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Stay and Fight

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  294 ratings  ·  114 reviews
"Like Bastard Out of Carolina, ffitch's electrifying debut novel is a paean to independence and a protest against the materialism of our age." —O: The Oprah Magazine

"Delightfully raucous." —Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

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. Hel
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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3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  294 ratings  ·  114 reviews

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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
Tam_ the_ med_bookie
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
''I said, You can keep my comic books.
He said, I'll give you my force field.''
This literally made me happy and sad at the same time.

This is the slow kind of good read where even the different POVs work just fine.
This one has characters which you feel like you have known them as they are but you cannot reach them and not actually know what they are thinking.
The writing style is good. The characters are good weird to read about.
The events described in this one weirdly satisfying.
Three women raisin
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
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
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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--
'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
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
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
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019, lgbt
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
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.
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
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.
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-books, audio
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.
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
This is one of the best books I've ever read.
Miss Maureen
Jul 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
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 serve
Ray Sinclair
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
There are many layers in this wonderful saga of queer, feminist, off-the-grid life in Appalachia Ohio. Ffitch skillfully weaves together issues of poverty, environment, gender, non-traditional families, property, living close to the land, and a conflicted relationship with establishment systems of education, heath care, foster care and employment. This seems like a plate full of perspectives that is too big for this relatively quick read, but ffitch’s characters (three women in prominent roles, ...more
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Leaving is just leaving. Staying is the hard thing."

"We have to decide when to take action. Some people decide never to take action at all. Some people look back on a jumble of uncertain floundering and to cast the right frame around it so that they can remember doing the ring thing when it counted."

A few chapters into the story and I felt like the marketing for this book was a little off. I received an ARC at the beginning of the year and to that time, I was expecting something different. Neve
Susan Kaplan
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
Mary Ann
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Appalachia conjures up images in most people's minds, and Madeline Ffitch creates believable, rough, stubborn women in this novel Stay and Fight. First, it is not about a couple, for he quickly bails at the first moments of hardship, but instead the use of shifting POVs allow the reader to explore a trio of women who form a famiky or small community to raise a child. Some have mentioned the humor, and while there are some funny moments, it is a challenging book to read, partly because of the set ...more
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Sometimes I agonize over the number of stars I give a book. No agonizing here. I went straight for the full five. Stay and Fight may be listed as fiction but it is TRUE fiction. When you read this book, if you take to it (or it takes to you), pack a bag and head for Southeast Ohio for a visit from which you may never leave. Madeline ffitch’s writing seems effortless, as though it just came naturally. I am, sincerely, hoping for a sequel. Soon.
For sure my favorite novel of 2019. Each main character felt like a real person I loved and was frustrated by.

Perley's narration honors so much of what is surreal and mysterious about childhood - the way that the external world's inputs are gathered and refracted and rearranged.

ffitch built a story that could stand up to the political weight of the material she's working with, and l am in awe.
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Thank you to FSG and Goodreads for this giveaway. I really enjoyed this story. Madeline Ffitch put the most unlikely characters together and they formed a family. While this clan was messy in it's evolution it was good. They loved each other despite their imperfections. You will fall in love with the charaters. This is a classic story of an American family braving the unknown and living through it. Bravo!
Emily Strand
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
This will probably be one of my favorite voices from this year’s reads. I think it’s difficult to multiple POV well but Ffitch cracked it. 4 stars because I have some thoughts on the structure and pacing last quarter of the book. Overall excellent read if you’re looking for something completely atmospheric and character driven. Thanks for the recco Justine!
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.
Not my cup of tea. Even if I loved the style of writing and the author can surely write I couldn't connect to the characters and the book fell flat.
Not my cup of tea.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant prose that hooks you, plus a plot about the ethics of raising kids outside the culture. What else could you want?
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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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