Woods is a family name that the author, Janisse Ray, has given to a most unusual family to protect their real identity because this novel aims to tell their story as truthfully as possible, with a minimum of the license that fiction provides. Fannin County, Georgia, which adjoins both Tennessee and North Carolina, is a real county where the story took place. In 1945 the eight children of the family that Janisse Ray calls the Woods family had lost its mother and father. The children, ranging in age from three months to ten years old, were taken by their grandfather via mule wagon from Morganton, Georgia, up to a crude cabin in Fannin County. Then he left. They stayed there for four years, mostly tending for themselves as best they could. The author, Janisse Ray, is known for her memoir, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood (1999) that the New York Times called “heartfelt and refreshing.” She lives on an organic farm near Savannah, Georgia.
Reidsville, Georgia: self-published, 2022. 209 pages. Trade paperback.