Katherine P. Manley tells her family’s story of poverty and survival in rural West Virginia.
AS A NINTH-GRADE STUDENT LIVING IN VERDUNVILLE, Katherine P. Manley had a distressing realization about her family. “At that moment, it hit me that, in life, everyone was an eight, a three, or a one based on the amount of money they received each month … We were less than ones.”
Don’t Tell’em You’re Cold: A Memoir of Poverty and Resilience tells the story of Manley’s early years in West Virginia, from scouting the local dump with her father at the age of 6 to becoming a grown woman with fingertips worn from her grapple for something beyond the poverty she always knew. Her story is real and unflinching, painting memories of a pink dancing dress that is never worn, a box of pencils sold on the sidewalk, and an old salvaged clock that becomes an anchor for hope. Manley asks readers where the line is between running away and running towards, and what it looks like to let yourself be still. Find the novel at mountainstatepress.org.