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A Carpenter's Daughter

A Working-Class Woman in Higher Education

Series:

Renny Christopher

A Carpenter’s Daughter is the story of the difficulties and rewards of the educational system for one who was not meant to go through it. The single most reliable predictor of whether someone will earn a BA is whether at least one of their parents has one-yet, today, there are an increasing number of first-generation college students. A Carpenter’s Daughter is both a memoir of the author’s experiences growing up, going to school, and becoming an academic and a thoughtful commentary on the meaning of class in American culture. By connecting her own story with ideas from scholarly works on class and identity, Christopher shows how her individual experiences reflect common struggles that people of working-class background face when their education, profession, income, and lifestyles change. This work reminds us forcefully that "moving up" isn't necessarily good and that changing one’s class isn't as simple as going to class or even becoming the teacher of the class.—Sherry Linkon, author of Teaching Working Class The work is stellar, merging the tangled and complex webs of social mobility through education in ways that leave lots of loose ends dangling just the way it should. No pretty bows adorning carefully wrapped packages here. No straight and narrow trajectory toward a mainstream version of success. Instead, readers will be pulled along by nuanced narratives portraying the warped nature of society’s construction of success and a careful crafting of the book in its entirety as a disjointed text presenting shards of a life that can never be visible in a tidied-up tale.—Stephanie Jones, University of Georgia