Lumberjack Girl is an inspiring memoir that brings the impact of mentorship to center stage. The story, set in the late 1990s, centers on the Prouds,* a hard-headed logging family in a small Idaho town. Abandoned by their employees, the Prouds continue their operation by putting their 14 children, ages 3-14, to work. Yet even when their story becomes front-page news, no one takes notice.
The Proud’s living situation, in a tiny school bus with unreliable electricity and running water, exemplifies the obstinacy of the family. As environmental legislation erodes the sustainability of small logging operations, most leave the profession. Most, that is, except the Prouds, who balance their precarious finances by carving out a scanty living from the mountains.
The Proud’s choice to continue is examined alongside the relationships and rivalries among family members: Peter Proud, the patriarch whose motto “Image Above All” came to define the family; Tressa—the middle child, who suffers an egregious logging accident only to discover her father would let her die rather than ask for help; and the enigmatic Perry, the elderly, disabled, homeless veteran with a secret of his own—whose compassion for the Proud children keep him sacrificing his meager means to help them gain an education.
The book will appeal to readers interested in learning how a child raised doing a job 39 times more dangerous than the average job in the U.S. survived to create an inspiring version of the American dream.
*Names changed to protect privacy