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Vermillion Road Press presents - Threadbare, by Darlene Underdahl

Threadbare is currently available in Kindle ebook format

“If Dad finds out about this, he’ll go crazy. If he goes crazy, he’ll end up in the nuthouse and we’ll all starve to death.” That was how Selma forced the cooperation of her youngest daughter, called Diana in the book. They were folks who didn’t fear the law; they feared confinement in a state asylum. “I’ll get you sent to the nuthouse” was a greater threat than “I’ll kill you.” Diana’s best friend’s mother had been sent there (the Kirkbride Asylums) for shock treatments to cure what we now call Post-Partum Depression.

Diana had two sisters who never gained strength. One died at over a year, and the other lived to almost seven. Unrelated adults came to the home to speak with the seven-year-old and enjoy her wisdom. It was thought she had Werdnig Hoffmann Syndrome (AKA Spinal Muscular Atrophy or SMA).

Selma, Diana’s mother, was an old-fashioned misfit like her own mother. When she tried to force those values on her creative daughter, the results were predictably explosive. Selma retaliated by excusing, and even encouraging, violence toward her daughter from a much larger brother.

But Diana rarely wasted time with self-pity. Although she was groped by a stranger her mother let into the house, and a drunken uncle, she never felt molested. Although her skull was broken by her brother, she never felt like a victim. Although she accidently saw her father slaughter her pet calf, she never hated her father. There was too much fun to be had playing with cats, dogs, calves, and a neighborhood girl who possessed everything her heart desired (Diana was very poor). She even liked school.

There is violence in this book. It was a poor farm, and dogs that should never have been born suffered the most. There was the shocking drowning of a child. The oldest brother died in a reservoir built on pastureland by a neighbor. To the local boys and their parents, it appeared as a shallow pond, but there was a deep well in the middle. Nowadays we'd call it an "attractive nuisance."

There was old Grandma the murderess. Grandma certainly killed “Little Sister” and probably two other babies later. Grandma had seven girls in a row (six in the book), and needed boys to work the farm since Grandpa was a drunk.

There is a religious con man and explicit animal sex.

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