''[a] memoir of modern American industrial life, written by the insider who got away - or got away enough to reflect intelligently on where they came from. Think JD Vance's Hillbilly Elegy and even Tara Westover's Educated . . . We could all learn from her example.' New York Times Book Review
Eliese wasn't supposed to be a steelworker. Raised by staunchly Republican and Catholic parents, Eliese dreamed of escaping Cleveland and achieving greatness in the convent as a nun. Full of promise and burgeoning ideals, she leaves her hometown, but one night her life's course is violently altered. A night that sets her mind reeling and her dreams waning. A cycle of mania and depression sinks in where once there were miracles and prayers, and upon returning home she is diagnosed with mixed-state bipolar disorder.
Set on a path she doesn't recognize as her own, Eliese finds herself under the orange flame of Cleveland's notorious steel mill, applying for a job that could be her ticket to regaining stability and salvation. In Rust, Eliese invites the reader inside the belly of the mill. Steel is the only thing that shines amid the molten iron, towering cranes, and churning mills. Dust settles on everything - on forklifts and hard hats, on men with forgotten hopes and lives cut short by harsh working conditions, on a dismissed blue-collar living and on what's left of the American dream.
But Eliese discovers solace in the tumultuous world of steel, unearthing a love and a need for her hometown she didn't know existed. This is the story of the humanity Eliese finds in the most unlikely of places and the wisdom that comes from the very things we try to run away from most. A reclamation of roots, Rust is a shining debut memoir of grit and tenacity and the hope that therefore begins to grow.