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The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother (1995)
por James McBride
Black Authors (30)
» 13 más
Top Five Books of 2017 (113)
Books Read in 2019 (1,590)
Books Read in 2008 (80)
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An interesting memoir with gripping reflection and candor recounting the lives of a mother and child. As an adoptive mother this book resonated deeply in how physical differences can either divide us or bring us together. ( )
A fascinating memoir of a boy who grew up with 11 brothers and sisters. His story is told in parallel to that of his mother, the daughter of Jewish immigrants.
This story was weird. First, a disclaimer. I am Jewish (cultural, but no longer practicing), and the mother's family (also Jewish) was portrayed in the most unflattering way. Now, this is a memoir, so I'm assuming that most it was true. Nonetheless, it was hard to read. The mother ends up rejecting her religion and becoming seriously involved in the church. She also is a white woman who ends up having sex with/living with/marrying two different African American men - - and she immerses herself in the culture of Harlem. An unusual choice for a white, Jewish woman who grew up in the South.
What I found really odd, yet interesting, was that the mother made seemingly bad choice after bad choice - - yet most of her 12 children came out just great (2 doctors, a journalist/writer, other professionals, almost all with masters degrees). But when you are reading the book, you can't really figure out why other than the men she chose to have babies with were both very bright guys.
James, the other subject of the memoir, also makes quite a few bad choices (crime, drugs and more), and yet somehow, he too lands on his feet and ends up researching his family history for the book.
All in all, the writing is extremely well done, compelling, and engaging . . .James McBride is going to be speaking in Rochester, and I'm looking forward to his appearance.
One of my Top 20 books is "The Sellout" by the same author. Filled with laugh out loud humor, parody and plot elements rarely found in other stories, I felt somewhat compelled to read this memoir. And while mixed raced marriages aren't unusual, James' story is anything but. He toggles back and forth between his memories and his mother who's parents were Polish immigrants. Odd as it may seem, their racial views were antiquated making the fact his mother married a black man all the more curious. Rather than go into details, suffice it to say that his life path was filled with racial turbulence which is apparent in his books. If you're the sort that enjoys racially impacted memoirs or have read his books, you'll enjoy it.
13. The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride
readers: JD Jackson & Susan Denaker
format: 8:46 audible audiobook
acquired: February 4 listened: Feb 4-18
rating: 4½? 5?
genre/style: memoir theme: random audio
locations: Queens, and also 1930’s Virginia
about the author: American writer and musician born in New York City in 1957. He is a Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at New York University.
Wonderful. James McBride had an African American father who died before he was born, and a white Jewish mother, along with 11 mixed-race siblings. This is his and her stories.
James grew up in a housing project in Queens in the 1960's with stepfather who he only saw on weekends, but who he and his siblings and mother adored. Confused about his identity, and why his mother looked like his schoolteachers, it seems he would ask his mother a lot of questions, and she would answer as you might imagine a mother of 12 children answers, with dismissive non-answers. He mother only preached to him and his siblings about school and God. All twelve kids were sent to better schools, in white neighborhoods (with white teachers), and all twelve are well educated and successful. They attended different churches regularly, especially the one his mother helped his biological father found. And the kids would watch in embarrassment as Mommy, the only white person in the building, would lose herself in the religious moment.
It was only later, after James became a reporter, that he started to research his mother's family. Born in Poland to an Orthodox rabbi and a partially crippled mother, she became Rachel Shilsky in America, arriving at age 2, about 1922. Her school years were mostly in 1930's depression-era Suffolk, Virginia, where the family kept kosher, and her father, the rabbi, became a shopkeeper who catered the segregated black part of town, with heavily inflated prices.
When Ruth married a talented but unemployable musician, Dennis McBride, in New York in 1942, her family sat shiva. Dennis was unemployable because no orchestra would hire a black musician in the late 1930's. He worked other jobs. Rachel was cut off from a terrible father, but also her mother, two siblings, and her relatively wealthy extended family. She, in turn, gave up Judaism (and changed her name to Ruth).
McBride intersperses his life in chapters in his voice, with his mother's life in chapters in her voice, and presumably in her own words. (This is very effective on audio.) It gives the book a natural structure where the reader learns about his background roughly in a parallel trend to how he learned about it himself, growing up without answers.
McBride gives us a story about life, race, identity, growing up Jewish in Virginia in the 1930‘s, and losing that life. And my 2005 edition has a ten-year reflection, as this book was successful enough to change his career and impact his mother's life. This is special and well done. I finished thinking this is the best book I've ever listened to. I mean, it's not, but you know that feeling. It's really that good.
Recommended to everyone, even you. :)
Son begins interviewing his mother to write her story. He naively believes he can accomplish this in a couple of weekends. This lovely, warm narrative and auto-biological memoir illustrates the many near-miss tragedies that could have turned lives in totally different directions. Instead, the story is intertwined with the warmth of love, purpose and acceptance. One of my five (?) favorite books.
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Wie fatal die entschlossene Weigerung dieser Frau, irgend etwas anderes zu sein als sie selbst, sich auf die nächste Generation überträgt, macht den Leser schier atemlos. Wie erfolgreich sie und ihre Kinder andererseits Teil des amerikanischen Traumes werden, nicht minder. James McBride liefert mit seinem Debut nicht nur eine Familiengeschichte ab, sondern ebenso ein Sittenbild des amerikanischen Südens der 40er Jahre und New Yorks in der Mitte dieses Jahrhunderts. Und dieses Bild ist alles andere als schwarzweiß.
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Wikipedia en inglés (2)
Es ésta una historia jalonadapor cuestiones sociales, raciales y religiosas en Nueva York de los derechos civiles.
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Sistema Decimal Melvil (DDC)974.71004960730092History and Geography North America Northeastern U.S. New York New York (city)
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