Gigi Georges on the False Narratives of Rural America
This Week from Just the Right Book with Roxanne Coady
In this episode of Just the Right Book with Roxanne Coady, Gigi Georges joins Roxanne Coady to discuss her book, Downeast: Five Maine Girls and the Unseen Story of Rural America, out now from Harper.
From the episode:
Gigi Georges: These kids, by and large, they want to stay Downeast. Again, this runs counter to that narrative—we keep hearing this narrative of, oh, what is the great story about rural Americans? It’s about that one in a million who “escapes,” right? Has to escape in order to succeed. Well, most of these kids—and I spoke to so many of them, and this was true of literally four out of five of the girls, and even in the fifth, there was a link back to Downeast—most of these kids want to say. They want to stay and they want to build within their communities. And these vocational training institutes, like the one that has now been placed in Downeast, they can go and they can get a degree in boat mechanics. There are many jobs around the lobster fishing industry that pay well and that are good jobs, and it allows them to remain where they want to remain. And they don’t view it as second best. I can tell you that. At all.
Gigi Georges, Ph.D., has had an extensive career in politics, public service, and academia. A former White House Special Assistant to the President and Communications Director for the New York City Department of Education, she has taught political science at Boston College, served as Program Director for the Harvard Kennedy School’s Innovation Strategies Initiative, and been a Managing Director of The Glover Park Group–a leading national strategic communications firm. She and her family live part-time in Downeast Maine.
Roxanne Coady is owner of R.J. Julia, one of the leading independent booksellers in the United States, which—since 1990—has been a community resource not only for books, but for the exchange of ideas. In 1998, Coady founded Read To Grow, which provides books for newborns and children and encourages parents to read to their children from birth. RTG has distributed over 1.5 million books.