By JONATHAN DURBIN JAKE LAMAR FRANCINE PROSE NATALIE DANFORD
September 04, 2006 12:00 PM

By Michelle Slatalla

REVIEWED BY NATALIE DANFORD

NONFICTION

What if your family’s hometown were wiped away like chalk from a blackboard? New York Times columnist Slatalla faced that question when repeatedly flooded Martin, Ky. (pop. 860), was slated for demolition. Slatalla’s great-grandparents landed in Martin in 1932, and the place provided an anecdote-filled backdrop to her family history. Slatalla’s great-grandmother moved so often that “it was not unusual for her children to eat breakfast in one house, wait for her to wash the dishes, and carry the stack to another house … for supper.” Martin was the sort of place where a “linen shower” for a teacher made the paper. Slatalla offers her tale in charming, unsentimental language. “Soon my family’s Martin will be a memory,” she writes, but it’s only thanks to her skills that the town will be remembered at all.

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