"Parton is endlessly quotable and fun to read about, but [She Come By It Natural] is also enriched by its glimpses into Smarsh's Kansan family. . . Knowing when to fight back and when to cut your losses is, in Smarsh's account, a talent shared by Parton and many of the working-class women she has immortalized in song and onscreen."
"Smarsh doesn’t pretend that Parton was ever a spokesperson for the [feminist] movement. She was something more meaningful: not a mouthpiece but a model."
—The New Yorker
"As she did in her 2018 memoir, Heartland, Smarsh offers a feminist take on America’s rural working-class women who eschew the term “feminism.” The author looks at how songs by Dolly Parton and other country-music performers illuminate stories of women who might otherwise be overlooked: tired waiters, pregnant teenagers, spurned wives, loyal daughters."
—Washington Post, 10 Books to Read in October
"She Come By It Natural is a praise song for the cultural icon, but what emerges from an examination of Parton's life and work is just how much relevance her lyrics have had -- for Smarsh and for other women -- and why so much of the book is so deeply personal. . . . The fruit of that devotion is a tribute to the woman who continues to demonstrate that feminism comes in coats of many colors."
—Los Angeles Times
"Passionate, smart, and earnest."
"Sarah Smarsh expertly explores the overlooked social contributions of women . . . . [An] inspiring tribute to Dolly Parton herself."
"Smarsh explains that Parton’s full legacy is much deeper and more rewarding than it might seem from casual listening."
"Throughout the book, Parton and Smarsh are in unspoken dialogue with one another, sharing common language and struggle through the beauty of country music."
"She Come by It Natural will appeal to a wide range of readers who are curious about Parton. Smarsh finds a sweet spot between biography and memoir that lets her move nimbly between her personal affection for Parton’s impact on women’s lives and her journalistic analysis of Parton’s artistry, business acumen, and iconic role in our quick-changing zeitgeist."
"[She Come By It Natural] includes sharp social commentary and well-placed personal anecdotes, [and] is at its heart a love letter both to Parton and to the women who continue to see themselves in her songs."
"Smarsh seamlessly weaves her family’s experiences with Parton’s biography—triumphs and shortcomings alike—and cultural context. She Come by It Natural is, as a result, a relatable examination of one of country music’s brightest stars and an inspiring tale of what women can learn from one another."
"Smarsh and Parton are a perfect pairing for the kind of in-depth examination into gender and class and what it means to be a woman and a working class hero that feels particularly important right now."
—Refinery29, most anticipated
“We will always love reading about Dolly Parton,”
"Affectionate and astute ... Smarsh’s luminescent prose and briskly tempered storytelling make for an illuminating take on a one-of-a-kind artist."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A highly readable treat for music and feminist scholars as well as Parton's legion of fans."
“Readers get the impression that Smarsh read and listened to the artist's every word and watched every filmed second of her in order to recreate Parton here in fine, sparkling form. Smarsh's range as a storyteller (much like her subject's) makes this the best kind of American story, one of a person so extraordinarily vast that we find room for ourselves, too.”
"A warm-hearted journey into what Dolly means to generations of women who saw their lives reflected in her songs, who first embraced her not as a star but a sister."
—Elizabeth Catte, author of What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia