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Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains de…
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Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains (edició 2020)

de Kerri Arsenault (Autor)

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956222,427 (3.88)7
Membre:rebeccand
Títol:Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains
Autors:Kerri Arsenault (Autor)
Informació:St. Martin's Press (2020), 368 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:2021

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Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains de Kerri Arsenault

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» Mira també 7 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 6 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Powerful. What starts as an investigation into Maine's "Cancer Valley" meanders, like a river itself, into personal narrative, local history, politics, activism, and more. Aresenault never promises answers, but this book will make you ask questions.
  megbmore | Apr 12, 2021 |
Throw away Hillbilly Elergy and pick up this amazing recounting of life and overwhelming death in Mexico and Rumford, Maine, home to a massive paper plant that actively employed and killed many of its residents. The author blends her love of her childhood home with her research on dioxin and other deadly chemicals released during the papermaking process. The (mis) fortunes of the two towns are completely tied to the mill and to the various companies that have owned it and how the owners decimated the Androscoggin River and the land surrounding it. There's also a fascinating history of Arsenault's Acadian ancestors, who migrated from France and Canada and were considered expendable and well suited to be obedient, work hard, and were sadly defeated when they finally rose up and went on strike against the dreadful mill conditions. The combination of the author's love of her hometown and her dread as she counts the cancer-related deaths is heart-wrenching. Even the dry bones of the endless bureaucratic denial of blame comes to life with her compelling narrative.

Quotes: “A kind of fatalism slipped unconsciously into our routines, transforming into a handing over of control to the powers that be. Silence is an accumulating force.”

“Sometimes our recollections can be suspect because memory accumulates actual events and muddles them with how we want them to unfold.”

“The meek will inherit the earth, Father Cyr told me, but he never said in what condition it would be when we finally assumed ownership.” ( )
  froxgirl | Apr 10, 2021 |
This was a memoir along with an in-depth look at a number of environmental and sociological factors that lead the small towns of Rumford and Mexico Maine down a path of decline. The author mixed her own memories and family history (Acadian) with research into population studies and court findings in an effort to discern whether the pollution of the Androscoggin River was a cause of a cancer cluster and other health issues that beset the communities.
This book wandered through many related topics and was occasionally frustrating in its lack of resolution, but then I guess that was the point after all. The author describes the environment and the people with great clarity and sensitivity. This was clearly a personal journey and I appreciated the fact that she invited the reader along to get to know her hometown from inside out. ( )
  beebeereads | Feb 4, 2021 |
Mill Town is a combination history of a small rural town in Maine coupled with a testament to the author's father. For over one hundred years virtually everything there revolves around a paper manufacturing plant where her dad worked. It is a hate/love relationship as the town is dependent on it for jobs but also over the years there is more and more evidence the pollution is causing a variety of health issues. It is a good book but the head shaker are all the photographs included seem to have little relevance to the content. ( )
  muddyboy | Oct 18, 2020 |
This was an interesting and original contribution to recent works on rural America. The author grew up in (and eventually left, after a couple of young adult post-college returns) the eponymous setting of Mexico, Maine, a remote small town that was built around and whose economy still depends on an enormous paper mill. She returns regularly to care for her aging parents, and eventually starts to delve into the public health issues that the mill causes and the poverty that is still persistent despite a supposedly "good" employer in town offering many secure jobs.

I actually don't think much of what the town goes through and what Arsenault reports on is applicable to most rural places. Despite many ownership changes, the Mexico mill isn't in danger of being closed or moved offshore, and the residents are almost 100% white (with strong Acadian ancestry) with few immigrants, unlike other one-factory towns. But as a memoir, it was original and relatable. ( )
  jonerthon | Oct 10, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 6 (següent | mostra-les totes)
“Mill Town” is preoccupied with a poisonous irony: Rumford’s citizens live and work in a place that makes them unwell, yet they cling to their jobs with prideful obstinacy, ignoring patterns of illness, swallowing the mill’s denials and accepting their lot with a collective shrug that Arsenault, once she learns the extent of the cancer and the mill’s likely responsibility for it, finds mysterious and troubling.... Yet, as she soon realizes, the answer to her questions is bound up in their very formulation. Rumford relies wholly on the mill. Few have questioned the bargain that asked them to trade physical health for economic well-being because nobody has a choice about whether to accept it. The residents’ adversary is too powerful, their need too great.
afegit per Lemeritus | editaNew York Times, Emily Cooke (Web de pagament) (Sep 1, 2020)
 
Parts of who we are tend to be defined by the places we’re from. We are more than our hometowns, but forever OF our hometowns. And telling our own stories of those places can be far more complicated than we anticipate....There are long shadows cast in “Mill Town.” Arsenault proves unafraid of the many ghosts of Mexico, leaning into the bleaker aspects of the town’s past, present and future when warranted. Truth is vital when writing a book like this one, and the truth isn’t always pretty. Or easy. That said, this is also a book of celebration, a story that fully acknowledges and embraces the bright benefits of small-town life.
afegit per Lemeritus | editaThe Maine Edge (Sep 1, 2020)
 
Arsenault’s “Mill Town” takes readers to an interior region of Maine, the kind of place that most people don’t think about when they imagine the coastal wonders of the so-called “Vacationland.” She grew up there, in the town of Mexico, a descendant of Acadian immigrants, whose historical reception sounds all too familiar in the annals of American xenophobia.... what Arsenault has provided is a model of persistence, thoughtful reflection and vividly human personal narrative in uncovering a heartbreaking story that could be told in countless American towns, along countless American rivers.
afegit per Lemeritus | editaStar-Tribune, Steve Paul (Aug 28, 2020)
 
In this masterful debut, the author creates a crisp, eloquent hybrid of atmospheric memoir and searing exposé. She writes urgently about the dire effects the mill’s toxic legacy had on Mexico’s residents and the area’s ecology while evocatively mining the emotional landscape of caretaking for aging parents and rediscovering the roots of her childhood.... ittersweet memories and a long-buried atrocity combine for a heartfelt, unflinching, striking narrative combination.
afegit per Lemeritus | editaKirkus Review (Jun 15, 2020)
 
Arsenault embarks on a decade-long probe into the environmental abuses of a company that supported her family for three generations. “The legacies powerful men construct almost always emerge from the debris of other people’s lives,” she writes, yet her inquiry only deepened her bond with Mexico (“We can and probably should go back to confront what made us leave, what made us fall in and out of love with the places that create us, or to see what we left behind”). Arsenault paints a soul-crushing portrait of a place that’s suffered “the smell of death and suffering” almost since its creation. This moving and insightful memoir reminds readers that returning home—“the heart of human identity”—is capable of causing great joy and profound disappointment.
afegit per Lemeritus | editaPublishers Weekly (May 19, 2020)
 
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Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. -Frederick Douglass, in a speech concerning West India Emancipation, delivered at Canandaigua, New York, August 3, 1857
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Preamble: Mexico, Maine is a small paper mill town that lies in a valley, or "River Valley" as we now call the area, because I suppose you can't have one without the other.
Chapter 1, What Goes Around, Comes Around: From the porch steps of the house where I grew up, you'll see the end of the road.
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Our geologic past foretold everything about our future. But in this future, lives are un-lived, secrets never revealed, and stories remain unwritten about how much we all lose. In this future, I learn of asphalt lakes, people bulleted with disease, burning tires scarring the sky, the forsaken buried in unmarked graves, the evisceration and erasure of home. In this future, we pardon legislators who convince us nature will sort itself out. In this future, we will have forgotten everything that came before, and our only legacy for those who will supersede us is the promise of ruin.
...we have become inured to this kind of discourse, a gaslighting of sorts in which the definitions of words are as slippery as the sludge itself. If we aren’t sure what things mean, our circuits get scrambled and we lose the thread, then we lose control. And if we lose control, someone else takes over, and where are we then?
Some worried a controversy would sully town pride. Millworkers didn’t want to lose their jobs. Other folks just didn’t want to die. Those who were already sick got mad. The mill kept reiterating there were no facts to back up such destructive claims and didn’t seem concerned the film’s claims might be true.
...we eschewed those smarter or more worldly than us because they made us feel small, whether or not that was their intent. I remember harboring resentments toward white-collar professionals who were full of blue-chip solutions and not blue-collar common sense.
I used to think our lives orbited around love, for love was why we bothered to get up in the morning. But after talking to Dot, and considering my town, my family, my own stifled voice, life seems to revolve around the silences we’re afraid to violate. And as the studies show, this isn’t just a problem in Mexico, Maine. It’s a human problem.
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