News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Author shares historical fiction

Author Karen Spears Zacharias will present her new book, "No Perfect Mothers," at Paulina Springs Books on Thursday, April 25, at 6:30 p.m. "No Perfect Mothers" explores characters, historical and imagined, who over the late 1800s to the 1920s were parties to the infamous Buck v. Bell U.S. Supreme Court case of 1927.

There is much about her hometown that Carrie Buck loves: Venable Elementary where she first learned to read; Starr Hill because that's where Miss Mora lives; Chancellor's Drugstore where she sometimes gets a free cola; and Anderson's Bookstore where a girl can look through all the books she likes.

While Charlottesville, Virginia in the 1920s is a charming place to grow up, there's one thing Carrie doesn't like about her hometown - her home. Abandoned by her father and taken from her mother, Carrie is put up for fostering as a toddler. A silent child, her foster parents regard her as slow. She feels no obligation to correct them. At age ten, Carrie is forced to leave school to work as a domestic. Carrie's lone ally, Miss Mora, a Scottish immigrant, is hindered by racial barriers from being the helper Carrie so desperately needs. But when Carrie turns up pregnant at seventeen, it is Miss Mora, Charlottesville's most competent midwife, who she turns to.

Fearing their nephew's assault of Carrie will be discovered, Carrie's foster parents fraudulently commit her to the Virginia Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. They claim custody of her infant daughter. Dr. Priddy, the colony's superintendent, deceptively labels Carrie an imbecile, unfit to bear children. In pursuit of a legal argument granting states the right to forcibly sterilize individuals, he exploits her. In "No Perfect Mothers," Carrie is given back what was denied her by the Court and by society some 100 years ago - her own voice and personhood.

Karen Spears Zacharias is an American writer and a former journalist. She holds a MA in Appalachian studies from Shepherd University, West Virginia, and a MA in creative media practice from the University of West Scotland, UK. Her debut novel "Mother of Rain" received the Weatherford Award for Best in Appalachian fiction from the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center at Berea College, Kentucky. Zacharias was named Appalachian Heritage Writer in 2018 by Shepherd University. Her work has been featured on National Public Radio, CNN, The New York Times, Washington Post, and in numerous anthologies. She lives at the foot of the Cascade mountains in Deschutes County, Oregon, where she serves as president of the League of Women Voters. She is a member of Phi Beta Delta and Phi Kappa Phi. A Gold Star Daughter, she is devoted to sharing the stories of forgotten women.

Paulina Springs Books is located at 252 W. Hood Ave. The event is free. For more information call 541-549-0866.


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