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Thanks to Dorothy Allison, who documented her horrific childhood in Bastard Out of Carolina, the survival tales of self-described poor-white-trash kids are somewhat familiar to us. But unless you pick up Linda St. John’s book Even Dogs Go Home to Die, you’re probably not going to learn about growing up dirt-poor with an alcoholic father who eventually earns a Ph.D. in microbiology. St. John, a self-taught artist whowith photographer husband Duane Cerneynow owns New York’s D.L. Cerney gallery/store, has compiled an autobiography told in snippets. Each chapter offers an anecdote about the everyday burdens of being hungry and cold and living in squalor. The hardships may be commonplace, but the details are her own: a German war-refugee mother; her father, who eventually succumbs to a brain tumor; and a cure for tapeworms suggested by a family member: “Ruth always said I was so skinny cause I had me a tapeworm. She said, ‘You ort to not eat fer three days and then hold a piece of raw meat up in front of yer mouth…open wide… and when it comes up after that meat, grab it and…pull it out!” Linda St. John reads at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, at Olsson’s Books & Records, 1200 F St. NW. Free. (202) 347-3686. (Robin Dougherty)