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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1479114693
  • ISBN-13: 978-1479114696
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,106,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Born in 1940, Catana Tully grew up in Guatemala. While she is black, she was raised by a white German couple who—while loving her and giving her every advantage—never formally adopted her. As she grew older, Tully was forced to confront her own privilege and alienation. Additionally, she worked to explore her past, reaching out to her biological mother's other children to learn about her mother, her father, and the strange circumstances surrounding her parenting. Tully, an able storyteller, relates an interesting, enlightening story, especially given the evolution of racial and cultural attitudes she witnessed during her lifetime.

Review

Tully, an able storyteller, relates an interesting, enlightening story. ... In engaging, elegant prose, this memoir unveils the blessings and pitfalls of growing up among an ethnicity and a culture different from one's own." -- PW Select review, Publishers Weekly

"For fans of Obama's Dreams From My Father, and Mark Whitaker's My Long Trip Home, this book is a must-read: a well researched, cinematic telling of a woman's search for her true identity." Hope Ferguson, ESC Exchange, Jan. 2013

"Split at the Root... explores the tangled feelings Tully experienced and how she became reconciled to her true identity." ESC, Connections. Spring 2013

"I recommend Split at the Root to anyone who has ever experienced the uneasy feeling that she doesn't quite belong." Karen Pickell May 6, 2013, The Lost Daughters, Review

"The details in this book were nothing short of transcendent. But the fact that she seeks to explain the happenings of her life is not only riveting, but reassuring as we are now finding that we as a culture are in a place where we can discuss how race shapes our identity, how ethnicity affects our lives and psyche. And SPLIT is a spectacular exploration of these elements. I recommend it as a read for everyone who wants to be moved, to think, and to join both Tully, myself and all her readers in a discussion of identity and inclusion." J.M. Blackman, Minority Report, May 9, 2013

"Our colleague, Catana Tully, who for many years served as a mentor at the Northeast Center and then International Programs, has recently published a deeply moving memoir that traces her incredible path in a trilingual German-Guatemalan family and her search for identity as a woman of color." Alan Mandell, SUNY ESC, All About Mentoring, Issue 43, Summer 2013

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 77 customer reviews
It is well written and insightful.
Kai
Split at the Root: A Memoir of Love and Lost Identity, by Catana Tully, is a story that is easy for any reader to relate to.
Tiffany L. Davis
I enjoyed reading this book very much and now and missing it!
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Upstate gardener on October 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This is the compelling life story of a young Carib child, torn from her roots in an obscure coastal town and raised by wealthy German expatriates in Guatemala City, who struggles throughout a lifetime to reconcile her European upbringing and white identity with her dark skin. Her story takes us on a multi-cultural journey from Central America and the Caribbean through Europe and then the United States, offering profound insight into the relativity of racial identity and cultural assumptions. The style of this autobiography is vivid, dramatic, and moving. Particularly noteworthy is the lush and powerful way in which she evokes the immediate sensory experience of her childhood - the colors, tones, tastes, textures and scents etched upon her sense of the world. The narrative is wonderfully dramatic, at many points almost cinematic, as she lays before us the scenes, the people, words and gestures that shaped the unfolding of her mind and spirit. Particularly compelling is her portrait of her German mother, a strong woman of mature years, honed through difficult experience to face life squarely and independently, who struggles to prepare her Mohrle (little Moor) to find a place in educated and sophisticated society where her radiant spirit and keen intellect will outshine her dark skin. She teaches Mohrle the importance of the proper "frame," and we see Mohrle build a series of protective frameworks in both her inner and outer worlds. We see her shape and play a role in life, and do not wonder but only cheer at her success as an actress of European stage, cinema and television. A move to the United States challenges all her protective frameworks as she discovers the difference between having dark skin and being Black in America.Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Grandma TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
A couple of weeks ago Catana Tully's publicist wrote to offer me a review copy of Split at the Root: A Memoir of Love and Lost Identity. I do not often review memoirs, but I found the description of this one particular intriguing - a black child raised by a German family in Guatemala during the World War II years. Let me tell you what I found so very fascinating about this description.

A couple of decades after the end of World War II I spent a few years living in Germany. As a matter of fact, I was probably in Germany at about the same time that Catana was, though I lived in a different part of Germany. In the Germany that I knew there were no blacks other than American servicemen and sometimes (rarely) their wives. None. Not on the TV, not walking down the streets. None. And in the part of Germany that I lived in, there were still places were people were abominably rude to American servicemen (especially in uniform) and doubly so if they happened to be black.

Chalk it up to youth and a certain naiveté I suppose, but when I helped a dear friend trace her genealogy back into Eastern Europe about five years ago I had the shock of my life as that trail wandered back to the very part of Germany where I had lived, a part of Germany that I learned had been a hotbed of the Nazi party, home to an infamous SS center & prison and not very far from the facility where the Nazis first gassed the infirm in the early 30s. I was even more shocked to come across pictures of pre-Hitler German children who happened to be black. I suppose that I shouldn't have been - I had, after all, heard of German East Africa - but there it is.
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Herrick-Weatherstone on June 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I rarely regurgitate the author's words in my reviews, much preferring to keep them short. No difference here! Just do me one favour if you like well written memoirs without bitterness and with an enormous amount of intelligent self observation then buy this book. I have one complaint, I am terribly short of sleep having delved into this memoir two nights ago, addictive book. Catana Tully you are one interesting woman!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By kim Luyckx on November 15, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This memoir tells the tale of a woman's quest to discover her heritage and, ultimately, herself. Although Catana's story is unique and the book's setting is distinct, it is, in fact, everyone's story.

Raised by a White, European family, Catana is an African Hispanic (a term she uses in the novel to categorize herself) whose cultural perspective and inner conditioning are in direct contrast with her outer shell. You cannot help but step into Catana's shoes as she unveils her true identity and reacquaints herself with the family she left behind. In her search, she becomes the multicultural person that she was truly meant to be. Through her honesty and global awareness, Catana blends a mixture of societies that were, and continue to be, held in deep contrast, especially in the United States.

Split at the Root is a story of great historical significance for all persons interested in coming to terms with diversity. Family secrets, lies, protections, cultural viewpoints, racism and biases are brought to the surface and faced in grace and acceptance.

The richness of the tale entices you to travel along with the storyteller and then you are bound by the experiences that you share. It's a beautiful narrative that you will never forget.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

As the author's life unfolded it appeared to many that it was very much a fairy tale, and she was encouraged repeatedly to write about her magical experience. However, not until international/interracial adoptions became a popular development, did she decide to write about important issues in her experience of having grown up and lived, all her life, among a race and a culture different to her own. The privileged existence began in a humble abode at the end of a Guatemalan jungle river. However, she was raised by a German family and grew up fluent in German, Spanish, and English. Catana attended the best private schools and in tenth grade entered an exclusive international boarding school in Jamaica, WI where she completed the AL Higher Schools Certificate from Cambridge University, England. Expecting to become an international interpreter, the author continued her studies at a language academy in Munich, Germany. However, she was called to work in a play and discovered an affinity and talent for the dramatic arts. As the actress and fashion model Catana Cayetano, she worked on the Stage, in Films, and TV in Germany, Austria, and Italy. In Munich, she married Frederick V. Tully, an American actor and TV announcer, and had a son. Ultimately the family moved to the United States. No longer interested in acting, Catana completed various degrees including a DA (Doctor of Arts) in Humanistic Studies in Upstate New York. She retired from her position as tenured Associate Professor at SUNY Empire State College in 2011 to dedicate herself to publishing Split at the Root: A Memoir of Love and Lost Identity, her first book. What seemed like a fairy tale life to others was not necessarily so for the protagonist. That will become clear to the reader as she/he follows her on a journey that uncovers issues Catana faced, from the perspective of the exotic child adopted into a White world. The writer reveals how the magic carpet her adoptive German mother so lovingly and carefully wove for her, could at times become a mangy rug to be cruelly pulled from under her feet. This book is intended to be a gift to parents who have adopted exotic children, and to those children who are growing up removed and alienated from their ethnicity and culture.

You can learn more by visiting the website www.splitattheroot.com, and following her blog.

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