Rain Is Not My Indian Name: What Really Happened

Quick Questions

  1. Whose grave does Rain visit at the cemetery?
  2. What is Queenie’s tribal heritage?
  3. What happened on that last night between Rain and Galen?

For Book Talks Or Your Journal


RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME is not a long novel, and yet a great deal happens within its timeline. Part of the reason that it is short is because, purposely, not everything is spelled out for the reader. Many people think of silence as an absence. But really, silence can say a great deal. Can you think of any examples of this in Rain’s narrative or in particular scenes?

What role does silence play in your own communication style?

Galen’s ghost

Rain decides that Galen’s actions regarding her and Queenie were motivated by his mother’s influence. Do you agree? How does finding out these past events affect Rain’s feelings toward Galen? How does she deal with that?

Author-ly Intentions

The theme and characters in a book are different for every reader because each brings to their own life experiences and perceptions. This may be especially true for novels like this one, which is more about asking questions than giving answers. Too often academic tests will ask what an author meant by this or that in a story, and the theory seems to be that there’s one right answer. There’s not. (Feel free to quote me on that.)

If you’re discussing this in a group, do any of you disagree about something in the story? Try to explain why you feel this way. Listen respectfully to one another. Remember that the relationship between every novel and each of its readers is a unique one.

Author Insights

The first person who I loved who died was my great uncle. I don’t remember how old I was, four or five. It’s one of my first memories. I don’t remember the funeral, but I do remember standing in the parking lot afterward. My mom told me that my uncle was living above the clouds in heaven. For years I would swing as high as I could to tell my uncle that I loved him and other, less important details of my day-to-day life.

I’ve always loved that idea, that a swing could give me some kind of portal to my loved ones who’ve passed away. That’s why the swings imagery is in the beginning and end of this story. That’s why I still swing sometimes.