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She Come by It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs
She Come by It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs | Sarah Smarsh
The National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author of Heartland focuses her laser-sharp insights on a working-class icon and one of the most unifying figures in American culture: Dolly Parton. Growing up amid Kansas wheat fields and airplane factories, Sarah Smarsh witnessed firsthand the particular vulnerabilities--and strengths--of women in working poverty. Meanwhile, country songs by female artists played in the background, telling powerful stories about life, men, hard times, and surviving. In her family, she writes, "country music was foremost a language among women. It's how we talked to each other in a place where feelings aren't discussed." And no one provided that language better than Dolly Parton. Smarsh challenged a typically male vision of the rural working class with her first book, Heartland, starring the bold, hard-luck women who raised her. Now, in She Come By It Natural, originally published in a four-part series for The Journal of Roots Music, No Depression, Smarsh explores the overlooked contributions to social progress by such women--including those averse to the term "feminism"--as exemplified by Dolly Parton's life and art. Far beyond the recently resurrected "Jolene" or quintessential "9 to 5," Parton's songs for decades have validated women who go unheard: the poor woman, the pregnant teenager, the struggling mother disparaged as "trailer trash." Parton's broader career--from singing on the front porch of her family's cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains to achieving stardom in Nashville and Hollywood, from "girl singer" managed by powerful men to leader of a self-made business and philanthropy empire--offers a springboard to examining the intersections of gender, class, and culture. Infused with Smarsh's trademark insight, intelligence, and humanity, She Come By It Natural is a sympathetic tribute to the icon Dolly Parton and--call it whatever you like--the organic feminism she embodies.
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Nessavamusic
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Pickpick

This was a published version of a series of essays. I love learning more about Dolly Parton who is one of my heroes. The writing was ok, and I wish I hadn‘t listened to it on audiobook as the author did the narration. Some good insights, but a bit repetitive due to the patching together of various essays. 3.5⭐️ a square for my #bookspinbingo

BookwormM Gotta love Dolly 4w
49 likes1 stack add1 comment
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quietjenn
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Man, vacation week went by way too fast! And the airport book selections have not been the greatest this trip. Good thing you can always rely on Dolly.

55 likes3 stack adds
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keepingupwiththepenguins
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Pickpick

I would take a bullet for Dolly Parton. She Come By It Natural isn‘t a biography or a memoir, but a testament to the cultural significance of an icon. Plus, it‘s full of the kind of fun facts I love to lob at my friends and family without warning (did you know Dolly has donated over 133 million books to children through her Imagination Library?). Full review: https://keepingupwiththepenguins.com/new-releases/

SamAnne I‘ve been perusing Dolly Parton, Songteller this week-end and enjoying he photos and snippets. 5mo
BookwormM Dolly is a great human being I wish more people were like her 5mo
53 likes2 comments
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Amie
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Pickpick

I was surprised by how much I loved this book. Now I want to read Dolly's autobiography. She's amazing. I'm also moving Smarsh's Heartland up on my TBR list.

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TiminCalifornia
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Pickpick

Money doesn‘t have to corrupt. Honestly I rarely read about the personal lives of celebrities because so often they are disappointing as people. Dolly Parton is the exact opposite of that. Hearing about her professional life, what she‘s done for her community in East Tennessee, and listening to Smarsh‘s insightful interpretations of how Parton‘s songs and persona are an homage to poor women‘s lives and contributions left me with a joyful hope.

Scochrane26 She‘s awesome 6mo
TiminCalifornia @Scochrane26 Truly. This made me want to go back and listen to her whole catalog of music. 6mo
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TheKidUpstairs
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Pickpick

An excellent read. I went in expecting a biography of Dolly Parton, and I got even more. Dolly, yes, but also a deeper understanding of a kind of working woman's feminism, and some delightful views into Smarsh herself, all woven together to make a whole much richer than the sum of its parts.

I also learned that DOLLY PARTON WAS AN EXECUTIVE PRODUCER ON BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER!!! 🤯🤯🤯🤯 Amazing.

That-Bookish-Hiker She was?!!! 🤯 7mo
Sharpeipup What an interesting fact! 7mo
See All 10 Comments
Chrissyreadit That is an interesting fact- It makes me want to like her even more ❤️ 7mo
Cinfhen That‘s so cool and kind of makes TOTAL SENSE!! I‘ll definitely be borrowing this one soon 🙌🏻 7mo
Tera66 Dolly is Queen! 7mo
TheKidUpstairs @Tera66 100% Every thing I learn about her makes me love her even more. Intense talent, whip smart, knows her worth, and kindness beyond measure. We could all learn from her. 7mo
TheKidUpstairs @Cinfhen it really does! I was surprised to learn it just because I was a huge Buffy fan and never knew, but at the same time I wasn't too shocked because it just made sense. 7mo
TheKidUpstairs @Chrissyreadit every thing I learn about her makes me like her more! 7mo
Nute I just keep falling more and more under the spell of her AWESOMENESS!!!🤩 6mo
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TheKidUpstairs
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"Sometimes a woman who knows her worth ought to lean in. But sometimes she ought to just leave."

Ruthiella True that! 7mo
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Leftcoastzen
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Another treat for mom! Hoping I can borrow it once she‘s done.

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GinaKButler
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Cracking open this little book about Dolly! 🪕 🎶
#bookspinbingo

GinaKButler Probably an unpopular opinion, but I had to DNF this book after Part Two. It reads like a Women‘s Studies term paper...the author never interviewed Dolly, only uses snippets of past books and interviews to jam her political opinions down the reader‘s throat. What a disappointment. 9mo
GinaKButler @TheAromaofBooks Can I cross a DNF off for #bookspinbingo or do I have to suffer through to the end? 🤞🏼 9mo
TheAromaofBooks DNFs 100% count!! The goal is to get books off the TBR & sometimes that happens by realizing that a book just isn't for you, so it works for me!! 9mo
GinaKButler @TheAromaofBooks Woo-hoo! Dropping this in a Little Free Library today! 9mo
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Kaarin
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Reading about Dolly and how she followed her gut regarding so many business decisions. Dollywood was one of her best financial bets. It also brought jobs to East Tennessee - the economic impact to the area is $1.5 billion annually.

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suffisaunce
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Thus far excellent.

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Mitch
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So please to see the tagged book on the list - yeah for the love of Dolly! ♥️

https://www.bookcritics.org/2021/01/24/announcing-the-finalists-for-the-2020-nbc...

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Lindy
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Pickpick

Like the author, I grew up listening to country music and have long been a fan of Dolly Parton. I had expected a straightforward biography of Parton and was pleasantly surprised by this personal memoir blended with a tribute to Parton. Smarsh also gives her perspective on why Parton would have distanced herself from the term feminist, all while acting as feminist as can be. #Audiobook narrated by the author, who flags occasionally in delivery.

ravenlee And happy birthday to Dolly today! 10mo
Lindy @ravenlee Yes! She‘s 75 today. 🥳 10mo
44 likes2 comments
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Lindy
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Maybe it‘s no coincidence that Parton‘s popularity seemed to surge the same year America seemed to falter. A fractured thing craves wholeness, and that‘s what Dolly Parton offers—one woman who simultaneously embodies past and present, rich and poor, feminine and masculine, Jezebel and Holy Mother, the journey of getting out and the sweet return to home.
(Internet photo)

batsy Wasn't aware of this book. Sounds fascinating. 10mo
Lindy @batsy It was originally published as a 4-part series for the Journal of Roots Music. 10mo
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CarolineNotCoraline
Pickpick

Yes! Feminism is feminism no matter what you wanna call it. Thanks Dolly!

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Mitch
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Loved the tagged and it really got into reading more about Dolly - there‘s soo much out there and this article is a good starting place. 👏🏼👏🏼

https://www.bookforum.com/print/2704/the-enduring-songcraft-of-dolly-parton-2426...

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Bookwormjillk
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On the sixth day of Christmas...
I loved this short book about Dolly Parton and what her music means to people.
#12Booksof2020
Thanks for hosting this @Andrew65 I‘ve added so many books to my TBR for 2021!

Mitch I loved this too. I‘ve just gone back to her first book 🤞🏼 11mo
keepingupwiththepenguins Oh, I want to read this so much!!! 11mo
Andrew65 Sounds good. 11mo
Bookwormjillk @Mitch me too. Waiting for it from the library. 11mo
57 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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britt_brooke
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A journalistic look into Parton‘s life and career while paralleling the lives of women in Smarsh‘s rural Kansas family. Dolly has long lived a feminist life; always going her own way, staying true to herself and her east Tennessee roots. Proving her worth, singing about difficult topics, dressing how she pleases, and keeping her chin up. This isn‘t just about Dolly, but about all women. Smarsh is thoughtful in her analyses. Loved it!

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Mitch
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#Novemberwrapup
A selection of this months reading. An unintentional theme of journeys has emerged - from Dolly‘s Appalachian roots, to the Scottish islands for self recovery, from post war London full of tensions and angst to Canadian edgelands in search of that elusive species. And final a family‘s journey to the past and back for reckoning, justice and peace. I‘ve enjoyed my non fiction month - but craving story now!

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Bookwormjillk
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Pickpick

Dolly is a boss. They tried to turn her into a boob joke, but the joke is on them. #NonFictionNovember

BookwormM Dolly is my hero 12mo
Bookwormjillk @BookwormM she‘s awesome 12mo
48 likes1 stack add2 comments
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theladygreer
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An easy-ish read about the awesomeness that is Dolly. Definitely made me want to read her autobiography for more depth, but the stories Smarsh chooses to tell, and the sociological context she provides, are great.

26 likes2 stack adds
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Mitch
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Pickpick

It's a powerful story of the language of the working class & how Parton has used that to reframe the public vision of the rural poor & do so with broad, proud shoulders. Smarsh weaves in stories from her own family (her gran is the same age as Dolly) reminding readers that there are a myriad of ways to be a woman of strength & vision, of charity & power. The book is a series of magazine articles stitched together & that might be its only failing.

AmberWB I just bought this as part of my mom‘s Christmas present- glad to hear it is good! 13mo
Mitch @AmberWB it was really good! 13mo
Clwojick stacking! 13mo
71 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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MaggieCarr
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Mehso-so

Not what I thought it would be. Read it anyway, but expected more current content even though its clear in the forward that the publication is based on a previously published series of works. Most of the things mention, followers of Dolly will already know and will seem repetitive, as this book is a well assembled project from bios, articles & interviews throughout a lifetime.

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Christine
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Pickpick

Just what I needed this week. Dolly Parton as an uplifting, empowering, philanthropic icon for humans of all kinds who embodies feminism (even if she doesn‘t identify with it on a semantic level)? Whose life story is a case study demonstrating what could unite rather than divide us? A very perfect read for me in this moment.

Nute I‘m crazy for Dolly Parton! Stacking!💜 13mo
56 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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underground_bks
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Pickpick

If you could use a pick-me-up, this petite collection of essays about Dolly Parton is as pleasing and mood-elevating a read as it is insightful cultural criticism. If you listened to the 2019 podcast Dolly Parton‘s America, you probably won‘t be surprised by anything in this book but you‘ll be sure to enjoy it. 🌞

29 likes2 stack adds
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Megabooks
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Pickpick

Dolly is inextricably bound to my time in East Tennessee. She has been a force in the performance & songwriting industries and has done great philanthropy in & provided jobs in East TN.

Smarsh‘s book is best when she‘s discussing Dolly‘s career and impact on and ties to white working class women. Her occasional attempt to bring women of color into the discussion were clunky at best. Perhaps she should leave that to own voices writing about Dolly.

Bookwormjillk I absolutely can‘t wait to read this! 13mo
Megabooks Speaking of own voices, Black sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom is writing and reading about Dolly now. https://tressiemcphd.medium.com/whats-the-greatest-story-dolly-parton-ever-wrote... 13mo
106 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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Wife
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Pickpick

I listened to this in anticipation of Dolly‘s new book tagged below. It examines the hurdles Dolly has faced in her career, and how she stayed true to herself. A kind soul and philanthropist in addition to being a creative genius. The 2019 podcast, Dolly Parton‘s America hosted by Jad Abumrad is also a must listen. 3/5🪕s

Crazeedi I love Dolly 13mo
Bookwormjillk I‘m really looking forward to this one, and will definitely listen to that podcast! 13mo
SamAnne Thanks for the reminder. It has been on my list to listen to. I‘ve been watching the Netflix documentary on her life. 13mo
47 likes4 comments
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Mitch
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The first on my stack for #nfn2020.

Megabooks I have that one too! 13mo
Clwojick 😍 😍 13mo
kyraleseberg 😍 13mo
70 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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Lauren.Archer
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Pickpick
Megabooks I have it coming soon!! 14mo
69 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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CuriousG
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Finished my dog walk and getting ready to settle into a sauna session with my newest find. Who wouldn't want to read all about the amazing Dolly Parton?!

BookwormM Interested to see what you think about it 14mo
18 likes1 stack add1 comment
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WanderingBookaneer
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Any other Dolly Parton fans out there?

Wife I can‘t wait! Have you listened to The Dolly Parton‘s America Podcast? You‘ll love it. 🌹 (edited) 2y
BookwormM Love Dolly 💕💕 2y
EadieB How could you not love Dolly? 2y
79 likes5 stack adds3 comments