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This splendid book displays the fabric of a wonderful creative collaboration. Bettye Kimbrell told Joyce Cauthen her life story, and Joyce shaped it for us in book form but still told in Bettyes own voice. Bettyes story provides a broad portrait of life in rural West Alabama. The characters flashing by make for a variegated kaleidoscope: self-destructive and damaging folly and irresponsibility mix unpredictably with creative resourcefulness in making do and generosity toward kin and neighbors. The net result is often painful, often inspiring, but always true to life as Bettye Kimbrell sees it. In the second half of the book a new story line gradually emerges. Bettye had learned quilting from her stern grandmother, who raised her when her parents could not or would not. That skill was set aside for many years while she struggled to survive and raise a family in the midst of every imaginable adversity. Then quilting sprang up again in the later decades of Bettyes life, providing the creative lodestar by which she reinvented her life. If quiet suffering while managing lifes vicissitudes dominates her early decades, quiet achievement, growing self-confidence, and public acclaim come to dominate the later decades. As her life shaped her art, simultaneously her art reshaped her life. Alan Jabbour, Former Director (Retired), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, Washington DC; author (with Karen Singer Jabbour) of Decoration Day in the Mountains: Traditions of Cemetery Decoration in the Southern Appalachians