Lee Smith is simply not only one of the most popular Appalachian authors, she is also one of the most loved. Her magnetic personality spills out all over every room she enters. Lee Smith was born and grew up in Grundy, Virginia, deep inn the coalfields. Her father owned and operated both the Piggly Wiggly Grocery Store and the Ben Franklin Five and Dime store there. Smith published her first book when she was a student at Hollins University, but didn't start writing about Appalachia until she was teaching junior high school in Nashville while her first husband was teaching poetry at Vanderbilt. In Black Mountain Breakdown, the protagonist, Crystal Spangler is expected by everyone to be the kind of girl who would leave her hometown of Black Rock - which looks a whole lot like Grundy. But she returns . . . One of the aspects of this novel I love the most is that Crystal's parents live in the same house, but they have essentially divided it and their lives in two. Her mother controls the kitchen which she seldom leaves, and her father controls the living room where he stays almost all the time. 15.00"Black Mountain Breakdown is like a country song. It is true and real; it is loving and sad." — Annie Dillard.