Each chapter in this book is a short story in and of itself. Each of the characters in the book are relatives from West Virginia (for the most part) living elsewhere in the US. Other than a common ancestor, there is very little else they have in common. Once one gets past the fact that this isn't actually a story, but a collection of stories that loosely intertwine (if at all) ,it becomes an interesting character study. The book realistically portrays a poverty-stricken family from West Virginia trying to escape their hard lives for a better life ahead.