Charles Dodd White, a professor of English at Pellissippi State College, has published four novels and a book of stories. That experience clearly solidified his view that writing is a process of discovery and illumination that allows us to process all kinds of challenging life events. With considerable courage, White, in this book, shares with the reader his attempts to process the suicide of his uncle, his father, and his son. Can close connections to the natural world and the wisdom revealed by immersion in family history and a commitment to pursuing a whole life make a difference or not? Fourteen essays grapple with white’s efforts. the result is stimulating and fascinating and worthwhile even for those of us whose challenges seem miniscule in comparison. Certainly, we all need to come to grips with patriarchy, violence, kinship and other issues here examined. “Many books linger forever in our minds. Only a few also linger forever in our hearts, and this is one of them.” - Ron Rash. “White has had to redefine ‘southern man’ beyond guns and toughness in order to forge his own identity and in order, really, to survive. but this book is also deeply about loss, about coming to terms with our own failures, especially as parents. There’s a tremendous tenderness and grace here—for the imperfect dead who have gone on, for the flawed family that we still can love, and for the strong yet humble self, in all our many mistakes. This is such a beautiful, powerful book. read it and be changed.” – Jim Minick.
Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 2022. 176 pages. Trade paperback.