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The Color of Love: A Story of a Mixed-Race Jewish Girl

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  767 ratings  ·  116 reviews
Winner of the 2020 Midwest Book Award in Autobiography/Memoir, The Color of Love is an unforgettable memoir about a mixed-race Jewish woman who, after fifteen years of estrangement from her racist great-aunt, helps bring her home when Alzheimer's strikes.

In 1970, three-day-old Marra B. Gad was adopted by a white Jewish family in Chicago. For her parents, it was love at fir
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 12th 2019 by Agate Bolden
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 ·  767 ratings  ·  116 reviews

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Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You'd better read this book because my input, from my own perspective as a 99.9% Western Ashkenazic Jew (according to will never suffice. See those stars up at the top, though? I'm sticking to them. Fact: If you are a white parent of non-white Jewish kids [homegrown OR by adoption], you will never know it all. Take a seat, because class is in session now and for the rest of your life.

Racism endures in large part because it takes on many disguises and comes from unexpected sources.
Chelka Posladek
Dec 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
3.5 stars.
I want to give this more stars, but I hesitate. As others have said, it's "important." It's touching. It's informative. It's easy to read and easy to connect to the author. BUT. There are really two stories here, and I had a hard time feeling like I was reading just one book. The stories are certainly connected, largely by cast of characters. The author did a great job of trying to wrap everything together under the umbrella of love (living a life of love, choosing love, making love t
Liza Wiemer
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I heard the author speak for Hadassah and pushed the book to the top of my reading list. Marra's memoir is an important one, showing the reality and pain of racism within the Jewish community as well as within her own family. It angered me and saddened me. But I'm also grateful because Marra puts it all out there. Maara's an extraordinary person and her warmth, kindness, compassion, thoughtfulness shines through on every page. She is truly a beautiful person, exemplifying ahavas yisroel and what ...more
Reads & Reviews
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Color of Love, by Marra B. Gad, is an important look into racism that exists across cultures. Gad, a biracial woman adopted into a white, Jewish family, faced racism her entire life from family members to strangers. Sensitive and wanting only to be loved for who she was on the inside, Gad’s book is hard to read at times, but also filled with the love from her immediate family and hope that one day society will only see who we are rather than what we are.

While difficult to read at times due t
This memoir takes a good look at prejudice and discrimination in the Jewish faith. Those who believe that a race or religious group, that has faced tremendous prejudice and persecution, is far less likely to be prejudiced against others are in for a rude awakening. Actually, the more one strongly identifies with a race or religion, the more likely one is to discriminate against others outside of the group.

Marra Gad was adopted as a baby by a Jewish couple. The adoption was arranged by a rabbi, s
Kelsi Hasden
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
I couldn't finish the book. As a mixed race Jew, who has had similar experiences, I couldn't handle how strongly the Tragic Mulatto ran through her story. I don't need every story to have a happy ending, but I do need it to try to not follow negative and damaging stereotypes. I will try finishing it at a later date. ...more
Oct 26, 2020 rated it liked it
I found Marra's story interesting, and I'm sure it was cathartic for her to write about her experiences. It is sad that we let people who hurt us and don't care about us take up so much of our thoughts, time and effort.

I related to many aspects of the book: I know someone who is mixed race and had some of the same challenges; I dealt with my mother's Alzheimer's, which in later years was marked by a huge change in personality; and I now people who went to the same camp at Marra.
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a compelling memoir written in a thoughtful and sophisticated manner. The story was gripping and makes one truly believe that truth is stranger than fiction. Full disclosure, I know the author and many of the people in the book and yet I still was moved by the story and impressed with the humanity of it all.
Mar 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Touching story of a mixed-race Jewish girl. When Marra wrote about herself, I loved what she had to say. I didn't much care for the other part of the story, Marra's care for her elderly great aunt who always belittled her. All in all, the writing is lovely and Marra's voice is genuine and beautiful. ...more
Shelley Sherman
it is difficult to review a memoir while trying to avoid reviewing the actions the person took in her life. I am pained by the hurtful things that Marra endured from her own relatives and members of her Jewish community. She was extremely fortunate to have been adopted into a super loving home with parents who were wise and supportive. Lots of kids without her particular challenges aren't that fortunate. But this wasn't wholly the book i expected, which was promoted as a mixed race child being r ...more
Lilli Leight
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ownvoices
An incredibly powerful narrative about racism, ageism, love, family, forgiveness, Judaism, and life.

Growing up adopted, multiracial, Black, and Jewish wasn’t easy for Marra B. Gad. She holds nothing back in her memoir. The book focuses on her experiences with her racist great aunt Nette. Through that lens, she is able to convey her experiences with racism throughout her life both in and out of the Jewish community. Her prose is engaging and straightforward. Gad takes a conversational approach t
Rachel Linfield
Oct 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
This incredibly powerful memoir illustrates the deeply held prejudices that plague our own communities. Marra reveals the pain and discrimination she experienced as a mixed race woman growing up in a Jewish community. I was inspired by her ability to forgive and reflect upon her experiences to move forward. This work pushed me to continue thinking about how our Jewish spaces must better empower the voices of all of people. This book was a quick read and gave space to a conversation that I wish h ...more
Elaine Wingfield
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was a quick read. I enjoyed the outlook of how people often worry of what society thinks of us, but in reality some of the worse battles we fight to gain love are within our own families. The color of love is a great story of how she faced so much hatred yet she eventually learned to truly love herself. I can relate to so much of her struggle to be loved by family.
Beth Lewis
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An amazing story, incredibly relatable and heart-wrenching at the same time.
Lisa Feld
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
As Gad herself says of her choice to care for her racist great-aunt, this was not a decision she made out of saintliness, and it certainly wasn’t because her aunt had earned forgiveness. But NOT doing something would have meant living with and being defined by anger and resentment, not a viable option for Gad’s sanity.

Gad’s portrayal of her complex relationship with her sophisticated, adventurous, and painfully racist Great Aunt Nette serves as a window into the ongoing struggle Gad faces to be
Jul 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Color of Love was a fascinating look into the life of a mixed-race Jewish girl. Adopted by a white Jewish family at birth, Marra and her nuclear family faced racism from many angles, including members of their own family. I was both heartbroken for Marra, for the hurt she's had to endure - and continues to endure -due to the color of her skin, but also extremely impressed by her ability to act with grace and love towards those who have harmed her. She teaches us important lessons throughout. ...more
Amy Ariel
Oct 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-challenge
I just do not like memoir.

However, I promised I would buy new and read this book when I read on Facebook that Marra had received an overtly racist reception at the URJ Biennial. It took me too long to get to it, but now I have.

1. I think the Jewish community needs to read this book. Marra was born to a Jewish woman and adopted by a Jewish couple. So many pieces of her personal history are invisible in the Jewish community: a Jewish woman unmarried and pregnant, a white Jewish woman pregnant wi
Vanessa Ehrlich
We are getting ready to read this book for book club in the summer of 2o20. I think that after a summer of racial injustice we will have much to discuss. It was particularly interesting since it was set in the Chicagoland area.
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Marra B. Gad is an incredible person: that was my reaction to reading her moving memoir “The Color of Love: A Story of a Mixed Race Girl” (Bolden Books). Gad is a mixed race, adopted daughter of white Jewish parents. Unlike many of these adoptions, Gad’s mother was Jewish. In fact, once Gad was born, the rabbi who saw her was so upset to learn that she was mixed race that he offered to find her parents another baby to adopt. Fortunately for Gad, her parents fell in love with her at first sight. ...more
Sarah M
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars

As the title states, Marra Gad tells the story of her life as a mixed-race adopted daughter of a white Jewish family. A large chunk of the book focuses on her strained relationship with her racist great-aunt, who falls under Marra's care when she is old and becoming senile.

I had hopes for this book, but was disappointed to discover that it consists largely of platitudes about love and forgiveness, with a lot of "telling" instead of "showing" and not much complexity.
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
A bit repetitive and over-written but really interesting, compelling and thought-provoking. And, I found it even more meaningful that the author narrated the audio-book herself - not surprisingly, as a trained actress she did an excellent job. I'm sorry our paths didn't cross at OSRUI - I would like to think that we would have been friends! ...more
Linda Block
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a beyond, powerful book written by a beyond powerful woman! There are not enough words to describe how wonderful Marra's book is and how everyone of every faith and every racial background should read. So current and relevant, not only for the Black Lives Matter Movement but for the rise of antisemitism as well. Kudos, Marra. Cannot wait to hear you in person next Wednesday, June 24th. ...more
Susan Cosden
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic book this was and a very quick read. It was not an easy book to read due to the content. It was powerful. It was uplifting. It was the voice of one POC Jewish woman. We need to celebrate her voice and the voices of so many more Jews who are POC.
Glassworks Magazine
Mar 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
“There are two things that happen when someone is trying to decide [...] where they are going to put your otherness,” Marra B. Gad writes in her new book The Color of Love. ​“For some, there is a blankness in the eyes that takes over, as if they are lost in thought,” but for others, “there is an immediate narrowing, a sharpness that engages. And it is because they don’t need to think.” For Marra, these two reactions encompassed much of her world. In the prologue, Marra describes her background a ...more
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was beautifully heartbreaking.

It tells the story of Marra, a mixed-race Jewish girl who was adopted at birth. She tells her story of growing up and facing prejudice in the form of racism as well as hatred for her religion and the fact that she's adopted. I was able to understand a little more of what it means to grow up in a world where you are seen by "less than" by so many - it was difficult to read at times, but it's so important that these stories are heard.

Marra had a Great Aunt N
Elisheva Rina
Jan 11, 2021 rated it liked it
The Color of Love is an important book, because it is from the unique perspective of a mixed-race Jewish woman [just an aside: why does the subtitle say "girl"? I thought Marra was like in her twenties--especially when I looked at her picture on the back cover!--but she's in her 50s or something! Maybe late 40s... But anyway, she is not a girl, she is a woman! It threw me off a lot. Anyway, a woman in her 20s is still a woman...].
I appreciated reading about Marra's experience with tremendous lov
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an unbelievably touching memoir about a mixed race jewish girl.
Gad's story begins with her adoption by a Jewish couple. Her parents were promised a Jewish baby, which she is on her birth mothers side, but prior to seeing the baby in person no one was aware that the birth father was black. Her adoptive parents fell in love with her when they met and decide to adopt her regardless of being half jewish half black. But not everyone was as accepting and loving.
Gad then goes on to shares of h
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
I spotted this in an article somewhere and was curious to read. I know of people who have similar experiences and was curious to see what the author's was like. Gad takes us through her life, with the first part dedicated to her childhood and growing up, dealing with family who did not accept the color of her skin as well as Black People not accepting that she was Jewish, too. The second part is how she comes to care for her aunt who is slipping away due to Alzheimer's.

As others say, the book is
Amy Goldman
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
An interesting story read by the writer on audible. A biracial girl given up for adoption by a white teenage Jewish girl and a black father of which it is unclear if he even knew/knows of Marra’s existence. I love how she states from the beginning that her adoptive parents and she were basically meant to be. However, the prejudice experienced from family members of which ties are lost, as well s the all fed white Jewish community, the white world and the black world are ever present after a frie ...more
Michaela Lubbers
Apr 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: covid-lockdown
This was the first book I've read entirely aloud, I think, save children's books. I read the first section to my mom who wanted me to keep reading. That turned into me reading her the entire thing. It's a good book to read aloud and I bet that the audiobook (assuming there is one) would be an especially good listen. Marra's narrative voice is strong and enticing, though she uses "Word. Word. Word." a lot - too much, in my opinion.

As a mixed-race Jewish girl, Marra has lots of problems. She does
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