Tess, a West Virginian in New York City, finds herself among seedy brothels facing life as a prostitute. A number of trials test her in every way, leading to both understanding and misunderstanding among her friends and her family. Tess tells these stories of pain, joy, depression, loneliness, and endurance in her journal, and they will shock some readers and charm others. With the shadow of the Appalachians calling her back home, she desperately struggles to claim her individuality in a world of debauchery without the painful remnants of her past and fear of a fragmented future overwhelming her.
Priscilla A. Rodd was born outside of Paw Paw, West Virginia, in an old farmhouse without running water or electricity. Her parents, who were Quaker activists, homeschooled Priscilla until she was eleven years old. She began public school the same year her family acquired indoor plumbing and a black-and-white television. Priscilla holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Pittsburgh. She currently teaches creative writing and lives in Charles Town, West Virginia, with her husband and fellow writer Deane Kern, and their two young sons.
"Priscilla Rodd's protagonist in Surviving Mae West can be exasperating, like watching a friend engage in self-destructive behavior. Yet, we still care about her as she navigates between the two worlds of New York prostitution and her West Virginia family."
Denise Giardina, author Storming Heaven and The Unquiet Earth
"Tess and her brother grew up in a peaceful, rural West Virginia community. But one night after a high school party, a traumatic event changed their lives forever. In Priscilla Rodd's Surviving Mae West, a family struggles to overcome extraordinary loss. . . In exploring her heroine's character, Rodd ultimately penned some surprising lessons about sacrifice, growth, and deliverance."
Mary Zangrilli, Pitt Magazine
"Engaging, graphic, humorous, [and] often shocking."
Paul Nyden, Charleston Gazette-Mail