Although the plot of COTTON ROCK is fictionalized, Anna's story is authentic. Its author describes the novel this I wove these stories, my own and my family's, into one. I placed it in the Ozarks, the home of my people. The stories changed in the weaving, but the love and loss, the hope and heartache, the glory and shame are all flesh-and-blood of my great grandmother who could name the medicine and magic of every Ozark plant; of my great grandfather, an Ozark circuit preacher; of my grandmother who ground sorghum into molasses and my grandfather who stole kisses from the girl in the burgundy dress-all are intertwined, as the river carves the land and the land shapes the river¬¬--a communal reciprocity traced most clearly in a small town like Cotton Rock. At root, it is Anna's her grappling with guilt and with her God who, she says, shot a hole in her heart. A soul-searcher in need of relief, Anna I'm going to put my life down in a notebook. I think writing it out will put it to rest, free me from thinking till my head is sore, keep me from traveling down worn paths leading into old, sad hollows, up to new ridges where there are things I don't know, down into sloughs so deep and dark, it feels like I'll never find my way out. - from Cotton Rock
J.S. Post co- authored two children’s books, Barnyard Boogie and Jungle Beat, and numerous award-winning songs for children. Cotton Rock is her first novel. Raising eight children, earning her Master’s degree in English, Janet also cared for her mother, a victim of Alzheimers. This task, coupled with her Ozark heritage, inspired her to write Cotton Rock. Co-creator of Reading By Ear, Inc., a musical reading program for children, Janet lives in Illinois with her husband, Jim Post, well-known folk singer and composer of the 1960s hit song, “Reach Out of the Darkness
Post’s Cotton Rock is a beautiful song of a book. She gifts the reader with authentic voices that are rich, strong, and timeless. Post has carefully crafted the voices of Cotton Rock to ring deep and true with that familiar harmony we each carry, memory Her prose reminds me of the play of shadow and light upon the water--alluring and intoxicating. She softly and gently guides the reader along side the journey of her characters. By the time you realize the hook is set, you want to be pulled into the boat and you are the better for it. Post is a great storyteller.
I absolutely loved listening to this book on WPR on Chapter a Day. What a beautiful story. Janet Smith Post is a beautiful writer. I wish I could write like Anna (character in the story). This story brought tears to my eyes several times. Very worthy book to read...
Cotton Rock, by Janet Smith Post (www.janetsmithpost.com), is one of the most lyrical books I've read in a very long time. A very fine example of literary fiction (not at all a chick book, but a wonderful read for all), this book reminds me of summer on the river, cool water on your feet, cicadas buzzing at sunset...you get the picture. About a college professor who comes to his grandparents - now his - cabin to recover from a life-changing event, he finds through the writing group he teaches, that he is not the only one that tragedy grabs at but, that everyone deals with pain, need, want and strong desire to change what has already happened. You can't change what has happened, only how you deal with it moving forward.
Cotton Rock is not only full of richly drawn characters, but sweet moments, exploration of the river and the heart, and some very funny moments as well. I laughed, I cried, I couldn't put it down. I see there are only a couple left on Amazon, but that the author has some availble on her website (above), as she is in the process of changing publishers. Go to her site and buy it- a great first read for your summer!
John Sinclair, a young professor on sabbatical, returns to a family cabin in the Ozarks to work on a novel and come to terms with the accidental death of his wife, who died during a period of increasing strife in their marriage. He meets several people of the nearby town while teaching a creative writing class at the local library. One elderly woman who writes particularly well is also confronting demons in her past through her journal. She and Sinclair become friends and support each other as they wrestle with the tragedies of the past. - Sharon, IT
Beautifully written! Not only do we get a glimpse into the world of the Ozark people, but we are invited to explore our own frailties and offer hope for redemption. "A grateful pie crust surely greases its own pan."