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My Time Among the Whites: Notes from an Unfinished Education

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  255 ratings  ·  53 reviews
From the author of Make Your Home Among Strangers, essays on being an “accidental” American—an incisive look at the edges of identity for a woman of color in a society centered on whiteness

In this sharp and candid collection of essays, critically acclaimed writer and first-generation American Jennine Capó Crucet explores the condition of finding herself a stranger in the country whe
Paperback, 208 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Picador
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
I wanted to read this after some students in Georgia burned the author's books after she spoke there. I'd say there's a bit of shared thematic content between this group of essays and her novel, Make Your Home Among Strangers, but this is a quick read and moves farther into the present. Not surprisingly, the Georgia incident is not the first time she's had to deal with white tears at a college when she has been brought there for the campus read.
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A searing look at white privilege based on the authors personal experiences as a first generation Cuban American navigating college and post graduation life. As uncomfortable as this book will make a lot of people the truth is that it’s supposed to make us uncomfortable. We need hard truths sometimes to shake things up and make real change. I also know this book will provide a lot of comfort for those that too find themselves a fish out out of water for when they feel unworthy or lost among a se ...more
Chris Gonzalez
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of book I wish I had around when I was a freshman in college, that might have made navigating the whiteness and white spaces a bit easier. It also would have opened my eyes to some unchecked behavior and thoughts I used to have, too. These are incredibly strong and compelling essays with a touch of humor that speak to today.
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I meant to savor this book and read it over the course of several days, but Crucet is so thoughtful and hilarious I ended up reading it in one sitting. (Though I will definitely be revisiting.)

Also, full disclosure, I’m a Cuban-American who grew up in Hialeah and went to the northeast for college, then got my MFA in fiction, so I’ve been counting down the days til publication for this one. I cried a lot. I wish this book had been in the world years ago, and I’m so glad it is now.
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Loved! My Time Among the Whites is an instant favorite essay collection. I was immediately captured by Crucet’s writing, and her thoughtful observations about topics ranging from being a first generation college student, to her complicated love of Disney world, to whiteness and institutionalized racism in academia. Crucet is witty and whip smart and convicting. As a white person, this book opened my eyes to places of privilege I wasn’t previously aware of in unexplored nooks of my experience. I ...more
Oct 12, 2019 marked it as to-read
I had not heard about this author until this morning. Now after students burned her book in Southern Georgia, I am most interested in reading about her experiences. This past summer I visited Berlin and was on the Bebelplabtz, the site of the 1933 Nazi book burnings. Now this morning, I am reading about book burning in 2019. According to a Washington Post article, The university is not planning to discipline any students for the burning incident, said Jennifer Wise, a university spokeswoman. ...more
Ericka Clouther
Capo Crucet is a Cuban-American woman that's approximately my age that moved to Nebraska, and I'm a Cuban-American that moved to Nebraska, so I was pretty excited to read this collection. I don't have the same Florida ties but I did live in a particularly Cuban-area of New Jersey until I was 6.

I could definitely relate to some of the ideas expressed by the author. For example, I also always have to field the "have I ever visited Cuba" question. Capo Crucet didn't explain why that one is tough (
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
The first and last 2 essays had the biggest impact on me. I saw myself in key parts and felt like I was listening to someone who understood and maybe has figured out things I'm trying to (especially professionally).
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Her essays are powerful and engaging. I really want to read her fiction now.
La'Tonya Rease Miles
Using Chekhov's Gun

There's an old saying often (misattributed to Shakespeare) that writers should never show a gun in the first act that isn't fired by the final act. Or something like that. In other words, don't bother giving a detail or introducing a theme unless you plan to do something with it later. Otherwise, you are just navel gazing and being kind of a show off.

Crucet takes this advice to heart making these collection of essays feel like parts of a greater whole.
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Remarkable essays written by a Cuban American and her brush with “whiteness.” I love the culture clash with her Cuban-born parents.

Thanks to the publisher for the advance copy!
Gisselle Diaz (gissellereads)
I loved this book and read it in a few sittings! There were so many ways I related to some of the stories. I laughed, cringed and even teared up while reading it. The essays are thought provoking and funny at times.

This book not only talks about White privilege but also about the privilege some of us latinx have because we look white. This is something I think about a lot because I am Puerto Rican and I get told all the time “but you don’t look Puerto Rican” or “You don’t have an accent”. It’s
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a first generation American, a daughter of Cuban refugees, this book gave me all the feels.

"The American Dream, commonly told: .... When they are born, you give your kids white American names so that their teachers can't tell what they are before meeting them, so that your kids don't suffer the way you suffered in school, and so that they won't eventually be 'inexplicably' denied apartments and jobs despite their abundant qualifications." (p28-29)

Oct 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Not familiar with the author but the title grabbed my attention straight away. A parody of those titles where (the usually white) person visits an "unexplored" land or planet, etc. and writes about their time living among the "natives," I thought this would be an interesting. The author takes us through what it's like navigating the US in various spaces while being visibly non-white and not necessarily understanding the nuances of the cultural, political, societal details as such.

The first essa
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
This was a timely read; the book is fairly new, and the author has been in the news recently--she spoke at a Southern university and some students took exception, I guess, to her characterization of white privilege and decided burning her books was an appropriate response. ?? Well, I'm glad this copy was available to me because it was a treat--beautifully written and a marvelously well done examination of privilege and the spaces we inhabit. I plan on looking up some of her fiction.
c2 cole
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Interesting ideas on race/ethnicity in society in an easy to read format. It would be interesting to discuss the view and problems presented in the book with the author or in a mixed group. Unfortunately, that isn't likely to happen where I live.
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: race, education
An easy to read collection of essays with the main theme of the author's experience growing up Cuban, her privilege (and lack of privilege, depending on the situation), and her family. I really enjoyed this and found it enlightening as well.
Irene (Read.Rewind)
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
4/4.5 Honest, insightful, even funny at time.
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
After some white students at Georgia Southern University burned this book in an informal protest, I had to read it. What ideas are that threatening? It's a collection of essays about navigating the world as a first generation student, as a person of color, and as a member of an immigrant family from Cuba. My favorite is the first one -- about the author's experience getting into and going to Cornell -- but some others about travel are also interesting. There are several essays about tourist dest ...more
Tess Malone
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a sharp and searing essay collection that really tackles the uncomfortable nuances of race with personal stories and dark humor. Crucet is best when examining larger racial issues from her personal experience, from being the first generation going to college to her father’s health.
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, memoir, essays
This collection of essays was really great. Jennine Capo Crucet writes in a very conversational way -- like she is telling you a story or answering a question: What was your first year of college like? How was your move to Nebraska? How do you like being a professor? -- and once you're hooked, she opens up the story with nuance and depth to explore issues of race, ethnicity, and being a first-generation Cuban-American. I saw her on a panel with Mira Jacob at the Decatur Book Festival, and the ti ...more
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My Time Among the Whites: Notes from an Unfinished Education by Jennine Capo Crucet is a collection of essays about white spaces, family, and etc. These essays are extremely beautiful. I would read one essay and would have to just take a moment to take it in because it reminded me so much of my mother and my childhood. I honestly was not prepared for how much I would relate to this book and cry.

All of the essays will always stay with me, but the one that personally stood out to me was abou
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle Elizabeth
I did not like the content of the book but I did like the essays. We start out going to college and choosing to go to Cornell on a partial scholarship was chosen over going to University of Florida on a full scholarship. Her whole family went with her to drop off and stayed for weeks. No where in the welcome packet did it say when parents leave after drop off. Not even someone at freshman orientation telling them to leave was a clue.......................

OK, I have to stop right here
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wish the students at Georgia Southern who burned this book after author's on-campus talk about white privilege would instead read it. might learn something.

She's a Cuban-American novelist from south Florida who was a first-generation college student and is now a -tenured professor at U. Nebraska. Essays touch in various ways on the theme stated by the title -- her perspective on having gone to Disney World a lot as a kid and into adulthood, on marrying and then divorcing a white gu
Sachi Argabright
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
MY TIME AMONG THE WHITES is an honest and insightful collection of essays from Cuban American writer and professor, Jennine Capó Crucet. Known for her acclaimed works of fiction, this collection reflects on Crucet’s life and what it truly means to be a person of color in the America of today.

This slim collection blew my expectations away. I thought this would be a heavy read, but it was very approachable and easy to read. While she covers serious issues, it’s not too “academic” and i
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, 2019-read
I loved this book of essays. The daughter of Cuban refugees, Crucet writes about her relationships with her family, whiteness and white supremacy, being a first gen college student, working in academia, and the consequences of sexual violence. I especially liked reading about her lifetime adoration of Disney World (and the consequences of buying into the fantasy), as well as her essay on trying to account for both Cuban and white cultural mores while wedding planning (and her subsequent wedding ...more
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, 2019
Thank you to Macmillan-Picador and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Beautiful, intimate prose that deeply touched me - I am not a POC, but grew up a foreigner and cultural outsider in the US, raised by parents that were in many instances clueless about what that meant for me as their (oldest) child. The remarkable openness with which the author reflects on her upbringing, what shaped her, and the mindsets she encounters is in turn hilariously funny, touchingly vu
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very good collection of essays written by Jennine Capo Crucet, which made me realize how much I didn't know about Cuban-Americans.

She mostly (but not only) explores how it took her to actually leave Miami (and go live in Nebraska of all places) to realize she had pretty much always thought of herself as white, being fair skinned and Cubans being so plentiful in her area. Living in a very very white part of the country sadly taught her she was seen as "other" by way too many people.
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