"I've often read books about people who grew up in the country, and have been amazed to find that they all seemed to have been great philosophers. They saw, and felt, a great deal more than I had time to see or think or feel. They seem to have responded poetically to clouds floating in a blue sky, and rhapsodized on the music of summer rain. I often wonder if they had to go two miles in musical summer rain to milk, and to carry the full pail carefully home without getting rain mixed with it, and then walk three miles through stiff clinging mud, to school. I know that often in the heat of noonday, leaning on a hoe, looking across valleys at the mountains, so blue, so close, my only conscious thought was, 'How can I ever get away from here?'" Thus begins Belinda Jelliffe's semi-autobiographical novel For Dear Life, first published in 1936. The republication of this novel reintroduces readers to a strong southern writer, an interesting female voice, and a compelling story.
This realistic portrayal of life among the rural poor of the early twentieth century shows the struggle of a tough-minded woman who fought her entire life to overcome the obstacles that confronted women and the working poor. Presented here with two previously unpublished short stories, For Dear Life, edited by Virginia Pruitt and Howard Faulkner, will appeal to those interested in women's studies, social history, and American studies, as well as to anyone who enjoys quality fiction.