired by actual events, but I didn't know that Ella May was based on a real person until I read the Afterward at the end of the book. A good story but it was put together in a confusing way with too many POVs (8, one of which went by 2 different character names). This is the 2nd book I've read recently with this scenario - If The Creek Don't Rise had 10 POVs. Really hoping this isn't a new trend with current writers as I am not a fan of this style.

p
PearlyBaker
Nov 20, 2017

Mayhap it's just me, hell it usually is. My mind is elsewhere these days. I have a Client I work with who has the schizophrenia and he always asks me if it's the end of the world soon? Depending on life circumstances I want to say, "No I have 50 more good years left in me," or "If only" or "It sure as Fuck feels like it sister." My mind is constantly drifting and dreaming these days, to fear, unimaginable sorrow, take your breath away panic, rage or blank numbness. I sometimes get off the phone with a friend and the only thing I can think of are Jerry Garcia lyrics like, "His friends were getting most concerned," or Robert Zimmerman's, "Yes I received your letter yesterday, about the time the doorknob broke. You asked how I was doing, man is that some kind of joke." I thought I knew what desolation row was back in the 80's and most definitely in the 90's. Back then my life was akin to Jenny's in Forest Gump sans the stripping and unfortunately no Black Panther Parties. So maybe this was good or maybe I was just expecting to be blown away like a Land More Kind Than Home, but it came off somewhat trite and maybe sounding like he was trying too hard. I often wonder if these guys actually have these books in them or if they write out of contractual mandate. I do suspect that it has more to do with the material and writing in this case than my state of well being. Much like my second baby mama this piece just seemed to be missing a soul. Unlike her there is no threat of having your own soul taken by making eye contact with this book, which is nice.

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