Rebellious sixteen year old Janie Rutherford had never spent much time thinking about Heaven. But now she's there. In The View From Here, Janie struggles to adapt and overcome her fear of not belonging. First she encounters The Teacher, an enormous black woman clad in a silver robe, who belittles Janie's link to the past ¬ a photo that she brought from her life on earth. As if it weren't already confusing enough, The Teacher then hands Janie a snapshot of a boy. "I don't know this person," Janie protests. "You ...
Rebellious sixteen year old Janie Rutherford had never spent much time thinking about Heaven. But now she's there. In The View From Here, Janie struggles to adapt and overcome her fear of not belonging. First she encounters The Teacher, an enormous black woman clad in a silver robe, who belittles Janie's link to the past ¬ a photo that she brought from her life on earth. As if it weren't already confusing enough, The Teacher then hands Janie a snapshot of a boy. "I don't know this person," Janie protests. "You will," The Teacher replies. Then turns away and calls out, "Next . . ."
On the other hand, her housemother, Mother Weir is a breath of fresh air for Janie. Old, but a rebel in her own right, she rules the home-place with a comforting but firm hand, assuring Janie and the other residents that it's perfectly all right that the Hereafter is not all skittles and beer. When Mother Weir takes Janie window shopping, first they see the next county up, which may one day be Janie's future. Window #2 looks into a nursery full of babies which becomes Janie's favorite place in the Hereafter. And, through Window #3, she revisits earth where her family is still grappling with her untimely death. Her memory floods back, and Janie remembers it all, including who the boy in the mysterious photo is and why she must carry him with her into the Hereafter.
The lessons she is beginning to learn in the Hereafter come from many sources. On earth, Janie put God inside a box. Here a peer mentor who calls himself Papa De guides her as she takes God out of the box and comes to understand there are no boxes strong enough to contain him.
It has been said that life is a journey. Janie Rutherford discovers that so is Heaven.
Jerrie Preston Oughton, a Georgia native, grew up in North Carolina where she graduated from Broughton High School. The English teacher who inspired noted novelist and Duke University Professor, Reynolds Price, Armistead Maupin, and novelist Anne Tyler, also touched a chord deep within Oughton. Jerrie dedicated her first book, How The Stars Fell Into The Sky to Phyllis Peacock. After graduation from Meredith College, where she was chosen Outstanding Student Teacher of the Year, Oughton taught elementary school in Raleigh.
Literary dreams for Oughton may have begun in Raleigh classrooms in the late 50's, but it took her tenacity to make it pay off almost 40 years later when she became a published author. The Magic Weaver of Rugs, her 2nd book was published spring of 1994 by Houghton Mifflin Co. and was also named by the National Council for Social Studies as one of the notable books of the year. Both picture books were featured in Smithsonian Magazine in their year-end celebration of the best in children's books.
Oughton's first novel for young adults, Music from a Place Called Half Moon, takes place in the mountains of North Carolina. This novel won the 1995 Bank Street College Award for exceptional literature for young people and was nominated for the South Carolina Junior Book Award for 1997-98. The War In Georgia, Jerrie Oughton's second novel for young adults was honored by the American Library Association by being placed on the 1998 list of Recommended Books for Young Adults. Perfect Family, a novel of teen problems, is a favorite among teenage girls. A gripping story of teen love gone awry in the fifties, its subtle message is one of empowerment for young women in today's world.
Since publication of her first book in 1992, Jerrie has made author visits to over three hundred schools and universities in Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, and Ohio. Jerrie delights in visiting schools and sharing her message of hope and hard work paying off.