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Stay and Fight

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  966 ratings  ·  225 reviews
This hilarious, truth-telling debut upends notions of family, protest, and Appalachia, and forces us to reimagine an America we think we know

Helen arrives in Appalachian Ohio full of love and eager to carry out her boyfriend’s ideas for living off the land. Too soon, with winter coming, her boyfriend calls it quits. Helped by Rudy, her government-questioning,
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  966 ratings  ·  225 reviews

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Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christine by: BookBub recommendations
Well, this is different. Quirky, with a capital “Q”. And I liked it. Stay and Fight is about a makeshift family in Appalachian Ohio that gets together basically in order to help each other out. Two lesbians and their infant son have to leave their cabin in The Women’s Land Trust because of the sex of their baby. They come together with Helen, a woman stuck on a piece of rural land, dumped by her boyfriend. They build a house the best they can and for the most part live off the land with a clan ...more
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
Things I learned from Stay and Fight:
- people are mean
- people are even meaner to you if you're different
- and even more so if you're also poor or any kind of minority
- but it's still alright to be different

Stay and Fight was gritty, sometimes brutal and cynnical, real and rough, but it was also a gem, a pure wonder. It's told in a very honest and very raw way - you can basically feel, smell and see it all, because it's so colorful and full of energy.

And so I loved this book with incredible
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kfa, into-the-woods
Stay and Fight is one of those odd books that make themselves so very difficult to review, by way of being incredibly good and incredibly hard to pin down to why.

It's not going to be for everyone - the book kicks off with the story of a man who almost let his p*nis rot off one winter rather than see a doctor, and that's most likely the best way to let readers sort out for themselves whether they'd like to read this book or not. But it's really a book about three women who learn who they are and
I’m a huge fan of character driven novels, especially ones in which characters narrate their turn of events. In this incredibly quirky novel, “Stay and Fight” author and Appalachia environmental activist, Madeline Ffitch, provides the reader with the ugly downside of the gas pipeline projects. But it’s more than that; it’s also a story of survivalist sorts trying to live peacefully, outside social norms, in untraditional ways. This way of life becomes a problem for society’s do-gooders who want ...more
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to goodreads and the publisher for the free copy! This is the story of a woman who moves to Appalachia with her boyfriend to live off the land (his idea). He quickly bails out at the first sign of difficulty. She stays and barely survives the first winter. Needing reinforcements, she invites a lesbian couple who need a new place to live. The have a new baby boy making them ineligible to stay on Woman's Trust land any longer. They mix with a hillbilly anti-authoritarian who usually has ...more
Queer family (dyke couple + son + nonrelated "Mean Aunt") in rural Appalachia living a hard glowing life on the land that gets disrupted the minute their son interfaces with "Outside" via school; as the pipeline cutting across their acreage portends doom. Lots of grit and animal guts in this tale of tough love and chosen family (plus snakes) -- Zazen crossed with Mostly Dead Things with the bite of Dorothy Allison. I read this in two days, fell right in.
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

3.75 but rounding up.

Let me begin by saying I don't think the blurb was accurate. NOT at all "hilarious." Certainly some humor, but... Definitely a novel about family and independent spirit. Also described as a protest novel--again, not a conventional protest per se, but an alternate lifestyle--way out of the mainstream.

Populated by strong, stubborn women--not necessarily likeable. Told in the voices of the main
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
I found the writing style and the character development really good. The plot was somehow okayish. It's the contrasting characters that made me read it till the end. The boy is my favourite character. And this is the only character that kept me going. The lgbt issue was handled well. The creepiness level is medium I would like to say though it wasn't meant to be something creepy. The characters will stay with me. And there's a huge twist that awaits you towards the later half.

I loved reading
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt, read-2019
4.5 rounded up. I was actually really startled by how much I ended up enjoying this book. The writing was crisp and clean yet evocative. The shifting first-person POV really worked for me and I absolutely loved the way the differing personalities were revealed through the eyes of others. I even found the child narrator charming and hilarious, and I usually find child narrators deeply annoying. (Yes, even in Room! That's how good this was.) The one thing that kept coming up again and again is ...more
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
'Hilarious, truth-telling?' The most hilarious thing about this book is Goodreads’ description of it: ‘A rightful heir to great American novels from A Confederacy of Dunces to The Grapes of Wrath to LaRose'. Ha, not even close. That’s not to say I didn’t (eventually) get caught up in this unconventional, off-the-grid family saga. But a couple of situations such as the one the social worker walked into on a welfare check were so ridiculous they undermined any chance I had of seeing this as the ...more
Sep 08, 2019 marked it as i-gave-up  ·  review of another edition
After 75 pages I still couldn't engage with the characters or the story -- really didn't care to find out what might happen so sadly have to give up on this one.
Elizabeth Jackson
Was this book amazing or insane? I still have no idea but I couldn’t put it down and I am still thinking about it. 1 Star for gross snakes and the vague quick wrap up at the end and for characters who just wont get off their asses not to be stupid. 5 stars for writing and telling a fascinating story I haven’t read before in quite this was and for being unputdownable.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I dunno what to say about this, but it was lovely and featured a non-heteronornative family unit and I liked that. Also, the little kid's POV was amazing
Grace (9racereads)
Feb 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: gifted
Let me start by saying that while I enjoyed this book overall (and more on that in a minute), it isn’t exactly how it was first marketed to me. The pitch claims it is a humorous book, and sure, there are humorous moments, but I really wouldn’t suggest this one to a reader looking for something funny. The story also claims to be about Helen and her boyfriend leaving her, but it is much more than that, and I think that the reader should go into it thinking little of the boyfriend, because ...more
Debi Hawkes
"One winter, Rudy got an infection in his testicles while he lay out drunk on coal company land in a one-room shack that didn’t belong to him."

Intriguing, quirky beginning.

I love "quirky", this style continued throughout the book, from the character descriptions/actions, the lifestyle, and the plot.

So I should be a happy camper, right? Hmmm... a bit disappointed actually. Solid 3 star read for me, but it could have been more, almost felt unfinished with a slapped on wrap up.

I received an ARC
James (JD) Dittes
How did Farrar, Straus and Giroux miss the obvious title for this book--Snakes in a Shack!--and settle for the anodyne, Stay and Fight?

I can't blame Madeline Ffitch for this oversight, because she does her job brilliantly: unveiling one of America's most misunderstood cultures (Appalachian hillbillies), creating characters that readers will root for, and illustrating the lush, tangled landscape of southeastern Ohio.

Helen, a transplant from Washington State, moves to a 20-acre plot for love (of a
Rachel Watkins
Who decides what makes a family? STAY AND FIGHT is a weird and wonderful story of living off the grid, communal living and the enormity of being a parent. ffitch's debut deeply connects to our planet's impending environmental crisis without preaching. The characters dig in when they believe they're right, and their tenacity (and sometimes obvious impending train wrecks) is terribly entertaining.
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stay and fight. Exactly what happens. This was everything I thought it would be going in. I love southern grit and this was gritty. Life in the Appalachian mountains. An odd family living off the grid. Quirky characters, survivalist, snakes and outsiders interfering. A story of a family. Excellent southern grit debut. I enjoyed it.

Novels N Latte Book Club
Hudson Valley NY
One of the best books I've read in a long time, and definitely the best book I read this year. It woke my brain up after months and months of exhaustion from writing, and from reading a bunch of things I wasn't that crazy about. Funny, tough, detailed, muddy, wild, emotionally satisfying. AND THE LANGUAGE! I'm in love with this book.
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
drawn in deep by wilderness, queer family, and a commitment that is a kind of rebellion, ongoing & evolving. is this what a political love letter looks like? all my dreams were filled with black snakes.
Easton Smith
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wild, beautiful, and at times frustrating ride with a band of lonely people trying to make a meaningful life in the woods. For all of the idealism captured in this book it always felt remarkably real. For all of its rough edges it was gentle. For all the big ideas, subtle. Can’t wait to read more from Ffitch.
Jan Boyd
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So good!! I can’t wait to see more from Madeline ffitch!
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, adult-books
The characters in this book! I got sucked into their crazy lives and I couldn’t stop. This one will stay with me for awhile.
Carol Ann
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's been a long time since a book has pulled me in so completely and made me feel things so intensely. Come for the Appalachian homesteading, stay for the characters, and keep coming back because your heart has planted asparagus here.

Ffitch is one of those rare authors who can bring flawed, absurd, and ultimately realistic characters to the page and then illuminate them in affectionate and loving light. Reading this book I can imagine for a moment meeting all the annoyingly dysfunctional humans
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant prose that hooks you, plus a plot about the ethics of raising kids outside the culture. What else could you want?
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a remarkable book, one that I would most likely have set aside for its strangeness, but I was so captivated by the characters and how their lives evolved, moving back and forth in an unusual dance, that I could not put it down.

Although I am rarely at a loss for words, I am now. The book is indescribable and must be experienced by the reader. I’ll just say when you have a survivalist young woman who invites a lesbian couple, one very pregnant, onto her virtually uninhabitable land, a half
Susanne Gulde
This book sat on our library's new shelf for two months with not one circulation so I wanted to see what it was about.
Very well written, a good story and crazy characters. I mean all the characters are unusual and I went between loving them and wondering how they could be so clueless. I went between admiring the life they were living and being aghast at how they were living. I think they will all stay with me for quite some time.
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This is one of the best books I've ever read.
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strange book with a motley cast of unlikable characters that was strangely compelling
Miss Maureen
Jul 21, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm 4 pages into the story and the words " he said, she said, he asked, she asked " have probably been written in 48 times. So aggravating to have a writer repeat this over and over, like the reader is so ignorant & has no idea someone is asking or talking.
A female couple and a single straight woman, Helen, become friends. 1of the women in the couple, Lilly, has a baby boy. They decide to live on the single woman's land & build a house together. It's not a very good house, but it
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Madeline ffitch writes and organizes in Appalachian Ohio. She was a founding member of the punk theater company, The Missoula Oblongata, and is the author of the story collection, Valparaiso, Round the Horn. Madeline has been awarded residencies at Yaddo and at the MacDowell Colony. She is the author of Stay and Fight from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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