This brief collection of essays manages to touch on so much in a small space...so many aspects of the thorny questions of racial identity and identityThis brief collection of essays manages to touch on so much in a small space...so many aspects of the thorny questions of racial identity and identity itself in America today. As a multi-racial, multi-ethnic journalist who is not comfortable always pigeon-holing herself, the author answers questions I hadn't internally (or externally) verbalized. What is a person whose antecedents are white and American Indian (of unknown tribe) and African slaves and perhaps others? Even more what is her country?
As the author writes:
My country...is a messy affair, beautifully complicated and filled with black, brown, beige and white folks---some new to this country, and others, who've been here since, well, forever. My country has always been a multiracial/mixed-race country.
My family story is complicated and convoluted and filled with pain and denial. My family story is very much an American story, from my French-speaking American borne Creole grandfather to my Gullah/Russian Jewish/American Indian cousin in Brooklyn to my Aboriginal/African- American cousins in Perth, Australia.
But Wiltz has found as she traveled around the world that her racial identity was not as clear cut. In Afghanistan she was seen as either Indian or possibly Pakistani. Her feelings on the individual truths of our individual backgrounds...does it really matter from whom we came? I believe the answer to that question is a passionate yes. We've got to understand our past to deal with our present. They are inextricably linked.
And as she sees this new 21st century world we live in, Wiltz further challenges us. Our limited notions of race don't work with 21st century-style globalization. Our borders are too fluid, our cultures too connected.
As an ostensibly "white" person (if, in fact, there is such a being in this world), I found this a very interesting and educational book and recommend it highly.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley for the purpose of review....more
This coming of age novel set on a southern Marine base in 1957, uses the recent murder of Emmett Till and its effect on the developing mind and emotioThis coming of age novel set on a southern Marine base in 1957, uses the recent murder of Emmett Till and its effect on the developing mind and emotions of a 12 year old white girl to build a picture of a family and a society coming to grips with race. When Gabriella returns to her new home, on a new base, with this new knowledge, it affects how she interacts with all she meets that summer, especially Hawkins, her father's black steward, a highly decorated Marine from the Korean War.
Gabriella is also a girl on the cusp of her teenage years, a girl whose mother is mysteriously "away". Where, she doesn't know---she just wants to find her, make her better and bring her home.
Her inner thoughts propel the book; her interactions are not always what you would expect. This is a good reading experience for adults and young adults. I predict that the young adults may have some questions for their elders after reading it.
I was provided a copy of this novel by the author without commitment....more
This is a difficult book to read, as well it should be, a book of loneliness, deep sadness and alienation during an episode of fairly recent history.This is a difficult book to read, as well it should be, a book of loneliness, deep sadness and alienation during an episode of fairly recent history. During World War II, in fact, mere months after Pearl Harbor, thousands of Japanese residents of the United States were labeled enemy aliens and removed from their homes, transported across country to camps set up in the middle of the desert, inhospitable spots of searing heat in the summer and terrible cold in the winter.
This book is the story of one family, a mother, daughter and son, for the father has been removed separately. We readers witness the break up of the home, the reactions of neighbors, the long, long train trip and then arrival in what will be a new home for however long.
This is a spare book, a novella really, but every page is packed with earned emotion.
Highly recommended glimpse into an era that is little talked about in US history....more
As I said before, what a wonderful book. The characters are so well written and the setting actually seems to come to life in my mind. The tug of righAs I said before, what a wonderful book. The characters are so well written and the setting actually seems to come to life in my mind. The tug of right and wrong on Scout as she grows through childhood in the deep South includes learning issues of race in day to day living. Having a father like Atticus means that lessons will be learned in a different way, not through books, but through actions. Scout and Jem see what their father and other townspeople do from day to day in reaction to life's changes. They also see what happens when Atticus defends a black man charged with the crime of rape. This will probably lead to Scout's biggest lesson: acceptance of self and others.
Part of me wonders if I may actually have read this before....some scenes were just so right and almost as if remembered. If so, it must have been a very long time ago as I have no real memory of having done so.