Kinfolks: Falling Off the Family Tree - The Search for My Melungeon Ancestors
Most of us grow up thinking we know who we are and where we come from. Lisa Alther's mother hailed from New York, her father from Virginia, and every day they reenacted the Civil War at home in East Tennessee...more
The whole book struck me as an example of self-involved "who AM I?" reflections. If she was looking into the history of her family, and their possible Melungeon ancestry, just because it's interesting or to know more about her family, I would ...more
I love the way this is written and the humor. It reads so quickly and comes across as an honest re-telling of her experience at each step of the way. It helps me to find surprises and interesting turns in my own DNA ancestry - and that there is no need to try and figure out "how" or "why" inform ...more
Thoughts: I THOUGHT THIS BOOK WAS AWESOME. Alther does a great job exploring what it's like to be a shade of gray in a binary world, and to my liking offers a very compassionate overview of injustices wrought against non-white folks throughout southern U.S. history. There is a recurring theme of living be ...more
It started off really slow and took a while to get into the story. It is also fairly intense - requiring school-like concentration to read in spots, so I wasn't always in the mood for it.
The book is filled with anecdotes from the author's life as well as her wry tongue-in-cheek comments about the w ...more
To be fair, I do have a dog in this particular hunt. I suspect that because my own child's parentage will always be 50% unknowable mystery, I bristle a little when people assign importance to ancestry. I tend to err on the side of who you are does matter and who your ancestors were doesn't, ...more
I did learn about the ties of the Moors/Turks to American Indians, and that was interesting-as I didn't know that.
I also didn't like the author. Growing up in Tenn/Vir, and moving to Vermont, she seemed real intent on proving herself as a intellectual northerner who escaped from the southern Hillbillies she grew up with.
I know the impulse to delve into the fami ...more
If you are interested in Melungeons, have tried to determine if you own relatives were or characterized themselves a Melungeon or any of this type of thing, then you might really dig this book.