College of the Redwoods will host a book release party and reading for the recently published Come to the Edge: Arrival and Survival in Del Norte County, 41 stories from the people who live there, edited by CR English professor Ruth Rhodes. The event will take place Friday, November 30 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the CR Del Norte Campus.
These stories, collected from residents of Del Norte County, California, document the challenges and benefits of living in such a rural, isolated place. Arranged by theme in sections (Justice, Resources, Belonging, and Values), the memoirs provide intimate portraits of a diverse array of people who, literally and figuratively, live on the edge of the earth.
Readers will find these memoirs both fascinating and familiar. In one essay, we see the experiences of a Correctional Officer at Pelican Bay State Prison, and in another, we glimpse the life of an inmate. A Yurok elder who joined the Fish Wars talks about her exclusion as a young girl from white society, while a Hmong woman born in a refugee camp and married at a young age describes her fight with school officials to remain enrolled at Del Norte High while pregnant. The storytellers are as diverse as the histories they have lived. But the stories feel eerily familiar, even if we can’t immediately identify with the tellers.
No matter how differently these contributors perceive their community—whether they feel abundance or scarcity—justice or injustice—belonging or isolation—they have shared experiences of place that transcend the personal. This book reveals those connections—and reveals the ongoing story of human resilience in the face of change.
“Come to the Edge turns a dramatic cast of real people into published authors” says Geneva Wiki of the California Endowment. “As I read these stories, I am struck by how each voice tells a story I know to be true.”
Photos: Book cover for Come to the Edge: Arrival and Survival in Del Norte County, 41 stories from the people who live there. CR English professor Ruth Rhodes.