Saturday, August 16, 2008
Nonfiction Book Review: The Color of Water
In the autobiography, The Color of Water, James McBride tells the emotional and inspiring story of growing up in Brooklyn, born to an African-American father and a Jewish mother. During his early youth, James recognized that his mother seemed different. Of course, as any youth would, he began asking questions. James asked his mother about the color of her skin, she remarked that she was simply light-skinned. James also asked what color God was and she said: “God is the color of water. Water doesn’t have a color.” When James asked if he was black or white, Ruth angrily said to him, “You’re a human being. Educate yourself or you’ll be a nobody!” He experienced racism and prejudice on the Brooklyn streets.
As an adult, James decided to lovingly pay tribute to his mother by revealing her story through a memoir. Ruth McBride’s story slowly unraveled over a period of fourteen years. Alternating with her story are chapters that relate the story of James McBride. As with any family, you will find that lives are interrelated – one life affects the entire family. Relationships can be vastly complex. Ruth McBride - the daughter of an Orthodox Jewish rabbi - married an African-American man during the year 1942. She was a strong, self-assured woman. She was often labeled as eccentric because much of the time, she rode an antique bicycle to complete errands. She was the single parent of twelve African-American children. She believed strongly in God, education and had an incredible faith and spirit. In fact, she remarkably made sure that each of her twelve children was sent through college and most through graduate school.
By reading this book, you will more fully understand the connection between family members whose lives are intertwined through love and determination. You will be truly inspired by their love of family and faith. The memoir beautifully illustrates what can be accomplished through love, determination and spirit – the ability to triumph over incredible odds.
To learn more about James McBride, visit his home page: James McBride: Author & Musician
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