Discovering The ‘Unseen’ Story Of Rural Maine

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On this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour, Gigi Georges joins Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to discuss her book “Downeast: Five Maine Girls and the Unseen Story of Rural America.”

“Whether it was opioid abuse or other issues or incarceration or just falling apart because of the difficulties that they faced, where you had those circumstances, what you had was a strength of community networks that was based on neighbors helping neighbors. And people did not, as I write, look to codified institutions from above,” Georges explained. “They looked to their neighbors and their neighbors were there for them and continue to be there for them … They will band together to make sure that, while they can’t make everything better, necessarily, they can do what they can to make things just a little bit easier. And that goes a long way in communities like this.”

Seeing this emphasis on community and neighborly participation, Georges said, was a welcome surprise.

“So much of the reporting has been done in a parachuted way and too often I believe with a narrow and somewhat biased lens that I did not expect to see quite that interconnectedness that I saw in so many aspects of life there, in nearly every aspect of life there,” Georges said. “And what I came away with perhaps that biggest ‘aha’ was … I was far more isolated in this tremendous city filled with people than any of these residents in Downeast, Washington County. As geographically isolated as they are, they are anything but isolated in the sense of community and the sense of being there for one another.”

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