Christy

by Catherine Marshall

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Christy Huddleston left home at 19 to teach school in the Smokey Mountains. There she came to know and love the wild mountain people with their fierce pride, their dark superstitions, their terrible poverty, their yearning for beauty and truth. Christy found her faith severely challenged in these primitive surroundings; and, confronted with two young men of unique strength and needs, she found her own growing yearnings challenged by love.

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(469 ratings; 4.2)

User reviews

LibraryThing member vintagebeckie
Confession time: I had never read the best-selling classic Christy by Catherine Marshall before I opened its pages last week. I know! I have been missing something very special for a very long time. This book made Christianity Today‘s most influential book list for a good reason. This 50 year-old classic tells the story of young Christy Huddleston, an earnest young woman who sets out to teach the children of Cutter Gap in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Idealistic and enthusiastic, Christy finds herself in a poverty-stricken area where superstitions run deep, literacy is rare, and disease often brings heartache to an already hard existence. And while Christy brings considerable energy and talent to the job, she ends up learning more than her pupils. The insights she gleans from her friends are ones that the reader can cherish as well. I loved, loved, loved this book! If you haven’t read it yet, you must! If its been awhile since you’ve visited the community of Cutter Gap, what are you waiting for? And if you are looking for a Christmas gift for that special someone (especially older teen girls), Christy is the perfect choice.

Christy is set in the backwoods of a time-gone-by Tennessee. Based on the real life adventures of Catherine Marshall’s mother, this book opens up a window on what mountain people had to combat in the early 1900s — an isolated area fraught with hygiene problems, ignorance, and suspicion of outside influences. The story is told in Christy Huddleston’s first person voice, giving fresh eyes to the world of Cutter Gap. I loved how Christy grew as a person as she came to love and minister to the children and women. Teacher was of great influence, yet Christy learned more from her interactions with mentor Miss Alice, friends Fairlight and Opal, and pupils like Little Burl, Ruby Mae, and Lundy. She learned to overlook the smells and dirt and the sometimes backward ways of men and women, as her view became colored by the love she grew to have for the people. The book itself is filled with flowing prose that captures the beauty of the mountains, the nobility (and meanness) of the people, and the work of God in nature and man. All the characters have a complexity that makes them so very real. And if you think that a book that was written 50 years ago about a place and time now remote to the modern reader, then you will be pleasantly surprised. Christy may tell of a time 100 years in the past, but has a relevance for 2017. God’s love is the prevailing theme of the novel, and many of the characters struggle to accept it or live it out in real and meaningful ways. Miss Alice’s character is the plumb line for all others, and she brought a wisdom to the book when others were struggling.

Christy set my imagination aflame! Cutter Gap is a place I know I will visit again.

Very Highly Recommended!

Audience: older teens to adults.

(Thanks to Gilead Publishing and LitFuse for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)
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LibraryThing member Mindyr
Lovely book. Have read it repeatedly at different times of my life. Learn something new about the Christian life each time. Very well drawn characters and what a sense of place!
LibraryThing member Pinktoolz
I read this book when I was about 12, I have read it at least a dozen time and I still love it like I was reading it for the first time. This is the story of a young, idealistic woman leaving home for the first time to be a teacher in the Great Smokies. Even though she is warned of the rough conditions nothing prepares her for the reality of the poverty, superstitions and mountain people that she encounters. Catherine Marshall is an exceptional writer and this is the tale of her mother's life.… (more)
LibraryThing member MerryMary
A long, but loving story of an young idealistic teacher coming to an Appalacian community at the turn of the last century. The character sketches are wonderful, and the genuine love the author has for the people and the beauty of this area is palpable. Based on the experiences of the author's mother.
LibraryThing member LynneVS
This is one of my favorite stories ever. While they come from a different age, the characters in the story are so wonderful and real that they feel like friends. The story is based on the life of the author's mother and is just a joy to read.
LibraryThing member Altarasabine
Very well written with a mix of fiction and true events that took place in the authors parents lives. A beautiful story of a ywell to do young woman who goes to live in the mountains at a mission to be a school teacher. she struggles with the way she sees these people living and overcomes the want to leave. She struggles with the love she has for two very different men. A story that help[s you realize that you need to follow your heart. Quite touching. Made into a tv show a few years back that captured the heart of the book.… (more)
LibraryThing member tikilights
This was my favorite book as a child and even now when I reread the story it still affects me in such a positive way. Christy's decision to be a teacher for the poor community of Cutter Gap in the Smokey Mountains puts you on an emotional rollercoaster because of all the trials and frustrations she has to overcome to succeed there.
Christy reads very fast for such a lengthy book and it's inevitable that you will grow a strong attachment to the characters.
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LibraryThing member ShortyBond
This, aside from my Bible, is my favorite book of all times. Marshall truly captures the life of the Tennessee mountain people during that time, and the story never fails to bring tears to my eyes. I read it again and again.
LibraryThing member carissa8402
I thought this was a great book...a classic!
LibraryThing member MrsLee
This is an interesting and inspiring story. It's about a young woman who goes to be a missionary in the Smoky Mountains, not realizing that she will change as much or more than those she intends to change.
LibraryThing member cestovatela
Whether you can stomach this story depends on how much Christian proselytizing you can handle. On the one hand, this is an adventurous and fun coming-of-age story centered on a school teacher out of place in rural Appalachia. But it's also the story of her conversion to Christianity and realization that trust in God can lead you anywhere. This didn't bother me when I read the book in 8th grade but I have a feeling I couldn't stomach it now.… (more)
LibraryThing member AbundaBookworms
A story of adventure, growing up, and coming to terms with the fact that what we dream and wish is often different from what the way things really are.
LibraryThing member SueinCyprus
This is historical fiction, about 75% biographical, 25% fiction, set in the United States in the early part of the 20th century. Christy, nineteen years old and idealistic, is based on the author’s mother; many of the anecdotes in the book are based on her experiences as a young teacher in a remote village with poor sanitation and almost no education.

Christy is thrown into a lifestyle that seems very primitive. At first she can’t bear the smell of unwashed children, and has little idea how to handle them. Gradually she learns to love them for themselves, aided by the delightful Miss Alice, an older Quaker woman. Christy gradually makes friends among the local women….

The novel is educational without being overtly so; it gives an excellent picture of the scourges of poverty, lack of sanitation and illiteracy. It’s Christian in theme, yet without being preachy. There are parts which are shocking, even in an era when disasters and bereavements were fairly common.

It's a long book which is very well-written, and the characters come to life clearly. Highly recommended for older teens as well as adults.
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LibraryThing member LilyRoseShadowlyn
A book that has been on my to-read list since a librarian suggested it to me when I was around 9 years old, I'm sorry to admit it has taken me 18 years to read this powerful tale. Impoverished seems like such an inadequate word for the world encountered by Christy, the heroine of this at times heart-breaking story. There are heartwarming moments sprinkled in among the sadness as Christy finds her faith and her place in the world.… (more)
LibraryThing member Harley0326
I remember reading this book when I was younger and watching the series when it was on television. As I read it this time, I found myself more involved with the story. I can’t imagine at nineteen to travel so far away from home. I thought Christy was a wonderful character and so brave. The shock she felt as she stepped off the train showed on her face. From a wonderful, comfortable life to poverty would scare off many. Christy was determined to make a go at bring the best teacher the children ever had.

The little place she traveled by foot was too much for me at times. I cried when I read about the children with no shoes, and little food to eat. The author describes a shanty town with no hope of improvement. I loved the story because it really shows how hard times were during that time period, and how the families did what they could to survive. What if you lost everything and had to live in a little place with no electricity or food? Christy was in for some hard times and I loved how she found ways to get donations for the school and children.

David is such a great character. As a preacher in this little backwoods area, he has his hands full with unruly men and secret stills that cause much danger to the people. I loved his sermon he gave after the still had been found out. It is so true that people who are doing bad things love the darkness. That way they think they are hidden and no one knows. But like Preacher David described in his sermon, God sees everything. You can’t hide from Him. Preacher David is so encouraging and a caring man. His devotion to the community is admirable.

The story is filled with how Christy adapts to her new life and the children that she teaches. Her compassion for the children is very heartwarming. I loved the interaction she had with several of the children. Some who needed to know they were important , while others needed guidance. It seems like there is always that one kid in class that is hard to reach. He wants to be tough and show off for the class. I was so intrigued with how Christy handled the boy who tried to intimidate her. If you haven’t had a chance to read this inspiring story, I encourage you to grab a copy. Travel back to the early 1900s and experience a woman with courage, love for children, steadfast faith and hope for a better life for her community.

I received a copy of this book from LitFuse. The review is my own opinion .
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LibraryThing member Kace
I don't think I'd still love the book if I read it today, but I wasn't as discriminating when I was younger, and I read the book when I was in the 6th grade or so and loved it so much I kept rereading it. So my rating is based on the love I had for it then.
LibraryThing member Liladillerauthor
I loved the book all the way through until the very end...and then I was thinking, "What? That's it? That's the ending?" You have to make so many assumptions in that last line of the book. I hated the ending so much that it skewed my perception of the entire book. :(
LibraryThing member JenniferRobb
At the age of 19, Christy Huddleston felt called to go teach school in the Smoky Mountains. It was quite an adjustment for a girl from a well-to-do family to go to backwoods Cutter Gap. Over the two year span covered in this book, she learns to accept the people as they are and love them. In fact, she learns many spiritual lessons during this time, including how to claim her own faith rather than just parroting what she has heard.… (more)
LibraryThing member claudia.castenir
Originally published in 1967, Christy is a historical fiction novel based on the experience of the author's mother teaching at a Christian mission in the Smoky Mountains in the early 1900s. Both the real Leonora and the fictionalized Christy at 19 leave their homes in North Carolina to teach children of poverty in the mountains of Tennessee. Having grown up with Leonora's stories, Catherine Marshall was able to make the people of Appalachia come alive. She told the story of their hardships, but also of their hearts and spirits. Marshall allows us to experience vicariously the difficulty of living without basic necessities in situations we would find primitive and grossly unclean. She then leads us to see the mountain people as valued individuals rather than being identified by group stereotypes. We celebrate their achievements, sorrow over their losses, and cheer on their best efforts. The mentoring character of Miss Alice Henderson, a Quaker mission worker from Pennsylvania, helps Christy, the young pastor David Grantland, and the reader come to deeper spiritual understandings.

Christy is not a book that you will soon forget, and is likely one that you will want to reread from time to time. I owe, in a large part, my going into the field of education to having read this book while in high school. Having read it again over the years, it was like coming together with old friends as I read it again five years into my retirement. While the book is based on the community of Chapel Hollow in the Morgan Branch Valley of Tennessee, I am always transported back into the book each time I visit Cades Cove just outside of Gatlinburg, Tennessee and near the town of Townsend where the television story based on this book was filmed. The cabins there are much as I picture those belonging to the book's characters.

I highly recommend this book to all readers, no matter what genre one usually prefers to read in. This timeless classic is too good to miss, and will live in your heart for years to come.

I am grateful to NetGalley and Evergreen Farm an imprint of Gilead Publishing for providing me with a copy of Christy in exchange for my honest opinion. I was under no obligation to provide a positive review and received no monetary compensation.
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Publication

McGraw Hill(1967)

Original publication date

1967

Pages

446

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