Colleen's Reviews > The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother

The Color of Water by James McBride
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's review
Oct 29, 2011

really liked it

Very interesting book. James McBride, born to a white, Jewish mother and a Black father has a hard time coming to terms with his identity and his mother would never tell her children about her background. Finally, when James became an adult, he convinced his mother to tell her story. It's a fascinating story of her own parents who lived in Poland and came to the U.S. with her and settled in the South. It was taboo for a white woman to marry a black man, but, for James' mother, it was the Black community that treated her best. She had two husbands (both died), 8 kids from one and 4 more from the other. They all went to college and are professionals.
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On the negative side, James told his own story to some degree and dispersed it throughout his mother's story. I found it confusing at first. Both were in the "I" for, although his mother's story was written in italics. I also found his story not always in chronological order. I wished he had introduced it, wrote his mother's story, and then (Part II maybe?) wrote his story. There was so much more I would like to know about his life growing up and how his mother put all those kids through school.
It's a great story, however, and I really enjoyed reading it.
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