She Come by It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs
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About the Author
Sarah Smarsh has covered socioeconomic class, politics, and public policy for the Guardian, VQR, NewYorker.com, Harpers.org, Texas Observer, and many others. She is currently a Joan Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. A former professor of nonfiction writing, she is a frequent speaker on economic inequality and related media narratives.
--Washington Post, 10 Books to Read in October "Passionate, smart, and earnest."
--AirMail "Sarah Smarsh expertly explores the overlooked social contributions of women . . . . [An] inspiring tribute to Dolly Parton herself."
--CNN.com "Smarsh explains that Parton's full legacy is much deeper and more rewarding than it might seem from casual listening."
--Kansas Pitch "Throughout the book, Parton and Smarsh are in unspoken dialogue with one another, sharing common language and struggle through the beauty of country music."
--Wilamette Week "She Come by It Natural will appeal to a wide range of readers who are curious about Parton. Smarsh finds a sweet spot between biography and memoir that lets her move nimbly between her personal affection for Parton's impact on women's lives and her journalistic analysis of Parton's artistry, business acumen, and iconic role in our quick-changing zeitgeist."
--Chapter 16 "[She Come By It Natural] includes sharp social commentary and well-placed personal anecdotes, [and] is at its heart a love letter both to Parton and to the women who continue to see themselves in her songs."
--ShelfAwareness "Smarsh seamlessly weaves her family's experiences with Parton's biography--triumphs and shortcomings alike--and cultural context. She Come by It Natural is, as a result, a relatable examination of one of country music's brightest stars and an inspiring tale of what women can learn from one another."
--BookPage "Smarsh and Parton are a perfect pairing for the kind of in-depth examination into gender and class and what it means to be a woman and a working class hero that feels particularly important right now."
--Refinery29, most anticipated "Affectionate and astute ... Smarsh's luminescent prose and briskly tempered storytelling make for an illuminating take on a one-of-a-kind artist."
--Publishers Weekly, starred review "A highly readable treat for music and feminist scholars as well as Parton's legion of fans."
--Kirkus Reviews "Readers get the impression that Smarsh read and listened to the artist's every word and watched every filmed second of her in order to recreate Parton here in fine, sparkling form. Smarsh's range as a storyteller (much like her subject's) makes this the best kind of American story, one of a person so extraordinarily vast that we find room for ourselves, too."
--Booklist "A warm-hearted journey into what Dolly means to generations of women who saw their lives reflected in her songs, who first embraced her not as a star but a sister."
--Elizabeth Catte, author of What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia