Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit: A Review

March 3, 2020

Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit by Eliese Colette Goldbach

Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit by Eliese Colette Godbach (cover)

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Unions, Steel

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


Thanks #netgalley #flatironbooks for a free E ARC of #rustamemoirofsteelandgrit in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Eliese shatters the stereotype…….Have you ever thought of a steelworker as a college-educated, twenty-something female?

For Eliese, the “stinky” local steel mill in Cleveland, Ohio represents everything from which she is trying to escape. Although it was never her dream job, practicality demands that she needs job security and a good salary. In Rust, Eliese shares about her childhood, her Christian roots and parents’ values, applying to the mill, receiving a good paycheck, facing daily danger in the mill, forming unexpected friendships, working and maintaining relationships with mental illness, gender equality, and an abundance of political opinions.

My Thoughts:

I appreciate memoirs, and the genre is one of my favorites. I love experiencing life from a different perspective. Even though I’m not at all interested in steel or the details involved with manufacturing steel, I’m interested in hearing about the everyday life of a steelworker.

The writing in Rust is honest, descriptive, and filled with emotional details. After we hear about her grit, determination, and bravery, we are left with a story of hope. The most inspiring aspect for me is her eventual ability to navigate family and romantic relationships and to handle work tasks and expectations with her mental health challenges. Her story is an encouragement for anyone facing similar challenges.

It did take a bit of time to get used to the timeline which jumped around a bit. Also, I found that the plentiful political commentary was a bit distracting from her story. Although I realize that one’s political ideology is certainly part of becoming an independent adult and differentiating from parents, the amount of it caused me to wonder if it might be her main reason for writing the memoir.

Overall, I appreciate her bravery, grit, and determination to live her best life.

Fans of memoir and readers who live near Cleveland, Ohio, who have worked with steel, live with bipolar, or have similar political views might especially enjoy Rust.

If you enjoy Rust, you might also enjoy The Women of Copper Country (historical fiction).

Trigger Warnings: rape, mental health (bipolar)

My Rating: 3 Stars


Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit by Eliese Colette Godbach (cover)

Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit Information

Meet the Author, Eliese Colette Goldbach

Author, Eliese Colette Goldbach

Eliese Goldbach is a steelworker at the ArcelorMittal Cleveland Temper Mill. She received an MFA in nonfiction from the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Program. Her writing has appeared in PloughsharesWestern Humanities ReviewAlaska Quarterly ReviewMcSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Best American Essays 2017. She received the Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Award and a Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant from the Ohioana Library Association, which is given to a young Ohio writer of promise.

I’m linking up today with The 2020ReadNonFic Challenge hosted by Book’d Out.


Are you a fan of memoir?


I Finished my Winter 2019 TBR!

10 Inspirational Reads for Women’s History Month

February 2020 Reading Wrap Up

Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:

***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.


  1. Interesting that the politics were strong enough to make it seem they might be the reason for writing it. The topic does sound interesting and like the writing is good but I’m not sure this one is for me. Great review!

  2. Thanks for sharing this one Carol. When it seems the memoir is for an ulterior motive, it tarnishes the enjoyment. I think that was the problem a lot of people had with Educated. Very honest and informative review.

Leave a Reply