Cinder Girl sits in the rarest class of memoir—a towering literary triumph which melds searing and tragic personal history with an incredible story of resilience, hope, and civic success.
Growing up on welfare, food stamps, and Greyhound buses, Holly Thompson Rehder quit school at fifteen to help take care of her mother and younger sister after a devastating car accident. Getting married and pregnant soon thereafter, like so many other young girls caught in the poverty-cycle, Holly decided that the life she had been born into was not what she intended to give her child.
But unlike others who wind up mired in a lifetime of poverty, dysfunction, and despair, Holly used her resourcefulness, faith, and sheer stubborn American grit to fight her way out of the gutter.
Two decades later she was a successful businesswoman. And today, she is a rising political star who serves as an inspiration to young women across the state of Missouri—and indeed, the entire nation—all while never forgetting where she came from. She worked her butt off to help so many others born into seemingly helpless circumstances.
As a rare lawmaker who speaks candidly from raw personal experience, in Cinder Girl, Rehder rises above standard political prose to provide an unvarnished look inside the worst of American poverty––those living in the margins. Rehder challenges us to recall the plight of those far less fortunate, who struggle without the opportunities most of us take for granted.
State Senator Holly Thompson Rehder is a known voice in the fight against opioid addiction and the stigma of mental illness. Growing up on welfare, quitting school at fifteen, becoming a mother at sixteen, and ultimately, deciding to do things differently, Holly brings a unique perspective to the poverty cycle in America. A conservative who speaks candidly from personal experience as someone who lived it as a child, got out as a teen, only to see her daughter caught in it, is a bit of an anomaly.