In the Days of Rain: A Daughter, a Father, a Cult

Rebecca Stott. Random/Spiegel & Grau, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8129-8908-3
In this compelling memoir, Stott (Darwin’s Ghost) peers deeply into her family history in order to uncover the reasons her family, particularly her father, were immersed in the Exclusive Brethren, a branch of the Christian evangelical movement Plymouth Brethren that shuns books and mainstream culture. For much of her childhood, Stott couldn’t go to the movies or even to her friends’ houses to play and she lived in fear of the punishment that came from violating the strict separatist rules of the Brethren. On his deathbed, Stott’s father gave her his unfinished memoir and in it she learned more about the sect and the depth of her father’s involvement. Stott’s father, Roger, was a high-ranking minister in the brethren and started working on his own memoir in about 1999, but abandoned it when he had difficulty writing about the sect’s so-called “Nazi years.” Stott learns the sect’s history—that a man named James Taylor Jr. became the leader of the brethren in 1959 and hardened the lines of separation between the sect and the world, banning members from joining professional associations and from eating with nonbrethren, for example. Following a sex scandal involving Taylor, the Stotts ultimately left the Brethren in 1973. Stott shares moments with her father after their departure from the sect, such as listening to Paul Simon’s music, that reveal another side of him. In this affecting memoir, Stott is able to distance herself from her difficult childhood and brilliantly capture the challenges of her family’s days in the brethren. Agent: P.J. Mark, Janklow & Nesbit. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/22/2017
Release date: 07/04/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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