George's Reviews > To Be Young, Gifted and Black

To Be Young, Gifted and Black by Lorraine Hansberry
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Mar 09, 11

Read from March 08 to 09, 2011

ENGAGING, ENTERTAINING, ENLIGHTENING AND POIGNANT.

“For them that will do ‘half’ when ‘all’ is called for; for them that will slip and slide through life at the edge of their minds, never once pushing into the interior to see what wonders are hiding there—content to drift along on whatever gets them by, ‘cheating’ themselves, ‘cheating’ the world, ‘cheating’ Nature! That is what “C” means, my dear child—”—page 44

“Eventually it comes to you: the thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is inevitably that which must also make you lonely…”—page 137

Has it really been almost fifty-two years since ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ was first produced on the stage?

‘To Be Young, Gifted and Black: Lorraine Hansberry In Her Own Words,’ adapted by Robert Nemiroff, is a different reading experience. It is a montage of journals, letters, articles, talks, interviews, musings and creative output of a gifted and eloquent mind that somehow works to tell her story.

Recommendation: As much as I’m loath to leave my eReader on the shelf, ‘To Be Young, Gifted and Black’ is one dead-tree-book for which sacrificing the forest was worth it. It might, however, be dated material. I’m not sure whether or not Ms. Hansberry’s life, and times, and wisdom will resonate with today’s young and gifted. I’d hope that they might.

A word and a warning about the Vantage Book edition: Although it is of a nice, compact, size for carrying about; unless you have exceptionally good eyesight, and have an affinity for reading incredibly tiny, tiny, tiny print, I’d suggest you avoid this edition.

Some more quotes from the book:

“I wish to live because life has within it that which is good, that which is beautiful, and that which is love.”—page 11

“The only sinful people in the world were dull people.”—page 18

“…the world will go on thinking and doing as it wants regardless. Who’s counting. Who even cares?”—page 171

“In life, adequate respect must be paid to the tenacity of the absurd in both human and natural affairs.”—page 176

“The acceptance of our present condition is the only form of extremism which discredits us before our children.”—page 213

Vantage Books, A Division of Random House, hardcover edition, 261 pages
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Reading Progress

03/08/2011 page 49
16.0% "Wow!"

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Juan (last edited Dec 04, 2014 02:37PM) (new)

Juan Mitchell I like the messages she has behind most of her sayings but I also disagree with her about her view of religion be a coping mechanism. Mainly since Lorainne Hansberry is was an atheist and I am Christian. Overall, her understanding of black culture in her plays were remarkable. Even the quotes you mention resemble the virtue or standard upon which Mrs. Hansberry writes this play. Especially the quote “In life, adequate respect must be paid to the tenacity of the absurd in both human and natural affairs.” (Page 176)


George Juan,

I'm very glad to read that you enjoyed the messages behind her words, if not so much the messenger. My impression of Lorraine Hansberry is that she was a person of grit and integrity, and those are characteristics I greatly admire. I also have to applaud much what she had to say. I very much enjoyed reading this book and hope that you did/will too. —George


George Juan,

I'm very glad to read that you enjoyed the messages behind her words, if not so much the messenger. My impression of Lorraine Hansberry is that she was a person of grit and integrity, and those are characteristics I greatly admire. I also have to applaud much what she had to say. I very much enjoyed reading this book and hope that you did/will too. —George


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