Butler County native hosts book signing this weekend

Published 5:54 pm Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A new memoir published by the University of Alabama Press is winning rave reviews. And its roots are firmly entrenched in Butler County. Native-born Peggy Vonsherie Allen, the deputy director of traffic and safety engineering for DeKalb County, Ga., will be in Greenville to sign copies of her book “The Pecan Orchard: Journey of a Sharecropper’s Daughter” this weekend.

The event is scheduled for 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, October 17 at the Greenville-Butler County Public Library.

Allen, born in 1959, was one of 13 children of parents struggling to make a decent life for their family during the Jim Crow era. She recalls it as a place with “deeply rooted Southern cultural traditions, sugarcane mills, hog killing and shotgun houses.”

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Nearly disabled and dealing with severe pain from a serious case of rickets as a child, Allen was still expected to work hard daily, picking up pecans in the winter and hoeing corn in the summer.

Along with the many chores of her childhood, she also recalls her father’s moonshining, being baptized in a muddy cow pond and many colorful local characters that just might be familiar to Butler County readers.

Allen reflects on times of inequality and cruelty tempered by sometimes strong and surprising bonds that developed between blacks and whites.

Mobile Press-Register books columnist John Sledge describes Allen’s method of narration as “simple and direct, wholly without artifice . . . totally captivating.”

He also calls the memoir “ a memorable read and altogether one of the best Alabama books of the year.”

Allen, a 1978 graduate of Greenville High School, says she is looking forward to returning to her hometown this weekend and sharing memories with friends and acquaintances. Copies of the book will be available at the signing and retail for $29.95. For more information, contact the GBCPL at 382-3216.