1. The Audrey of the title is the author Ruth White’s older sister. The book is told from her point-of-view when she was 11 years old in 1948.
2. The story takes place in a coal mining camp in Virginia. Audrey lives there with her parents and three sisters. Audrey had four sisters, but baby Betty Gail died when she was only seven months old.
3. There is no running water in their house. Oftentimes they don’t have enough to eat because their father spends his paycheck on alcohol. It’s not uncommon for him to be gone all weekend on a drinking binge.
4. From pg. 99: “I think of Daddy walking to work in the rain…Crawling around the dark with his carbide lantern strapped to his helmet. Digging coal out of the bitter black earth all day long…And this great rush of pity nearabout swallows me. Oh, Daddy, I’m so sorry you have to work in that place, in the dark, in the cold. I wisht I could go to you and hug your neck, and tell you how much I love you.”
5. When I finished this book, I put it down. I thought about it for a little bit. And then I cried for really a long time.