Lindsey Stoddard has something in common with Rain, the narrator of her new young adult novel Right As Rain. Like the young girl whose life is uprooted when she abruptly moves from Vermont to New York City's Spanish Harlem neighborhood, Stoddard has experienced a similar locale change as well.
Stoddard was born and raised in Vermont, and taught English to middle school kids in New York City for more than a decade. She's since moved back to the Green Mountain State and now lives in Shelburne. Her book Right As Rain delves deeply into the contrasting environments of both places.
"It's a story about being uprooted and being part of things that are moving and changing, and how hard that is," Stoddard said.
The novel tells the story of a family's perseverance in the aftermath of heartbreaking tragedy. Rain’s beloved older brother Guthrie has died — and Rain feels partly responsible. Her narrative of secrecy and guilt is revealed slowly over the course of the book.
“As she’s gaining more confidence and as she’s gaining more partnerships and friendships throughout the book, that’s when her story starts to unravel and she starts to be able to say it to herself,” Stoddard said of Rain's tightly held secret about her brother's death.
Stoddard will be reading from Right As Rain at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier on Saturday, March 16 at 11 a.m. The event also features fellow Vermont author Ann Braden, who wrote The Benefits of Being An Octopus.
Listen above to Stoddard's interview with VPR's Mitch Wertlieb.