Review: Stay and Fight by Madeline Ffitch

  • Post last modified:September 7, 2021

Hi all! Checking in today with a new release, scheduled for next Tuesday the 9th.

Stay and Fight Summary

Stay and Fight by Madeline Ffitch

Helen arrives in Appalachian Ohio full of love and her boyfriend’s ideas for living off the land. Too soon, with winter coming, he calls it quits. Helped by Rudy—her government-questioning, wisdom-spouting, seasonal-affective-disordered boss—and a neighbor couple, Helen makes it to spring. Those neighbors, Karen and Lily, are awaiting the arrival of their first child, a boy, which means their time at the Women’s Land Trust must end.

So Helen invites the new family to throw in with her—they’ll split the work and the food, build a house, and make a life that sustains them, if barely, for years. Then young Perley decides he wants to go to school. And Rudy sets up a fruit-tree nursery on the pipeline easement edging their land. The outside world is brought clamoring into their makeshift family.

Set in a region known for its independent spirit, Stay and Fightshakes up what it means to be a family, to live well, to make peace with nature and make deals with the system. It is a protest novel that challenges our notions of effective action. It is a family novel that refuses to limit the term. And it is a marvel of storytelling that both breaks with tradition and celebrates it. Best of all, it is full of flawed, cantankerous, flesh-and-blood characters who remind us that conflict isn’t the end of love, but the real beginning.

Absorbingly spun, perfectly voiced, and disruptively political, Madeline ffitch’s Stay and Fight forces us to reimagine an Appalachia—and an America—we think we know. And it takes us, laughing and fighting, into a new understanding of what it means to love and to be free.

My Review of Stay and Fight


Let me start by saying that while I enjoyed this book overall (and more on that in a minute), it isn’t exactly how it was first marketed to me.  The pitch claims it is a humorous book, and sure, there are humorous moments, but I really wouldn’t suggest this one to a reader looking for something funny.  The story also claims to be about Helen and her boyfriend leaving her, but it is much more than that, and I think that the reader should go into it thinking little of the boyfriend, because honestly, it seems to do the novel a disservice.

Really, Stay and Fight is not about a dissolving romance (or even about Helen herself, really, for it shifts the spotlight quite a bit), but a growing family.  Essentially, three very different women come together to raise a child and they meet various other characters along the way while chronicling their struggles through their different voices and views.  Additionally, their son, Perley, narrates several chapters, and in my opinion, he is far too precocious, but the manner in which Ffitch writes is so unique it is bearable.

Honestly, this is the main thing that kept me going, because personally, I found all the characters to be quite annoying, and yet, somehow I wanted to stay — this is certainly a testament to Ffitch’s abilities.  While this story wasn’t my cup of tea, I know it is someone else’s, and I would be interested to see what else Ffitch writes.

All the love,



Stay and Fight by Madeline Ffitch is scheduled to be released July 9, 2019.  Although Farrar, Straus and Giroux provided me with a free review copy, this did not in any way affect my review.

Leave a Reply