HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

I'm Down: A Memoir

by Mishna Wolff

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4044054,279 (3.69)16
Mishna Wolff grew up in a poor black neighborhood with her single father, a white man who truly believed he was black. "He strutted around with a short perm, a Cosby-esque sweater, gold chains and a Kangol-telling jokes like Redd Fox, and giving advice like Jesse Jackson. You couldn't tell my father he was white. Believe me, I tried," writes Wolff. And so from early childhood on, her father began his crusade to make his white daughter down. Unfortunately, Mishna didn't quite fit in with the neighborhood kids: she couldn't dance, she couldn't sing, she couldn't double dutch, and she was the worst player on her all-black basketball team. She was shy, uncool, and painfully white. And yet when she was suddenly sent to a rich white school, she found she was too "black" to fit in with her white classmates. I'm Down is a hip, hysterical, and at the same time beautiful memoir that will have you howling with laughter, recommending it to friends and questioning what it means to be black and white in America.… (more)
  1. 00
    Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home by Rhoda Janzen (amyblue)
    amyblue: Both books are funny and thoughtful memoirs of somewhat unusual childhoods.
None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
I’m Down

I Picked Up This Book Because: The title with the picture and the blurb.

Media Type: Audiobook
Source:CC Public Library
Dates Read: 6/3/22 - 6/6/22
Stars: 3 Stars
Narrator(s): Mishna Wolff

The Story:

I’m left with some really strange, not altogether positive impressions of Mishna’s childhood and her parents. I feel like the ending was abrupt and that might be because I have no idea who Mishna is as an adult so I don’t have a full picture like I have in most other memoirs I’ve read.

The Random Thoughts: ( )
  bookjunkie57 | Jun 7, 2022 |
Adult nonfiction; memoir. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
An amusing, absorbing, fresh memoir unlike any other I have read. Funny, sometimes heartbreaking, the author shares her life through age 14, leaving me hungry to know what high school and young adulthood were like for her. As the sole white kid (other than her sister) at school, track team, day care, church...her childhood in Seattle was not like the black kids and not like the white kids. Then she is sent to a private school, where everyone has enough to eat and no one understands what it is like to be poor. But she comes to realize that many of those upperclass kids have their own kind of poverty and deprivation in their families. ( )
  AnaraGuard | Nov 1, 2020 |
Although this has a few amusing anecdotes its not that interesting or compelling. I usually enjoy memoirs but this one doesn't do anything for me and I have no interest in reading any further. ( )
  baruthcook | Aug 26, 2020 |
When a white child grows up in a white family with a father who thinks he’s black, acts like he’s black and expects his wife and 2 very young daughters to be just as black as the neighborhood they are growing up in, it can be a bit unnerving. Sure, he fits in, having grown up there and already making his mark, but in the few years away, when the children are born, there is a separation that Mishna, at just 6, can’t quite bring together.

When her parents divorce shortly after, she and her younger sister stay with their father while their mother deals with life as it is. Forced to attend a summer “day camp” while their dad works, Mishna finally finds the voice to “cap” back at the other kids who ridiculed her as soon as she walked through the door. With new found chutzpah, she attains the friendships she desired as well as the confidence to gain a few more.

Finally making her way in school, she is again upheaved when she is sent to a different school for smarter kids. Rich kids. Still trying to please her father, who seems to prefer her dumb & cute, she is tasked with tending to her younger sister, her homework, the extra curriculum he signs her up for, and to adore his new girlfriends, as long as they are.

Wanting a better future, she decides, at 12 years of age, that scholarships are her ticket to the best college, but how? Knowing her father got in via football, she sets her goal for bulking up to play. In the meantime, she joins a swim team and soon excels at the breaststroke. So much so, she is asked to join a real team, but she wants the glory of football, because, after all, “It’s not like you sit down and watch Monday night swimming.”

Home life escalates into animosity over Mishna’s desire to better herself and the needs involved with such. Her father has remarried, his new wife supports them all with the addiction of her own two children and feels Mishna should be contributing more, monetarily and domestically. Arguments erupt, Mishna continues to subjugate herself, hoping to appease, and continues to fail. Realizing she can never be all, she leaves to live with her mother, finding a new peace and outlook on life. Wisdom enters with the realization that even rich kids have messed up lives and she needs to own her own, center herself, to attain any goals she holds.

If you loved The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, you will equality enjoy this. Filled with much the same parents, sibling adoration, smack-yourself-in-the-head situations and financial deprivation, it is inspiring to see her win in the end. ( )
  CherylGrimm | Dec 4, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Mishna Wolff grew up in a poor black neighborhood with her single father, a white man who truly believed he was black. "He strutted around with a short perm, a Cosby-esque sweater, gold chains and a Kangol-telling jokes like Redd Fox, and giving advice like Jesse Jackson. You couldn't tell my father he was white. Believe me, I tried," writes Wolff. And so from early childhood on, her father began his crusade to make his white daughter down. Unfortunately, Mishna didn't quite fit in with the neighborhood kids: she couldn't dance, she couldn't sing, she couldn't double dutch, and she was the worst player on her all-black basketball team. She was shy, uncool, and painfully white. And yet when she was suddenly sent to a rich white school, she found she was too "black" to fit in with her white classmates. I'm Down is a hip, hysterical, and at the same time beautiful memoir that will have you howling with laughter, recommending it to friends and questioning what it means to be black and white in America.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.69)
0.5 1
1 3
1.5 1
2 9
2.5 2
3 32
3.5 8
4 50
4.5 5
5 27

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

» Publisher information page

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 179,860,102 books! | Top bar: Always visible