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Review: The Daughters of Erietown


Article by Mary Ellin Arch

Photography by Mitchell Kmetz on Unsplash

BOOK REVIEW: The Daughters of Erietown by Connie Schultz

I really liked this book, the first of 2021 for my fiction-loving book club. Having grown up in a blue-collar home not far from "Erietown," a fictional Ohio hamlet, and during a similar time period, I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting scenes from my growing-up years—dinner around a Formica table in a humble home, with a father working an hourly job at the local plant and homemaker mother who tended to the hearth and found ways to stretch the grocery dollar. (Though I will say, I don't recall us ever eating Spam, and certainly not as much as in this book!)

The story follows several women through several decades, and in a way it felt like a version of my own life, as I grew up in the midst of the "women's liberation" movement as did several of the daughters of Erietown. A subplot involving marital infidelity is introduced about a third of the way through, increasing tension as the main male character, Brick, finds himself torn between his family and his fling, who grows increasingly attached and thus frustrated when Brick's conscience gets the better of him and he breaks it off. Oh, but that's not the end of the story, of course, and while Brick's actions drive the main conflict, it's the women—the daughters of Erietown—who confront it and cope with it, infusing the storyline with humanity, courage and ultimately, personal growth.

Connie Schultz's story is well-written and engaging but a bit predictable; nevertheless, it kept my interest throughout. I recommend it, especially for anyone who didn't grow up blue collar and wants to know what that was like, as well as for people like me who just want a trip down "memory lane."

4 out of 5 stars.