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Publisher's Summary

In her first work of nonfiction, Lee Smith deploys the wit, wisdom, and graceful prose for which she is beloved to conjure her early days in the small coal town of Grundy, Virginia - and beyond.

For the inimitable Lee Smith, place is paramount. For 45 years, her fiction has lived and breathed with the rhythms and people of the Appalachian South. But never before has she written her own story. Set deep in the rugged Appalachian Mountains, the Grundy of Lee Smith's youth was a place of coal miners, mountain music, and her daddy's dimestore. It was in that dimestore - listening to customers and inventing life histories for the store's dolls - that she began to learn the craft of storytelling. Even though she adored Grundy, Smith's formal education and travels took her far from Virginia, though her Appalachian upbringing never left her.

Dimestore's 15 essays are crushingly honest, always wise, and superbly entertaining. Smith has created both a moving, personal portrait and a broader meditation on embracing one's heritage. Hers is an inspiring story of the birth of a writer and a poignant look at a way of life that has all but vanished.

©2016 Lee Smith (P)2016 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"As [narrator Linda] Stephens shares Smith's collection of essays, which explore the indelible influence that the Appalachian region had on her imagination and creative life, listeners will begin to believe she IS the author. Bringing to life a forgotten world of local dime stores and a distinctive region with its own passions and eccentricities, Stephens casts a spell and breathes insight into Smith's candid observations..." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story

Pronunciation matters!

I wish I had read this book in form rather than listening on Audible. The way the reader pronounces 'Appalachia' ruined it for me. It is clear the reader is not from the area she reads about...but this should have been caught by the author and editors. It is a sign of respect to pronounce a word as local tradition pronounces it. If you are from Southern Appalachia you will know what I mean. Pronunciation matters...ask Sharyn McCrumb who explains it well.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
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After hearing Appalachia pronounced .............

What made the experience of listening to Dimestore the most enjoyable?

...with a long A's four times consecutively I decided it was ignorance and not simple mispronunciation.Honestly Audible - this may be your single biggest production screw up ever. Do you have anybody editing ? Did Lee Smith hear this mistake before it was released ?

What did you like best about this story?

Lee Smith's writing.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Little respect for the material - see above.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but I can't now.Probably will return it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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A disappointment

What would have made Dimestore better?

I don't really know. I am a huge fan of Lee Smith's books and I expected this book to be fascinating. I'm three-quarters of the way through it and I'm still waiting for it to get interesting.

What was most disappointing about Lee Smith’s story?

I wish I had chosen to read, rather than listen to this book. For the life of me, I don't know why they didn't get a southerner to narrate it. The accent is wrong, the intonations, the phrasing, it just doesn't sound like it should.

Would you be willing to try another one of Linda Stephens’s performances?

I have listened to other books narrated by Ms. Stephens and they were fine. She was not the right person for this book, however. It should have been performed by a southerner. The whole gestalt is wrong. It is almost painful to listen to. I really wish I had listened to the sample first.

Any additional comments?

Please, southern narrators for southern books. That goes for any book that has a definite identity with a country or area of a country, not just the south.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Great Memoir, Disappointing Narrator

Any additional comments?

This was a really lovely memoir, but I so, so wish that it had been read by Lee Smith herself. This narrator does not capture the warm southern accent that Smith has, and instead it feels forced and unappealing. Also, it grated on my every nerve that she pronounced Appalachian "appa-lay-shun." It seems like a huge oversight that the narrator of an Appalachian memoir wouldn't pronounce it "appa-latch-un," as is fairly universally considered the correct pronunciation, not to mention how Smith herself pronounces it. I'd say read this one but skip the audiobook!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Enjoyed

Loved it but wish reader had been Lee or a Southerner to be more realistic.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Debbie
  • Spring Branch, TX, United States
  • 03-30-16

Much loved by a long time reader

I didn't realize this wasn't another novel when I saw it pop up. What a pleasant surprise to hear the life story of one of my favorite authors. Hearing about the places and experiences that inspired her wonderful books was a treat. I laughed and cried all weekend listening.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Pronunce the names like the locals do.

What would have made Dimestore better?

A reader from the region, or at least the South.

Has Dimestore turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, couldn't stand to finish listening because of the way the narrator butchered the pronunciation of Appalachia.

What didn’t you like about Linda Stephens’s performance?

Her clear lack of connection to the material, as evidenced by her mispronunciation of Appalachian names & localities.

Any additional comments?

When a book's place & setting are this crucial to the content and meaning of the book, get a narrator who is from the area.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wandering

Did not enjoy- too random and stream of conscience rambly. Hard to follow thought process. Story has good potential but the telling is a big snoozer.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Interesting autobiography

Terrible narrator. Cannot even pronounce Appalachia correctly. Bad singing voice.
Story was good. Worth listening.

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Sourthern Story Read by Northener

Where does Dimestore rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

near the top, as a book

What was one of the most memorable moments of Dimestore?

Chapter about son's illness and death

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

yes

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

not necessarily

Any additional comments?

Lee Smith's story is that of a Southern Mountain girl. It should NEVER have been performed by someone with a Northern accent. Worst of all, she pronounced the key word "Appalachian" the way nobody in the mountains EVER does. She said "Appa lay chian" at least 200 times, which totally wrecks the mood and gist of the story. The reader gave it her all, but she continually spoke in the wrong voice for this book. I'm sure Lee Smith would be shocked to hear her personal story told in this voice. I was.

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