As someone who did historical research on the concept of perceived race and race perceptions regarding "whiteness," this is one of the most important...moreAs someone who did historical research on the concept of perceived race and race perceptions regarding "whiteness," this is one of the most important and comprehensive books written on the subject in the last decade. Painter covers a broad historical range, but focuses mainly on American perceptions of whiteness. While I'm sure European perceptions have changed throughout time, America presents the ideal catalyst for changing perceptions of race, etc.
This book is filled to the brim with information, it is not a light read, nor is it something for the casual reader of history/non-fiction. However, I still highly recommend it for anyone interested in their heritage, and why certain people were treated the way they were in American history. This is a particularly poignant piece of scholarship given the current issues of race and immigration in America. It needs to be read, studied, and talked about.
The reviewer is a 2009 graduate of Kent State University's Master of Library and Information Sciences program, an alumna of Antioch College, and the author of the blog A Librarian's Life in Books. (less)
I think Waters has been living Artifice as Art for so long that not even he's sure when he's being sincere. Something about this rang mostly false to...moreI think Waters has been living Artifice as Art for so long that not even he's sure when he's being sincere. Something about this rang mostly false to me. Rather than being an honest and open expression about the people who have influence and continue to influence his life, I feel like he just took the opportunity to remind everyone how weird he is. The entire book reminded me of one of the scenes from Augusten Burroughs's Running with Scissors in which he's doing something completely outrageous just to get attention. Somehow I doubt that was really Waters's intention, but that's certainly how it came off. I think the closest he gets to actually being honest with himself and his readers is during the chapters Leslie about Leslie Van Houten, Little Richard, Happy at Last, and Bookworm especially the part regarding Tennessee Williams.
There are certainly some shining moments in this collection, and if Waters is being completely honest with us it's definitely a deep look into why he is as weird as he is. I'm sure he was expecting to shock and titillate with his views on porn, fashion, and "art" but I was really just bored with those chapters because at that point it felt like he had put his special weirdo hat back on so we'd stop looking at him naked.
Sill, an excellently written book for someone looking for something off-kilter.
The reviewer is a 2009 graduate of Kent State University's Master of Library and Information Sciences program, an alumna of Antioch College, and the author of the blog A Librarian's Life in Books.(less)
Wes Moore writes an intriguing memoir and biography about another Wes Moore who has not been as fortunate...moreNote: Free copy from the Firstreads program.
Wes Moore writes an intriguing memoir and biography about another Wes Moore who has not been as fortunate as himself. Although they come from similar backgrounds, they end up with completely different fates. Moore's writing is strongest in his descriptions of poverty and the difficult choices he and the Other faced in growing up. Author Moore's message is strong and refreshingly non-accusatory, rather than ending the book with a pointed finger, he recognizes that if he hadn't been removed from his situation he very well could have ended up in a cell next to the Other.
There were some moments in the beginning when the narrative felt a little shaky, but as author Moore sometimes threw in details in odd places. However, once I became more engaged in the story these either became less noticeable or disappeared altogether. There was a definite focus on author Moore, but I saw this as a positive thing as it might perhaps lead other troubled people to look at the benefits of striving for success.
This is certainly a poignant commentary on the traps that young poor people fall into and sometimes can't get out of. I was extremely saddened to read of the Other's attempt to go on the straight path and was unable to maintain it simply because our country does not pay a living wage. Perhaps his situation could have been avoided if he didn't have as many children, etc., but the fact remains that he did have children and there were only so many hours he could work at part time, low paying jobs.
Moore's work is important only if things begin to change in these troubled areas of the city. If only I could ensure that the right people read it...