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,