A scholar of Southern literature and culture, Jan Whitt has written a personal narrative about adoption, childhood abuse, and fifty years of searching for her family in rural Appalachia. A testament to the power of love and the resilience of the human spirit, Rain on a Strange Roof unflinchingly explores death and loss at the same time that it celebrates the transformative power of love and literature. An award-winning professor, Whitt teaches courses in American and British literature, literary journalism, media, and women's studies. Quoting from films, novels, and short stories about the American South, Whitt weaves a narrative about the necessity for human connection and the desire for home.
Contents Acknowledgements Introduction: The Reading Life The Ancient Mariner tells his tale. "Life is not a novel." The center doesn't hold. Chapter 1: An Imagined Childhood I've been putting it up my whole life. "Did you hear the rain one night?" Standing on the Radley porch is enough. Frankie Addams and Mick Kelly are the "we of me." Life is a slide show, flashes of light and color. Chapter 2: Southern Fictions Mrs. McIntyre watched while the tractor rolled. I turned to dust and stone. Laughter reverberates in Dixie. Some go to Lourdes, while others go to Rowan Oak. I long for days and times I only imagine I know. There are no memory chests in the attic. Chapter 3: Memory and Knowing "'Star Wars' must seem less strange to you." Byron Bunch and Addie Bundren are familiar to me. Adoption is a socially sanctioned lie. "Betty Ann Miracle" is written in her Bible. I hope they're together in the pretty green pasture. Chapter 4: Children Not Our Own Rachel Moore lives at the P.O. So much depends upon red wheelbarrows. Laura Flood and Matt Josey are my children, too. There are other voices, other rooms. "The truth is, it goes by fast, doesn't it?" Conclusion: Reconstructed (But Unregenerate) Reading great books saved my life. "And so they are ever returning to us, the dead." Appendix Works Cited Index About the Author