• In the Shadow of the Valley

  • A Memoir
  • By: Bobi Conn
  • Narrated by: Bobi Conn
  • Length: 10 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (271 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A clear-eyed and compassionate memoir of the Appalachian experience by a woman who embraced its astonishing beauty, narrowly escaped its violence, and struggles to call it home.

Bobi Conn was raised in a remote Kentucky holler in 1980s Appalachia. She remembers her tin-roofed house tucked away in a vast forest paradise; the sparkling creeks, with their frogs and crawdads; the sweet blackberries growing along the road to her granny’s; and her abusive father, an underemployed alcoholic whose untethered rage and violence against Bobi and her mother were frighteningly typical of a community marginalized, desperate, and ignored. Bobi’s rule of survival: always be vigilant but endure it silently.

Slipping away from home, Bobi went to college and got a white-collar job. Mistrusted by her family for her progress and condescended to by peers for her accent and her history, she was followed by the markers of her class. Though she carried her childhood self everywhere, Bobi also finally found her voice.

An elegiac account of survival despite being born poor, female, and cloistered, Bobi’s testament is one of hope for all vulnerable populations, particularly women and girls caught in the cycle of poverty and abuse. On a continual path to worth, autonomy, and reinvention, Conn proves here that "the storyteller is the one with the power."

©2020 by Bobi Conn. (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“An Appalachian memoir from a woman who escaped a cycle of violence, substance abuse, and self-loathing in order to find her voice…the author is to be commended for her courage and determination to change her life circumstances…an inspiration for those attempting to come to terms with abuse.”Kirkus Reviews

“This memoir, although at times achingly sad, provides an uplifting tale of a woman who decided that she would prevail over the hand that life dealt her…An engaging read that will connect with fans of Tara Westover’s Educated and those interested in the ability of the human spirit to overcome adversity.”Library Journal 

“In sobering detail and with open palms, Bobi Conn mines the depths of her desperation to earn love from a sadistically cruel father and an abused mother, from the boys and men who darken her path, from friends who betray her, and from a God who seems to have turned away from her. Conn’s honesty is heroic and heartbreaking as she shares her story of enduring the stigma of poverty and abuse, claiming her self-worth, and discovering the limits of forgiveness. A necessary and timely read.”—Susan Bernhard, author of Winter Loon 

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What listeners say about In the Shadow of the Valley

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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Hard Pass

I was hoping this would be in the vein of Hillbilly Elegy or Educated but this was more a monotonous recounting of poverty, poor decisions, and petty complaints. There's little self-reflection from the author and while the themes are universal and especially timely, she fails to connect her story to any larger picture. What results reads like the personal journals of a self involved teenager who wonders why she is continually the victim.

8 people found this helpful

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Heartbreaking and inspiring

Yes, your story is worth sharing. Thank you for allowing others a glimpse into the shadows. May your bravery serve as a tool to empower others like you, like me.

7 people found this helpful

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Couldn’t get through it

I found this book to be one long self pitying rant. While a lot of detail was given about the characters, it was very superficial. I skipped to the end and when the author admitted she filled a prescription of OxyContin for her son, while, at the same time, trying to be self-righteous, I nearly screamed.
The depressed monotone narration is too much. Ugh. Get over it, you aren’t the only person who had a sh*t childhood.

6 people found this helpful

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Miserable

From the droning, depressive delivery of the author, to the hopelessness of every fact of her life, this story was unbearable. I had a similar painful childhood, but I choose to trust God--I choose hope. I listened for about an hour and had so much anxiety from the constant misery of her story, that I had to trade it in and shake this off.

3 people found this helpful

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Poignant, devoid of pretension

If you have ever wondered what's beneath so many stereotypes about Appalachia, what it's like to feel a prisoner in your body or your culture, or want a glimpse into the complex power dynamic between women and men when resources are scarce (and love truly is a four-letter word), this book is for you. But those are only pieces and moments, small parts of a bigger, more important story. About poverty and resilience and legacies untold. This memoir, brilliantly and patiently articulated by the author herself, is a trip to the hollers of Kentucky. A rich history, a humble truth. It's an epic prose poem of pain, salvation, triumph, and self-awareness. It cuts deep, is poignant, and wholly devoid of pretension.

3 people found this helpful

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a real understanding of KY backwoods life

one of the best books I've heard in a long while...but I could identity with her childhood most people can not....

3 people found this helpful

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really good book

It's a very simple story but heart-wrenching and captivating. The author's reading was perfectly emotionless yet full of emotion.

2 people found this helpful

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Truly powerful

The author's brings you into her story as if you were sitting right there with her. A truly memorable and lifechanging experience. Highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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Heart -Wrenching

Admired the character of the story because of her determination to change the course of her life.

1 person found this helpful

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Speechless!!!

And if you know me... well not saying something is a lot. This is great look into the world that is Appalachia. Breath taking as well. The hero's journey, The voice acting isn't acting, I could fell the weight of the word, and the heart behind them!

1 person found this helpful