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Gap Creek

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  31,784 ratings  ·  1,146 reviews
Young Julie Harmon works "hard as a man," they say, so hard that at times she's not sure she can stop. People depend on her to slaughter the hogs and nurse the dying. People are weak, and there is so much to do. At just seventeen she marries and moves down into the valley of Gap Creek, where perhaps life will be better.

But Julie and Hank's new life in the valley, in the la...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 2nd 2000 by Touchstone (first published 1999)
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Oprah's Book Club Picks
32nd out of 74 books — 1,151 voters
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Best Books Set in Appalachia
6th out of 336 books — 516 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Suzanna
Aug 05, 2008 Suzanna rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Brigitte
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book. I selected it to read because my public library's website said that if you liked "These is My Words", you would like this one. However, between requesting it from there and starting it, I read some Goodreads reviews and thought, ugh, I picked a bummer. Not so! In that light, I want to address some of the negatives I read on this site from other readers.

This book is, indeed, written by a man. And it is told from a young woman's perspective. But I found the author to be extremel...more
Agape
Robert Morgan's "Gap Creek" is written in a simple manner, easy to read, but raw. If you think your life is rough, read this book. The primary root of trouble in this story is the land of Gap Creek itself. In fact, the earth itself is so extraordinarily pervasive and alive, that Morgan almost allows it to become its own rich, cumbersome but generous character. In this story, the land of Gap Creek rears itself up and fights against the main characters Julie, Hank and the other mountain people on...more
Camden
This book alone managed convince me to ignore Oprah's Book Club. The situation was interesting enough but I decided that Robert Morgan should not try to write from a woman's perspective. In my opinion he got it all wrong. Not worth recommending and i can't figure out why so many people loved it.
Jenn
I thought this one started strong but ended weak. The subtitle is "The Story of a Marriage," but I don't find that accurate, since the story doesn't follow the marriage through--we only get a glimpse at the very beginnings of a marriage. I expected, based on the title, to get the whole story, and I feel a bit jipped. Also, the further along I got, the more I skimmed because I started getting bored. Overall, though, I enjoyed the story, and I think MOrgan accurately portrays the Appalachian lifes...more
Heather
Dec 19, 2008 Heather rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys early 1900's fiction
Gap Creek takes you back in time to Julie Harmon's life at the turn of the century. She grew up helping her father and mother run their house and farm. Julie watches her brother and then her father die, and is the one the family depends on to care for these two as they are ill. Events take a quick turn after these deaths when Julie meets Hank Richards, and marries at the young age of 17. Robert Morgan takes you through the day to day struggles of life and ends the tale emotionally with yet anoth...more
Alisa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lynne Spreen
“The hardest work I did on Gap Creek was trying to get the voice right,” says Robert Morgan, who has been called the poet laureate of Appalachia. The voice, as it happens, is of seventeen-year-old Julie Harmon. At seventeen, she’s a good girl, and strong, working as hard as a man alongside her father in this gritty, realistic portrayal of life in late-nineteenth-century North Carolina.

Morgan starts us off with the depiction of a horrifying illness in the very first chapter. When her younger bro...more
Christine
This book was not so bad but it wasn't as intriguing to me as the other books I read. I don't like to read about any sort of books containing rural background.
I really enjoyed how Julie, the main character just gets things done whether she wants to or not. I, on the other hand, cannot be like her because at home when I'm assigned to do chores, I do them when I'm done with my homework or if I really don't like doing it, I don't get it done at all.
Julie is a hard working woman who, had seen her...more
Beth
Jan 24, 2008 Beth rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Beth by: Oprah's Book Club
I went to Oprah's book club to find some new reads and happened on Morgan. I was attracted to this because it takes place in the Appalachians.

His writing is very poetical and descriptive, with an almost musical lilt to some of his writing. Add to that the country way of speaking that lends a charm of it's own.

"The ground was deep in fresh-fell leaves, and leaves sparkled like they was waxed and oiled. I kicked up a cloud of leaves. I kicked up a fog of new-fell leaves. I kicked away the leaves...more
Anna
Aug 26, 2014 Anna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Jeanette
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shelley
I picked this up and it immediately caught my attention. I read a little bit at night before bed over a couple of nights and then took it to work today where I sat and finished it in a couple of hours. I know a lot of people did not like the way it was written but I had no problem overlooking the "ignorant" speech of the characters. They were what they were. The other complaint that some of my friends had was that the title would seem to indicate it covered the whole marriage or at least a good...more
Heather
Julie Harmon is an inspiring, likable character who keeps going even while enduring one tragedy after another. Morgan has said that he struggled to find her voice, but I think it's clear that he did find it because she is realistic and memorable. Morgan's writing is beautiful and at times poetic, which is not surprising given his background as a poet. The scene with Julie, her father, and brother in the woods at night is amazingly well done, especially Julie's realization that the natural world...more
Tricia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Suzie
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Jordan
I picked this book up from the second-hand bookstore near where I work on a particularly rainy and grey Sunday. Since I haven't been reading like I used to, I wanted something easy to get me back in the groove, and this book, and the snippet of review from the NYT on the cover, caught my eye.

It's interesting enough, and the first 50 pages or so drew me in like crazy (hint: gruesome death), but as I neared the end, I realized that there wasn't really ever going to be any story or any real resolu...more
Book Him Danno
I loved this book, the imagery was amazing. The newlyweds and their progression through life working a farm under the watchful eye of the owner who is elderly. The flood was frightening and saving the animals was so important and yet they lost so much. The relationships between the characters was good, the old man was interesting and his death made me cry. Julie worked like a dog, even being pregnant. They learned and lived and loved and then lost so much that they needed to start over. This is...more
Sally906
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisalu
Alright I know this book has been out for years, but I just got around to reading it. I was looking for something to occupy some time over winter break and this seemed to meet my requirement--just about 300 pages. More than that and I admit it, I get distracted! Happy with my choice. This was one of those books where I found myself sneaking away from other things I needed to do, to go back and read more. I guess I found out that I enjoy this type of historical fiction more than I realized. It ma...more
Asheley
This short excerpt is taken from my full review on Into the Hall of Books. Read more here: http://www.intothehallofbooks.com/201...


There are no words that I can use to adequately describe to anyone how much I truly love this book. It's not only the story itself, nor just the author, but the time and the place. Robert Morgan is from the area that he has written about in this story and it is obvious in reading his work; there is an ease with his setting and a comfort as well. He has written an hon...more
Leslie
I had read this once before, but when it showed up in the astonishing stack of books my aunt sent me recently I thought it was time for another visit with the Richards family down in the valley. The theme I liked the most in this books is that it doesn't seem to be a good idea for mountain folk to leave the mountains; that's just asking for trouble.

And trouble is just what Julie and Hank get when they move down on Gap Creek so Hank can go to work at a job nearby. Julie, newly married with the se...more
Lisa
I really enjoyed this book and the main character, Julie. She is amazing! I can understand why some people thought this book was depressing---she goes through so much hardship. Personally, I was inspired. It helped me appreciate my modern conveniences and ease of life.
I was especially impressed with Julie's strength---both physical and mental---and wisdom for her age. She was very insightful in knowing how to maintain peace in her home despite troubles. What acceptance, too! I felt humbled in r...more
Jennifer
Set in South Carolina (roughly) near the end of the 1800's, this is the story of Julie, narrated by Julie. By the time she is 16 or 17, she has seen a lot of suffering and worked very hard. She falls in love with Hank, and they get married. They are both very young, and the first year of their marriage is difficult. The book is really about the marriage, as seen through Julie's eyes.

There were times (when Hank gets angry and smacks her) when I was really frustrated and wanted her to just leave...more
Michele Chapman
This is an Oprah's Book Club selection by a prize winning author, which usually equates to the Midas Touch of Literature. However, it didn't ring true for me. Perhaps it was because it was a man writing a female character. It reminded me a great deal of someone writing about the sea who had never seen it or smelled it or touched it. The main character, Julie, came across as an abstract, conceptual woman rather than a real one.

There were whole passages in the book I started to skim because they...more
Donna BookWorm
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jalena
I loved, loved, loved this book. One of my favorite characters in a long time. Desperately sad, it tells the story of a young girl in appalachia after the civil war. Much of her story is unbelivably tragic - hunger, death, and unending struggle. Yet, the writing is so clean, beautiful and rich that the story sings, and is surprisingly uplifting. The central character Julie Harmon is a simple woman - uneducated, unquestioning. She is the person that her entire family leans on to run the farm when...more
Jen
Best description of a first kiss ever! And oh my goodness the birth of her child I will never forget. Such depth and beauty in this book. It also teaches a woman to be strong. Many favorite lines but the best two are: 1. "Worry never let anyone live a second longer." -Hank 2. Everything I'd done was free. the sweat was free as water from the spring, as air in sunlight. But the greatest free gift was time that kept comin' day after day. It seemed that time couldn't go on after the death of little...more
Kathleen Brunnett
I enjoyed the setting of Appalachia in the late 19th century and the hardships associated with it. Unfortunately, the story lines did not capture me and I found myself skimming paragraphs just too full of heavy description that could have been said in much less. Can't wait to hear what my book club gals think of it.
Kathryn Yaste
I hated this book for so many reasons! Here are the top five.

1. I don't buy Robert Morgan writing as a female. It just doesn't wash.

2. The sex scenes are beyond unbelievable - they read like some weird hill-billy acid trip synthesia. It's very distracting.

3. I don't buy that such a strong female character would tolerate such an abusive, whiny husband. My tough ol' granny would have shot him and thrown his ass in the creek.

4. On a related note, I hated Hank and was waiting for him to die. I was d...more
Havebooks Willread
Gap Creek was an interesting depiction of marriage, mostly from the viewpoint of the woman (intriguing as the author is a man). It is set in the Appalachian mountains and features the hardest-working woman I could ever imagine. I have never lived a life which required such hard work or encountered such hardships. I think Morgan captured the setting wonderfully and his use of dialect had the characters' voices speaking directly in my ear.

"It seemed I didn't have control over nothing in the world...more
Lynne
This is a story of a newly married couple who set out to make a home for themselves in the mountains of Appalachia. After reading this book I don't think I can ever complain again about having too much work to do. What the young woman of the story had to do daily just to survive, put me in my place.
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What were your thoughts? 29 161 Aug 09, 2014 07:57AM  
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Robert Morgan was raised on his family's farm in the North Carolina mountains. The author of eleven books of poetry and eight books of fiction, including the bestselling novel Gap Creek, he now lives in Ithaca, New York, where he teaches at Cornell University.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
More about Robert Morgan...
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