Madeline Knight-Dixon's Reviews > Sag Harbor

Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Aug 08, 2012

really liked it

This book is… unexpected. When I began it, I thought it was a traditional coming of age story; there would be a challenge, a test of some sort, that the main character would have to get through in order to have grown into a new person by the end of the summer. But that’s not what this book is. It is simply a novel that recounts the summer of a teenage boy. It’s warm, sweet, at times a little sad but mostly as carefree as summer nights are.

Of course it is about Sag Harbor, the Hamptons for upper-middle class black people, and so clearly race plays an issue. But for these black kids growing up a world they don’t fit in because they’re black, they still aren’t oppressed or disparaged. If anything, it’s about them trying to find a balance between becoming to “street” and becoming too “white”.

I think the reason I liked this book so much was because I identified with it so strongly. My dad is a doctor, so although I’m half-black I grew up in a nice neighborhood and never really developed any stereotypical black traits. As I’ve gotten older, it’s become a constant struggle to attach myself to any one identity. This book gave me some insight, warning against the dangers of becoming too radically opposed to white people for the sake of appearing more involved in the culture. Fighting against injustice is not the same as hating white people.

So although it is carefree and fun to read, there’s an undercurrent of deeper racial issues that I found myself fascinated by. Not a huge fan of the ending, but it wrapped up the summer nicely. I seriously think everyone should read this though because surprise there are more well off black people than just the Cosbys (I know, you’re shocked).
6 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Sag Harbor.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.