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Paperback The Color of Water : A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother Book

ISBN: 1573225789

ISBN13: 9781573225786

The Color of Water : A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother

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Book Overview

'James McBride evokes his childhood trek across the great racial divide with the kind of power and grace that touches and uplifts all our hearts.' - Bebe Moore Campbell 'A triumph...The two stories, son's and mother's, beautifully juxtaposed, strike a graceful note at a time of racial polarization.' - The New York Times Book Review

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Shades of gray

I feel almost silly adding another review when others have said so much already. So, I'll keep it brief. This is an extremely well written book. It flows seamlessly back and forth between time periods and generations until, before you know it, it's over. And, contrary to what some others have written, it is not obsessed with race. Race, as McBride presents his struggles, can be seen as a metaphor for exclusion. McBride's experience brings to life the consequences of the unfortunate human tendency to separate people into in-groups and out-groups, and to denigrate those who belong to any out-group. Most of all, this is a heartwarming story about the power of love to overcome trauma. I recommend it to everyone, and most especially to anyone who has ever felt that they didn't fit into someone else's dichotomous box.

A beautiful homage

I loved this book because it shows, in plain and clear terms, that a mother's love trascends everything. Even though the main focus of the book itself is on the mother's past and the circumstances that, for better or for worse, determined her life, and by extension the life of her children, what stuck with me the most is how very deeply loved this woman was by her children, which can only be a reflection of the devotion, love and sense of pride and purpose that she in turn instilled in them all while growing up, even in the face of bigotry.

A moving portrayal of a memorable family

James McBride gives us a wonderful memoir of himself and his mother, a Polish immigrant and Orthodox Jew, a daughter of a tyrannical rabbi father and timid, crippled mother, who dared to ask for something more of this life. Yet in doing so, Ruth McBride Jordan, nee Rachel Shilsky crossed what was once, and for some still is, an uncrossable barrier: she married not one, but two, black men, converting to Christianity along the way. She lost her Jewish family and isolated herself from both whites and, to a lesser extent, blacks, but raised 12 children who all became college-educated professionals. This is not a portrait of a saint, either mother or son. But both can forgive the other, something that Ruth's Jewish family cannot do. (That, by the way, should not be seen as representative of all Jews; indeed, the epilogue shows a moving scene in which James McBride gets in touch with his Jewish side in a very positive way. Many Jewish people are caring and understanding and not at all prejudice against blacks. Ruth's family wasn't among them.) Anyway, that these are not saints make the people more human, more believeable, more loveable. And by reading it, maybe we would become more accepting of families that don't look like our own. (Though I have to confess, I might be a little worried if a family with 12 kids moved in next door, regardless of the racial makeup! :-) )

A Great Book - A Wonderful Experience!

"The Color of Water" by James McBride is a beautifully written and memorable tribute by a black man to his white Jewish mother. I was so touched by the story of Ruth McBride Jordan and her 12 black children. Ruth, born Rachel Shilsky, is the daughter of a failed Orthodox rabbi and his handicapped wife,growing up in the South. She was abused by her father and was deserted by her family when she fled to Harlem and married a black man. As a widow she raised her 12 children by herself. There was very little money and hard times. However, she always instilled in her family her strong faith in God and her powerful belief in the value of a good education. She guided them through college and graduate school to become professional and successful adults.James McBride is such a gifted writer and the story just flows. I especially enjoyed the format of the book (each chapter switching back and forth from the life of the mother to the life of the son). I am so thankful to the author for sharing his wonderful story and for introduing his fascinating mother who said it all when she told him that God is "The Color of Water". I recommend you read this book....You won't be disappointed..It's the BEST!

The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother Mentions in Our Blog

Published by Emma Zaratian • May 06, 2019

Mother's Day is this Sunday. It's a holiday often known for family get-togethers and floral bouquets. It's also a time to reflect upon our relationships with our mothers, whose complex personalities have so unmistakably formed our own. To that end, here are some memoirs and novels we think explore the deeper dimensions of those maternal relationships.

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