Join us as we welcome Gigi Georges for a discussion of her new book Downeast: Five Maine Girls and the Unseen Story of Rural America.
In this captivating and empathetic book, Gigi Georges follows five girls as they come of age in one of the most challenging and geographically isolated regions on the Eastern seaboard. Their stories transform our understanding of life in small towns and offer hope for the future of rural America.
Nestled in Maine’s far northeast corner, Washington County sits an hour’s drive from the heart of famed and bustling Acadia National Park. Yet it’s a world away. For Willow, Vivian, Mckenna, Audrey, and Josie—five teenage girls caught between tradition and transformation in this remote region—it is home. Downeast follows their journeys of heartbreak and hope in uncertain times, creating a nuanced and unique portrait of rural America with women at its center.
Willow lives in the shadow of an abusive, drug-addicted father and searches for stability through photography and love. Vivian, a gifted writer, feels stifled by her church and town, and struggles to break free without severing family ties. Mckenna is a softball pitching phenom whose passion is the lobster-fishing she learned at her father’s knee. Audrey is a beloved high school basketball star who earns a coveted college scholarship but questions her chosen path. Josie, a Yale-bound valedictorian, is determined to take the world by storm.
All five girls know the pain and joy of life in a region whose rugged beauty and stoicism mask dwindling populations, vanishing job opportunities, and pervasive opioid addiction. As the girls reach adulthood, they discover that despite significant challenges, there is much to celebrate in “the valley of the overlooked.” Their stories remind us of the value of timeless ideals: strength of family and community, reverence for nature’s rule, dignity in cracked hands and muddied shoes, and the enduring power of home.
Revealed through the eyes of Willow, Vivian, Mckenna, Audrey, and Josie, Downeast is based on four years of intimate reporting. The result is a beautifully rendered, emotionally startling, and vital book. Downeast will break readers’ hearts yet offer them hope, providing answers to what the future may hold for rural America.
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 is currently serving in her most important role as adoring mother of nine-year-old Margaux. She and her family live part-time in Downeast Maine.
How to register
Registration is free, but book purchases are welcomed and appreciated--thank you for supporting our author! You must register on this page to attend the event. The event will stream on Zoom. You will receive an email with the Zoom link after registering. If you don't receive a confirmation email after registering today, contact us right away so we can check for problems.
Purchase a copy of Downeast from our website HERE. Copies will be available a few days after event. If you ordered a book for store pick up, we will contact you as soon as it's ready. If you ordered a book with shipping, please allow an additional 7-10 days for delivery via USPS Media Mail.
If you have signed up for the event and are having difficulty accessing it via Zoom, please contact us via email at email@example.com throughout the event & will do our best to provide technical support as needed.