Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Sarah Nicole Lemon

Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as thirty-nine authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!


About Sarah Nicole Lemon

It was touch and go for a while, but Sarah Nicole Lemon finally grew into her woods witch vibe and now spends her days merrily setting young girls to impossible tasks with dire threats if they fail. When not writing, you can find her drinking iced coffee in a half-submerged lawn chair near her home in southern Maryland.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramTumblrGoodreads

I didn’t read as a girl, I consumed. Everything. From Sweet Valley High, cereal boxes, and pilfered romance novels (they were strictly forbidden), to Nancy Drew, Dostoevsky and Dante. Every word I could find, I read.

I say that to give what I’m about to say meaning.

I didn’t read a character, in all those years and books, that I understood more than when I read Ree Dolly in Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone.

The opening lines of Winter’s bone was the first time the world I had always lived in existed in a book. Not just existed, but existed the way I saw it. I’d stood on that porch. I’d smelled the snow. Saw the meat. The woodpile. I’d tallied my life in the same way.

In the book, Ree must find her father in order to save her home — an impossible task, confronting the way things are done, and a father she doesn’t necessarily want to find. Every step of the way, it was familiar. Known.

Ree is a lot of things I’m not — she’s a lesbian and she’s surviving things at a level I’ve not had to survive. But at her core, Ree is me.

She cannot love, though she does, deeply. She is isolated. Burdened with responsibility. Old and young at once. She worries about things I understand. She walks the paths I know by heart, even though hers are Ozark’s and mine have always been Appalachian. I shared her dream at one point. I shared her worldview. I shared her skills. All the members of her world are people I knew and understood. All her decisions made sense.

Ree persisted in a way I already had come to discover I could persist, but reading her made me feel less alone. More than less alone, Woodrell’s choice to write about Ree made me feel valuable. Like my voice — the voice of a girl who knows the sting of salt in her wounds while she stretches a warm hide at the edge of snowy field — is worth being heard. In the journey to being a debut author, I was asked constantly who I was as a writer and what story I was telling. I kept doubling down on myself and my stories in the world’s scariest gamble, and it was due, in part, to the confidence I gained from Ree Dolly’s existence in literature.

Other books built my voice, but Ree gave it sound.

Title Done Dirt Cheap
Author Sarah Nicole Lemon
Pages N/A
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
To Be Published March 2017 by Amulet Books
Find It On Goodreads

Done Dirt Cheap is Thelma & Louise meets Sons Of Anarchy, where two teenage girls are caught between a motorcycle club and corrupt law enforcement in an unforgiving southern town.

One response to “Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Sarah Nicole Lemon”

  1. Alexa S. says:

    What a beautiful post! I’ve never read Winter’s Bone, but you’ve made this main character and her story sound utterly compelling.

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