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The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to…
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The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother (1996)

by James McBride

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3,846801,343 (3.94)94
  1. 00
    Off-White: a memoir by Laurie Gunst (Manthepark)
    Manthepark: An interesting coming-of-age story of a Jewish girl’s connections with the African-American and white communities in Richmond, Virginia, and how those connections carried forward into her adult life.
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Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
This was a re-read for my book club and I enjoyed it even more the second time. It is exactly what the subtitle states, a tribute of a Black man to his White mother. It is also the story of the power of family and the power of determination. I would recommend it to anyone. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
Touching and real. The alternating voices of McBride and his mother allows the reader to enter into both characters and share in the truth that slowly unfolds to the son over his lifetime. It works well to keep the story moving and interesting. Ruth is an amazing woman, and her growth is no less admirable than the successes of her children. ( )
  TerriBooks | Jul 28, 2015 |
This is one of the best books I read in 2014. It was so beautifully written, and I feel that James McBride may have exorcised most his demons in the writing of this book. His mother's story was painful, and yet very uplifting. She was a true survivor.

Lovely. ( )
  quillmenow | Apr 6, 2015 |
Read this ONLY because it was a book club book. ONLY finished it because it was a book club book!!!! Completely unimpressed with James McBride and his story. Yes, it is satisfying that he and his many siblings made something of themselves after knowing about their childhoods and what they lived through, but that sum and substance. I absolutely do not recommend this book. AND I was in the clear minority of our bookclub's opinion of this book. ( )
  olongbourn | Mar 1, 2015 |
I had actually wanted to read this back when it was big, but never did. Anyway, we had it sitting on the shelf, and it came to mind when I was trying to think of something easy (but not too easy) to read to help me out of the reading slump I've been in. Turned out to be a pretty good book for it, actually. It's a memoir, which I'm discovering (against everything I'd ever suspected) to be a genre I'm really drawn to. And it has an engaging—though not overly serious—tone throughout.

The subtitle of the book is "A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother." James McBride is—sure enough—a black man who grew up with what he assumed to be a WASP mother. Which, growing up in Harlem during the Civil Rights era, would be drama enough. But then as an adult he gradually came to realize that his mother was actually a Polish-born Jewish woman. She had shed her Judaism, and an entire life along with it, many years before he was born. This book essentially tells the story of his quest to learn about that abandoned life, and along the way it's a fairly typical memoir of growing up. Or rather, it's two of them—in alternating chapters, he intertwines his own story with that of his mother.

Still, even if they are typical, these two stories are not uninteresting. McBride has a somewhat unique take on the racial tensions & struggles that surrounded him as he came of age. And his mother's story is both heartbreaking and triumphant, though one can imagine it being better told.

There's a lot to think about here, though I'm sure the story is even more complex than this telling of it. Still, worth reading. ( )
  spoko | Nov 14, 2013 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
I wrote this book for my mother, and her mother, and mothers everywhere.
In memory of Hudis Shilsky, Rev. Andrew D. McBride, and Hunter L. Jordan, Sr.
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As a boy, I never knew where my mother was from -- where she was born, who her parents were.
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Book description
About a black man who has a white mother and a complex with issues of race, religion, and identity.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 159448192X, Paperback)

Order this book ... and please don't be put off by its pallid subtitle, A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother, which doesn't begin to do justice to the utterly unique and moving story contained within. The Color of Water tells the remarkable story of Ruth McBride Jordan, the two good men she married, and the 12 good children she raised. Jordan, born Rachel Shilsky, a Polish Jew, immigrated to America soon after birth; as an adult she moved to New York City, leaving her family and faith behind in Virginia. Jordan met and married a black man, making her isolation even more profound. The book is a success story, a testament to one woman's true heart, solid values, and indomitable will. Ruth Jordan battled not only racism but also poverty to raise her children and, despite being sorely tested, never wavered. In telling her story--along with her son's--The Color of Water addresses racial identity with compassion, insight, and realism. It is, in a word, inspiring, and you will finish it with unalloyed admiration for a flawed but remarkable individual. And, perhaps, a little more faith in us all.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:27 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

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.

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