VICTORY TWP. — Natalie Grochowski hasn’t always felt at home in Mason County, but love, family and the practice of Judaism helped her to embrace the community.

It’s a story she tells in her first memoir, “Welcome to Replica Dodge,” released Monday on Wayne State University Press and written under the name Natalie Ruth Joynton. In the book, the poet and communications instructor at West Shore Community College is sharing her story with the world.

“Welcome to Replica Dodge” chronicles the story of Grochowski’s spiritual and cultural journey from Christianity to Judaism and from life in Houston to rural Mason County.

She said she hopes readers — particularly those who feel out of place — will find solace in her story, which addresses concepts of community and belonging.

Grochowski said she wants people to realize that diversity exists in every community, and that Mason County is no exception.

“In writing the book and in learning to live here as an urban Southerner and as a Jewish woman where there are not a lot of other Jews, this idea struck me that Mason County, on paper, comes across as incredibly homogenous,” she said. “But you can’t just look at a community on paper and say, ‘This is what it is.’

“In all communities, there are disparate and diverse voices and people with stories that need to be heard if we’re going to have a broader sense of what it means to be a community.”

Read the full story in Wednesday's Ludington Daily News print or e-Edition.