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Stay and Fight

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,589 ratings  ·  300 reviews
Helen arrives in Appalachian Ohio full of love and her boyfriend’s ideas for living off the land. Too soon, with winter coming, he calls it quits. Helped by Rudy—her government-questioning, wisdom-spouting, seasonal-affective-disordered boss—and a neighbor couple, Helen makes it to spring. Those neighbors, Karen and Lily, are awaiting the arrival of their first child, a bo ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Kate The neighbors, Karen and Lily, are in a same-sex relationship.

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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  1,589 ratings  ·  300 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 o ...more
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 fero
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Lucy Dacus
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Incredible book. Made me think about the meaning of freedom, and the functionality of idealism, especially when it comes to raising kids. Read if you're interested in rural life, poverty, lesbian motherhood, child development, living off the land, and chosen families. ...more
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
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  ·  review of another edition
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 che ...more
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Kate Savage
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are literal Easter eggs in this book so the characters-in-the-know can sneakily protect each other.

There are also figurative Easter eggs (here's how you destroy an oil excavator in case of, you know, zombies, wink-wink).

And now that I've finished, the entire book feels like an Easter egg. A secret, bitter-burnt love letter to those who love the green and mulchy earth. An egg for hatching snakes. A Best Practices Manual for quietly escaping the world's cruel and relentless Best Practices,
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 tha ...more
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 characters--
Erin Glover
This is a story about how society, through the government and institutions, condemns the attempt of five people to live off the grid in Appalachia. The characters include a lesbian couple, their son, a recently-dumped straight woman, and an alcoholic loner of a man who suffers from seasonal affective disorder. All they want to do is be left alone on their 20 acres of land in West Virginia, living in the house the women built, even though it is filled with black snakes, and eat the food they coll ...more
'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
Elizabeth Jackson
Jul 26, 2019 rated it liked it
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.
This book was excellent, and unlike anything I've read. Great characters, strong writing, and a story that I was thinking about constantly (still am). Also, the title makes a good mantra. ;) Never did I imagine myself googling black rat snakes, and I very much fear the popup ads I'll be subjected to, but I don't regret a thing. SUPERB. ...more
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This following THERE THERE makes me think that I have hit the shelter in place reading jackpot!

Stay and Fight by Madeline Ffitch is an astonishing book that opens a view of possibilities of a different lifestyle that is not easily accepted in 2020.. that of living off of the grid, of total self-sustainability. Of differences in family composition, who is defined as a family member and who is supposed to be a family member and of course how a community views the members of a "family." The book presents a challenging view of
Sep 08, 2019 marked it as i-gave-up
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. ...more
Grace (9racereads)
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 honestly ...more
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 th
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Debi Hawkes
Apr 04, 2019 rated it liked it
"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 fr
James (JD) Dittes
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Carol Ann
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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. ...more
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish the world was full of novels about queer feminist anarchists in Appalachian Ohio.
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-books, ebooks
This book pulled me out of my coronavirus induced reading slump. I was hooked from the first sentence after putting two other books down, and then I devoured this story in one weekend. Loved all the characters and the plot. Also, living off the grid sounds pretty good right about now...
Jan Boyd
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
So good!! I can’t wait to see more from Madeline ffitch!
Easton Smith
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
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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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“And so the talk turned to the many disappointments and hardships of the lives we were living, and how once you got rid of one thing, another thing was sure to turn up, and how this succession of pests, irritations, and unfairness would surely last until we were too weary to move, and so lay down on the lush water-laden land, lay down to rest, just to rest, lay down and died.” 0 likes
“The sun was coming out, and steam rose up off every jutting muddy piece of the land, which sparkled in a great show of democracy. A discarded truck bumper shone just like the sandstone, just like a scrap of metallic insulation and the white of yarrow flowers and the flash of blue jays’ wings, a coil of chicken wire, an old license plate half entombed in mud.” 0 likes
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