Appalachia Thankful November

Thankful November – The Doll Maker

Collage of 2021 photos

Today’s Thankful November giveaway is a used copy of “The Doll Maker” written by Harriet Simpson Arnow.

The book tells the heart breaking story of a family who leaves Appalachia for employment up north. It’s a really good book, one minute it’ll make you cry and the next it’ll make you so mad you can barely stand it!

A few years back I did a series of posts about the book. Follow the links below for a peek into the story.

To be entered in the giveaway leave a comment on this post. *Giveaway ends November 14, 2021.


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  • Reply
    Marilyn Reed
    November 14, 2021 at 10:22 am

    I believe I read this great book several years ago (checked out from the library). I would love to own it, read it again, and pass it on to friends.

  • Reply
    Karen Lenard
    November 12, 2021 at 7:53 pm

    I’d love a copy of this book. I loved the movie, but would love to read the book.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 3:52 pm

    I would love to read The Dollmaker. From the blurbs I’ve read about this book, a common theme is how Appalachian mountain people were sometimes forced to leave their mountain homes they dearly loved and move to other areas often due to economic hardship. After years of genealogy research into my own family roots, I can certainly attest this theme also ran through my ancestors’ lives as well.

    My ancestors made their way to America in the early 1700s from mainly Scotland/Ireland. They settled first in Virginia. The branch that were my direct kin moved to North Carolina. Later during a very tumultuous time my family made their way to Texas and left part of the family there.

    With our ancestors moving to other areas, they carried the culture, folkways, speech and traditions with them. I feel terribly drawn to the Appalachian mountains. Can it be in the blood? Can it be in the DNA? I don’t know, but ever since I was just a little girl, I have felt the call of these mountains. Since I started reading your blog more than 5 or 6 year ago, this feeling or longing to go home has grown. I sorta understand why now. I can so identify with you and the Appalachian people. It just feels like visiting with folks from home even though I’ve never physically lived there.

    My people were story tellers. They told us stories handed down from their parents and grandparents of life way back in the day. I pass them on to my children and grandchildren. a few weeks ago I heard my youngest son relating a story his grandpa told him as a child to his son. I just smiled and thought to myself, that’s how oral family history is kept and passed on.

    Thanks Tipper for all you do to pass on the Appalachian ways. It really hits home for a lot of us.

  • Reply
    Angelyn McLain
    November 11, 2021 at 7:44 am

    I have not read this one yet but I would love too. I am totally emersed in The Tall Woman. It is wonderful! I know I will miss it when I am done.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2021 at 7:21 am

    Today is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps.
    Happy birthday Marines! Semper Fi

  • Reply
    Barbara Parker
    November 10, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    Tipper, maybe you could read the Doll Maker as your next book? I sure would like to win the drawing for the Doll Maker. Cross your fingers!!!

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    I remember some of my uncles and a few neighbors going North for work. One uncle even worked in Canada for a while. A neighbor worked in an auto factory for a couple of years but missed home and family so much he moved back.

  • Reply
    Kat Swanson
    November 10, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    I’d love to read this book! I remember seeing the movie and hearing that the movie changed the ending from the books ending ….if I win this book , I can find out if that is true!!

  • Reply
    William Dotson
    November 10, 2021 at 4:47 pm

    I would love to read it also then pass it around for others to enjoy.

  • Reply
    Matt Laminack
    November 10, 2021 at 4:41 pm

    I enjoy yours and the girls posts. One of the highlights of each day for me. Thank you all for that.

  • Reply
    Kate Hoskins
    November 10, 2021 at 4:27 pm

    Though I am grateful for my Midwest roots, there is something about Appalachia that draws one to the way of living, the beauty, the people. I enjoyed The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes and loved Christy. Thank you for sharing this book title and for the sweet idea of a giveaway.

  • Reply
    Cathy Sparks
    November 10, 2021 at 4:04 pm

    So many had to come north to try to find work. My dad was one of those people. I’d love to read the book and wonder is the movie by the same name?

    • Reply
      November 10, 2021 at 6:33 pm

      Cathy-the movie is by the same name 🙂

      • Reply
        November 10, 2021 at 7:38 pm

        Sounds like one we need you to read!

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 3:54 pm

    I haven’t read the book or seen the movie. From the comments I see that it is about leaving Appalachia to seek a better paying job and a better life. My dad did that in 1911. He was living and working in Copper Hill while still in his teens after having spent 12 years in the Baptist Orphanage in Thomasville. He was born in Swain County and was working in Copper Hill because his oldest brother was there when he left the orphanage. His mother had prevailed on him to work near his big brother so he wouldn’t stray.

    After a year of working in Copper Hill, he gained journeyman status as a printer. He had worked as a printer since age 12; so becoming a journeyman was not all that quick. He heard that the Government Printing Office in DC was hiring printers at what seemed irresistible wages; so he left intending to go there. But first, he stopped off in Raleigh to visit another older brother for a spell. He got a good job and forgot about DC, Thank God!

    He never returned to the mountains to live. One of his sons spent most of his working life in Chattanooga and Johnson City, but none of the other 8 went West. Most of us stayed in Raleigh. I left there at age 50 and now live in central Texas but miss the mountains as if I’d been born there and spent my life there.

  • Reply
    Janette Auditor
    November 10, 2021 at 3:16 pm

    Oh, I would LOVE to read ‘The Dollmaker’ !!

  • Reply
    Colleen Holmes
    November 10, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    I never heard of this book before but would love to read. Made egg custard today. Have a good day.

  • Reply
    Brenda Melahn
    November 10, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    GREAT book — I’ve read the book and I saw the movie on TV years ago. Reminded me of my parents’ story when they left the mountains in Southeastern Kentucky and moved to Franklin, Indiana — then to Newport, KY where they stayed.

  • Reply
    Kathryn Barragan
    November 10, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    Sounds like a book I would thoroughly enjoy.
    Thanks for offering it as a prize giveaway.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 1:14 pm

    I had not heard of this book or movie before. One branch of my family first settled in what is now West Va. from them some went to Penn., then to Iowa, on to Nebraska, then to Kansas. They left portions of the family in each locale along the way until one set of my Great Granparents followed by my grandparents moved to far south Texas ( and we don’t consider San Antonio south! 😉 ). That being said, I’m always amazed at the similarities in attitudes and ways of living I have with you and so many of your readers. I enjoy history and folklore as it often explains how attitudes, and cultural habits have developed over time. That’s why, even if I don’t win the drawing, I plan to search for a good used copy of The Dollmaker – maybe I’ll luck out and find a copy in which someone has left notes or comments about what they think of the book, any memories it stirred up, and how it made them feel.

  • Reply
    Jenny Young
    November 10, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    I think I want to read this? It sounds heart wrenching but I do love stories about Appalachia.

  • Reply
    Carol J Godwin
    November 10, 2021 at 11:31 am

    Thanks for bringing me Appalachian reading. Please, enter me for the giveaway.

  • Reply
    Patricia A Small
    November 10, 2021 at 10:41 am

    Sounds like another good read…I love a good book!

  • Reply
    Sharon Cole
    November 10, 2021 at 10:40 am

    I am surely thankful I found you and your sweet family. Checking today to see if my library has this book. Take care and God bless!

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 10:27 am

    I look forward to reading your posts. I wish I had of known about your blog years ago. It’s been years since I saw the movie. I’d like to see it again. I didn’t even know there was a book, but I’d love to read it.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 10:26 am

    Those are the best kind, the that keep you clinch to the book and can not out it down. Like you said , mad one minute and don’t know what’s going to happen next. I would love to read this book. I know I couldn’t put it down.

  • Reply
    Deborah Roy
    November 10, 2021 at 10:16 am

    I would to read The Dollmaker.
    And thank you, Tipper, for helping keep the voices of Appalachia alive.

  • Reply
    Nancy Boswell
    November 10, 2021 at 9:57 am

    I love all the books you offer. Thank you, Tipper.

  • Reply
    Terry Stites
    November 10, 2021 at 9:53 am

    I would love to be able to read this book. The movie was great, the book will be better! Thank you Tipper.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 9:50 am

    Maybe you can read this book to us next, Tipper. I’m sure enjoying Mountain Path!

    • Reply
      November 10, 2021 at 10:19 am

      Something too think about…another busy venture reading these stories of Appalachian mountains maybe you could get a grant from Appalshop

  • Reply
    Louise Doolitttle
    November 10, 2021 at 9:48 am

    My daughter and I have enjoyed getting to know about our family’s root. It is so amazing to us how many words and sayings we still use that have been past down through several generations. We feel like we have found a missing piece of our selves.

    I played one of your YouTube videos for my 89 year old mother. She had a huge smile on her face. I thought she was going to hug my phone. My grandmother sounded a lot like you. It brought back many happy memories for mother.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 9:41 am

    I read this book years ago, after seeing the made for TV movie by the same name. Both book and movie are so very beautiful, capturing the lives of these folks who gave up everything to try and make a living. My people in the Ozarks did the same. I remember as a child in the 1960’s going to visit my grandmas in Ripley Co. MO, and most of the younger folks had moved to St Louis, Kansas City or Memphis, looking for work. In my family it was St Louis and working Chevrolet or Ford. I encourage you to read the book and watch the movie if you can find it.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 9:41 am

    Awesome! Love the Dollmaker and would love a copy! Enjoy reading your emails everyday!

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 9:40 am

    I appreciate learning more about Appalachia from you – thank you for so winsome sharing with us through the posts and videos. I hope to read this book, too.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 9:34 am

    One of my top 5 books to read… over and over. The library gets tired of checking it out. Did a “book club” on this book a couple of years ago and was amazed at how the women of Kentucky around here couldn’t see beyond the words to the emotion of the story… and it’s the emotion that draws you into the story and unlocks the mystery that is Appalachia.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 9:32 am

    I recently finished reading The Dollmaker at your recommendation, Tipper. Arnow is such a beautiful writer. The book broke my heart.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 9:22 am

    This book sounds interesting. I’d love to read it.

  • Reply
    L Swafford
    November 10, 2021 at 9:22 am

    My dad’s side of the family left Clayton, Georgia for Washington DC around 1930 for work. They did pretty well for themselves. Both of my great aunts found good husbands and they also had good careers, a teacher and a secretary for the Secretary of Agriculture.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 8:41 am

    I can relate to the heartbreak of leaving Appalachia and heading north for work. I didn’t leave with my family, making the move even harder. Talk about a double dose of homesickness!

  • Reply
    Angela J Short
    November 10, 2021 at 8:31 am

    Thank you for letting me know about this book. It sounds very interesting. I’d love to read it one day!! Enjoy your day!

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    November 10, 2021 at 8:14 am

    Cleveland is a place that people went to from where I lived in WV. My sister and her husband lived there for a while in the late 60s and early 70s, but thankfully they soon came back after only being there for a few years. I’ve heard of but never read this book. I love reading and writing about Appalachia.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    November 10, 2021 at 7:54 am

    That story of the migration of Appalachian folks to the north for jobs affected so many families. My Dad worked 17 years off and on in a foundry in Covington, Ky. My uncles also left the hills, ending up in California, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana. They kept ties to ‘home’ but their children less so or not at all. I can’t say much. I differ only in having gone south. I’ve been gone now about 40 years. Remembering ‘home’ is still tangled up in my heartstrings but I don’t expect I’ll be going back except maybe for a three by six foot patch of ground.

  • Reply
    Betty C Ledwith
    November 10, 2021 at 7:49 am

    I have heard about this book. I am going to the library today to see if they have the book. I hope so for I can remember growing up and my mom telling me about this book. She stated a friend of her’s had the book and she borrowed it from her. Thank you for reminding me of this book that I heard of doing my childhood days. So what wonderful memories you made me thing of doing my earlier days in life.

  • Reply
    Patricia Godfrey
    November 10, 2021 at 7:47 am

    Thank you so much. I just discovered you, and your blog. My mother was from a town in east TN and she was very reticent to share anything about the culture and her past; now I get to finally learn about it – and everything I find is fascinating and delightful. Thank you again.

  • Reply
    Betty Jo Eason Benedict
    November 10, 2021 at 7:44 am

    I’m sure I saw the movie years ago. very touching……… Jane Fonda I think, but I’ve never read the book. Sometimes the book is so much better than the movie.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 7:43 am

    I read this book in my Appalachian Fiction class at Marshall University back in the early 1970’s. I highly recommend it.

    • Reply
      Pastor Lon
      November 10, 2021 at 8:51 am

      Thankful November, I like that it’s got the RIGHT ring to it for sure! I always enjoy all of your blog’s, we feel like we are a part of Appalachia even though we don’t physically live there. Thanks Ms. Tipper!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 10, 2021 at 7:29 am

    I like that you call it Thankful November!

  • Reply
    Larry Paul Eddings
    November 10, 2021 at 7:23 am

    Your daily blog has broadened my understanding and deepened my love for Appalachia, this grand region that we call home.

  • Reply
    Pat Poss
    November 10, 2021 at 7:20 am

    Love my Appalachia!

  • Reply
    Catherine Spence
    November 10, 2021 at 7:17 am

    I loaned my copy of this book to a friend several years ago. When she brought it back, she said, “I may forgive you for this book someday!”

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 7:15 am

    I can relate to this, and really need to some day read this story. So many of my extended family and close friends left their mountain homes to find jobs in cold and unwelcoming cities. Most seemed to have stayed in their new locations raising their children and retiring there. Some gradually drifted back and overall glad to be back to the welcoming mountains, friendly faces, and remnants of family. I still puzzle over the fact that I had one aunt and uncle who left to make their way in Florida while still quite young. Both were brought back at considerable expense and buried on a hillside in a popular cemetery. I have one uncle who never got over his homesickness, and we always communicated regularly. When he died this year his son fulfilled his wish to be buried in our remote family cemetery where he had buried his wife four years prior. Oddly, he had asked me to write an epitaph for his stone. He is now back in the mountains his heart never left.
    Retirement brought much of my family back. It can be a sad experience, because I know I adjusted more than I realized to an entirely different culture and landscape when I left for greener pastures for a few years. I would love to win the book, but if not I will check the library, Kindle, and Amazon. Maybe this book should be required reading in college in the states where so many young folks leave their home states.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 7:05 am

    This is one of my favorite movies!! It was a made for TV movie with Jane Fonda as Gertie. No need to enter me in the drawing for the book because I have a copy. The music in the movie is one of my favorite parts – very mournful singer and fiddle player. I believe the music in the move was The Iron Mountain String Band. I’ve looked for years to find their recordings – and especially recordings of songs they did in that movie – but I’ve never found it. They sing “I Am A Pilgrim” and some other old songs. If you know anything about them, I sure would be grateful if you would share what you know. Now….I may have to read The Dollmaker again right after I finish Grandma Gatewood’s Walk. 🙂

    • Reply
      November 10, 2021 at 7:55 am

      Michelle-I’ve never seen the movie but now you’ve got me wanting to hear the music 🙂

      • Reply
        November 11, 2021 at 6:27 am

        I found the full movie on YouTube if you want to see it. It’s not the best quality, but you can hear the opening song within the first couple of minutes. Here’s the link -

        • Reply
          November 11, 2021 at 6:40 am

          Michelle-thank you!

  • Reply
    Martha D Justice
    November 10, 2021 at 7:01 am

    This book sounds so interesting

  • Reply
    Greg Church
    November 10, 2021 at 7:01 am

    I wish I had found this blog years ago. I have so much catching up to do but I try not to mosh the opportunity when you give links in your latest.
    Two things I know from following today’s links: I need to read this book, if for nothing else than the painting of a rich portrait of life gone by from a skilled author and that boy in church saying “Youall pray for me” as he was taken out ( Children and Religion in Appalachia) has to be a relative of mine.

  • Reply
    Betty W. Blalock
    November 10, 2021 at 7:00 am

    There is a 1984 movie based on this book which was good but I am sure the book is much better.

  • Reply
    Rita Speers
    November 10, 2021 at 6:55 am

    I remember seeing The Dollmaker film on TV many years ago. It was heart-rending! A friend of mine watched it and she said that her family had also moved north to the same place for a while when she was a small child. She had no good memories of the place.

  • Reply
    Linda Daniel
    November 10, 2021 at 6:45 am

    I watched the movie many years ago. It was a true heartbreaker. I’ve heard you talk about this book . Looking forward daily to your blog.

  • Reply
    Sandra henderson
    November 10, 2021 at 6:34 am

    My boyfriend is from here, his parents took the “ woodpecker trail” to Michigan way back 60 + years ago to work at GM in Michigan. He so disliked it there and even ran away as a late teenager and hitch hiked back home to see his sick granny.
    That’s what immediately came to mind when I read your post about this book.
    I’d love to read it.

  • Reply
    Nancy Johnson
    November 10, 2021 at 6:17 am

    Thank you. I hope to read the book soon

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 6:09 am

    Sounds like an interesting read!

  • Reply
    Danilee Varner
    November 10, 2021 at 6:08 am

    I look forward to your daily posts.
    Enjoy the Christian and family content and the music!

    • Reply
      Deb Blackwood
      November 10, 2021 at 4:35 pm

      Love all things Appalachian.

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