Friday, October 17, 2014

BOOK NOOK: SPLIT AT THE ROOT BY CATANA TULLY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today I present for your reading pleasure a book that is well written and tells an interesting and unusual story. It is SPLIT at the ROOT: A Memoir of LOVE and LOST Identity by Catana Tully.


I first discovered Catana Tully on Twitter. The small photo on her Twitter page captivated me. I adored her beautiful smile. When I realized she had written a memoir, I had to order it.

I'm so glad I did. Her book is beautifully written and tells quite a tale.

A white German couple who settle in Guatamala during World War II make the baby of a black woman their own child. They call her their "little Moor." She calls them Mutti and Vati. Their older daughter, Ruth, becomes yet another mother to young Catana, who speaks German, English, and Spanish. She attends excellent schools and becomes a fashion model and actress. Eventually, she earns a Ph.D. and teaches at an American college.

But she is uncomfortable around most black people, which leads her to question her identity. Mutti, Vati, and Ruth became her family, yet she was never adopted. Who were her real parents? What of the vague memories of a black mother who sometimes arrived on unwanted visits? When she travels to her biological family's village, she hears the legend of the Germans who stole a child from her true parents.

Who is that true family?

According to Mutti, when Rosa found herself pregnant and unmarried, she assured Rosa that if the baby was a girl, she, Mutti, would raise the child. "See," Mutti would say to me smiling and pinching my cheek, "you wanted me to be your mother because you came out being a little girl."

"You would not have kept me if I'd been a boy?" I asked Mutti. How horrible . . . where would I be? Where the Black people lived! What a terrible thought! It's not that I had reason to worry. I just wondered . . . 

"Now Mohrle, what would I have done with a little Black boy?" Mutti said raising her eyebrows and shaking her head. And so, without another word, it was absolutely clear in my child's mind that something was seriously wrong with Black boys. In my evening prayers I made sure to add a silent one thanking God for giving me a vagina.

Catana Tully sweeps us up in the story of her life and the search for her self. Try to imagine becoming an adult, comfortable with yourself, without really knowing who you are. It would be a daunting task for any of us.

I purchased my copy of this book on Amazon at http://goo.gl/ZPlsOK.

SPLIT at the ROOT earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval.

Happy reading! I wish you a blessed weekend.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

40 comments:

  1. Catana Tullys life story is indeed compelling, Janie, and it's easy to understand why you recommend it highly. Throughout my childhood and later youth my mother often reminded me that she was hoping to give birth to a girl and that she was disappointed when I turned out to be a boy. I'm sure she had no idea how much that piece of information hurt me and still haunts me to this day.

    Thank you for letting us know about this important book, dear friend, and have a wonderful weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My mother often said, We should have stopped with two--meaning children. I've always felt guilty for existing.

      Delete
  2. Interesting that a black person would not be comfortable around black people. This sounds like a book I'd like to read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She was raised by white people and spent most of her time with white people. She didn't know what to make of black people.

      Delete
  3. Wow. What a story! Can you imagine living a life like that? It's so incredible some of the stores people have to tell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've found that everyone has some sort of interesting/unusual story to tell.

      Delete
  4. That sounds fascinating. It reminds me of "The Color of Water," a memoir by James McBride about being raised as a black child by a white Jewish mother. I love memoirs. Such an opportunity to walk a mile in someone else's moccasins.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Janie, your wonderful review of Split is just about the nicest thing I can have heralding my weekend! I love that you have so many engaged and engaging blog readers, congratulations! Thrilled that I made it on your reviewing list. Thank you so, so much! Big hugs! Catana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My readers are very important to me, and so are you. I love Split at the Root.

      Delete
  6. Hi Janie .. what an interesting find and how difficult to feel so 'not quite right' growing up out of one's natural surroundings. Amazing memoir ... I can see why you found her story so interesting ... Split at Root - what a good title ... so right by the sound of it ..

    Cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  7. This sounds like a fascinating life to learn about! Wow! :)
    Have a super weekend, my friend.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Janie, an intriguing review. I'll be finding the book to read her story, and I see she has visited your blog as well.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sounds like quite a read. But, what's all that business about boys? Should something like that depress me?
    I'm thinking it should.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should be very depressed, Penwusser. You have a penis. Or at least I think you do. I don't want to ask Mrs. Penwusser.

      Delete
  10. Sounds like a fascinating read. Happy Weekend, Janie.

    ReplyDelete
  11. You talked me into it--I just ordered!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so easy. You are a slut reader.

      Delete
  12. I'm always looking for that next good book to read, and this sounds like it's the one. Thanks for the suggestion!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. It's nice to see you again.

      Delete
  13. Sounds interesting.. will check this one out, i'd like to read it!
    Thanks for the review :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sounds like it makes you ponder some of life's most relevant questions. The cover is adorable too. Thanks, Janie.

    I hope you're well. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are well, thanks. Willy Dunne Wooters is here, and he cheers us up.

      Delete
  15. Sounds very interesting. Do you know what she studied/taught?

    Also, I saw Labor Day based on your recommendation, and I really liked it. I normally don't care for Kate W., but forgot who she was in that role. The film looked good with those muted colors, and I liked the soundtrack. I'm glad Kate kept her clothes on for a change. I'm surprised it only got a 6.9 on IMDb.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought its rating was low, too. I'm not telling what she taught. I don't like to give away too many details. I hope you don't think I'm mean. I don't want to be mean.

      Delete
  16. Haunting indeed!
    First visit via Blue Grumpster. I'll be back. You have a lovely blog!

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is the best review I've read lately, and I am totally going to read this book. Fascinating story and twist to the tale. Wow!

    Love ya!
    Cherdo

    PS: I got so excited, I almost used my real name...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HA! Now I know how to get you to reveal your name. I must excite you. Oh, dear, that sounds so freaky. Never mind.

      Delete
  18. I taught an adult black student in GED classes. One day, she said to me, "I hope I won't insult me, but I like being around and working with white people." She was not talking about "passing" for either herself or her daughter. She said black people made her very uncomfortable.

    I will certainly read this book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if she was raised in a "white" environment.

      Delete

Got your panties in a bunch? Dig 'em out, get comfortable, and let's chat.