Audiobook Review: If the Creek Don't Rise

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Fantastic audiobook! Fantastic debut! I drove around on my lunch hour just so I could finish it and it’s definitely one of those “drive around in circles so you can keep listening” kind of audiobook.

There is a multitude of perspectives inside – at least 8 different people telling their stories here – each building around the hardscrabble life and tale of Sadie Blue, the unfortunate girl that is just one in the long, sorry line of unfortunate girls marrying dead-end drunken losers like Roy Tupkin. This is how Weiss introduces us to Sadie Blue: 

I struggle to my feet, straighten my back, lift my chin, then he hits me again.  This time I fall down and stay down while he counts, “……..eight, nine, ten.” He walks out the trailer door and slams it hard.  The latch don’t catch, and the door pops open. I lay on the floor and watch Roy Tupkin cross the dirt yard.

My world’s gone sideways again.

If the Creek Don’t Rise isn’t broken down into traditional chapters but rather vignettes told to us by the people closest to Sadie Blue – her grandmother, the preacher, the old “witch” that lives far out in an old broken down trailer, the teacher from the valley, her aunt, etc, and and in the end, Roy Tupkin along with his constant sidekick, Billy. Now, this may read like it’s filled with those overused and tired tropes of the poor, downtrodden, backwoods and beaten women at the hands of their ever abusive, swill-spitting, hooch-making ignoramus men. And sure, there is plenty of hillbilly in here, but I didn’t come away from the story upset about any stereotypical portrayals of some of these men and women. I can only say I was fully invested in the whole shebang the entire time I was listening. Like I say above, I drove around in circles and took the long way home every day from work so I could keep listening. I was hooked.  

The perspectives of the women were voiced by Kate Forbes and their stories made up my favourite parts. Tom Stechschulte narrates for the men, and some were given a distinctive “Forrest Gump” sounding voice. My favourite characters were Preacher Perkins and the teacher, Kate Shaw. Both had wonderful stories to tell and I smiled many times listening to Perkins talk about his life. Also though, the Preacher has a sister named Prudence. Prudence is one of the most memorable characters I’ve read. So many times I was close to reaching through my car stereo to shake her, but I wished her story could have gone on longer, she was excellent. I loved her yet I hated her. ;-)

When listening, I often thought about Wiley Cash’s A Land More Kind Than Home. Like it, If the Creek Don’t Rise is an excellent hardscrabble southern tale with battles between good and evil and filled with memorable and sometimes nasty characters! If you want another excellent southern style reading experience after finishing If the Creek Don’t Rise, I highly recommend Cash’s A Land More Kind Than Home. 

While I did think the ending came to too abrupt of a close, and I was slightly disappointed that the stories never circled back to resolutions of their own, I cannot contain my enthusiasm for this audiobook overall.

Thank you to Recorded Books for sending the CDs, they have already been making their rounds to my audiobook loving friends. I would definitely say this is one where the book is enhanced greatly because of the audiobook. Excellent listening experience.