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For use in schools and libraries only. An African-American man describes life as the son of a white mother and black father, reflecting on his mother''s contributions to his life and his confusion over his own identity.
"As James discovers the facts of [his white mother's] childhood, he hears about a disturbed family of Orthodox Jews living on the edge of a Southern town, in a no-man's land between the black and white communities. So the book tells two life stories, Ruth's and James's--both stories are gripping and unusuals. Both tell of human struggles in a country divided by religion and race."
"James McBride's efforts in re-creating his mother's life deserve much praise and merit. From his personal vantage point, we come to realize how serious our country's "racial cancer" really is; and the indisputable possibilities for survival....However, more captivating is what's written between the lines. For James, who craved to know his ethnic roots, inadvertently discovered the complexities of the human will and the courage manifested in the will to survive. He also discovered that along the cruel path that life bestowed upon them, the world that Ruth McBride Jordan built for her twelve children, with no money and no skills, became the difference between success and failure. 'The Color of Water' is in reality one woman's triumph over adversity and devastation."
"...[S]uffused with issues of race, religion and identity. Yet those issues, so much a part of their lives and stories, are not central. The triumph of the book--and of their lives--is that race and religion are transcended in these interwoven histories by family love, the sheer force of a mother's will and her unshakable insistence that only two things really mattered: school and church...it is her voice--unique, incisive, at once unsparing and ironic--that is dominant in this paired history, and its richest contribution....The two stories, son's and mother's, beautifully juxtaposed, strike a graceful note at a time of racial polarization."
"James McBride evokes his childhood trek across the great racial divide with the kind of power and grace that touches and uplifts all hearts."
"An eloquent narrative in which a young black man searches for his roots--against the wishes of his mother. Mc Bride, a professional saxophonist and former staff writer for the Boston Globe and Washington Post, grew up with 11 siblings in an all-black Brooklyn, New York, housing project. As a child, he became aware that his mother was different from others around him: She was white, and she kept secrets...McBride's mother should take much pleasure in this loving if sometimes uncomfortable memoir, which embodies family values of the best kind. Other readers will take pleasure in it as well."
From the Publisher
An African American man describes life as the son of a white mother and Black father, reflecting on his mother's contributions to his life and his confusion over his own identity.