127 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful
crackabook reviewed The Color of Water : A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother on
Helpful Score: 14
An interesting read in the manner of how the author writes every other chapter in the voice of his mother. She is an non complicated person who against many odds manages to raise 12 children to responsible adulthood. Easy to read, a nice summer book.
This memoir of a man trying to find his identity as a mixed race man, really hit home because my friend's son is mixed race and it reminded me of him. It simply tells of his life and how he tried to identify with both of his races and the struggle to fit in. The book told the story from his mother's point of view and also from his.
This is a book that should be required reading for every high school kid in this country. Where did this woman get the strength (both physical and spiritual) to overcome the adversity that she was faced with every day of her life. It's all about the power of education and faith.
I loved this book. It was very emotional. The author experienced so much conflict about his racial identity. He did not learn about his mother's past until he started researching the book. The story is amazing.
Terrific book... I couldn't put it down... I read it through throughout the day... yes, one day that is how good it is... Like reading two stories at once... reading about the mother when she finally shares her past with her son as well as reading about the son all the things he overcame to find who he really is... dg
This is one of the few books I have kept for my personal library. It is a story about a man's Jewish mother. He is black and she is a white Jew. He frequently asks her in the book "What color am I?" To which she responds the color of water. This story shows the human nature of wanting to be loved and accepted.
Order this book ... and please don't be put off by its pallid subtitle, A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother, which doesn't begin to do justice to the utterly unique and moving story contained within. The Color of Water tells the remarkable story of Ruth McBride Jordan, the two good men she married, and the 12 good children she raised. Jordan, born Rachel Shilsky, a Polish Jew, immigrated to America soon after birth; as an adult she moved to New York City, leaving her family and faith behind in Virginia. Jordan met and married a black man, making her isolation even more profound. The book is a success story, a testament to one woman's true heart, solid values, and indomitable will. Ruth Jordan battled not only racism but also poverty to raise her children and, despite being sorely tested, never wavered. In telling her story--along with her son's--The Color of Water addresses racial identity with compassion, insight, and realism. It is, in a word, inspiring, and you will finish it with unalloyed admiration for a flawed but remarkable individual. And, perhaps, a little more faith in us all. Over 2 years on THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST
This book is so worth reading it's beyond words. I loved it. I read it many years ago and remember it to this day. McBride's mother is a mother we should all try to be more like. If more mothers were like her the world would most definitely be a better place. The love McBride has for his mother and all that she's done is something children can aspire to reach also.
I recommend this all the time still and it's a book I'll always keep. I can't wait until my daughter is old enough for me to share this with her.
This is one of my favorite books ever. This true story of how the author's mother fought her way out of an abusive home and reclaimed her identity in black NY is amazing. Her children's successes are a tribute to her strength.
James McBride tells his story - a story about his life and that of his Mother - written in clear and not easy to put down words. James is black, as are his 11 brothers and sisters - his Mother is white. This is a true American Dream come true - and for all of the hope it gives, it is not saccharine. Highly recommended.
Wonderful story of hardship and survival. The son records the life of his mother as Jewish white woman married to a black man. Her family disowns her, her husband dies young and she ends up raising 12 children on her own, in a world that doesn't truly accept her or the mixed children. All who go on to college, become professional successful people. Along with the mothers story is the son's story as well, he is coming of age not certain where he belongs. EXCELLENT read!
Amy P. (sweetiepetey) reviewed The Color of Water : A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother on
Helpful Score: 1
This was such an interesting peak into James McBrides family. It really makes you think about the secret and not so secret choices that many people carry with them and how they shape not only the person but generations.
I really enjoyed this book. It's two people's life stories told in alternate chapters. One is a women who came to the US as an immigrant before WWII and the other is her son (the author) who grew up in the 60's and 70's. Ruth (the mother) had a very hard life growing up in the south. She eventually leaves home to go to NYC and falls in love with a black man. They got married at a time when inter racial marriage wasn't accepted. Her son James tells his own story about growing up during the social upheaval of the 60's and 70's It really brings home how much things have changed.
Marcy E. S. (catzmom) reviewed The Color of Water : A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother on
Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed this book....gained some insight into aspects/ issues of interracial issues of days gone by. The writing style was a little confusing at times; not readily apparent which character was talking at the start of some chapters, as it goes back & forth between a few. Overall a good read and reading experience.
I absolutely loved this book. The writing style was superb, and the story was wonderful--inspiring, emotional, delightful, touching, all the more for being true.
The format was excellent also....he alternated revealing his mother's sad and cold upbringing with tales of his own growing up under her stern and watchful care as one of 12 children! I loved that he calls her "Mommy" throughout the book, even as a grown man. I loved the recurring description of "Mommy's madwalk"--her bow-legged barrelling down a street hell-bent on addressing a slight.
By the end of the book, which I couldn't put down and read in virtually one sitting, I'd come to love both the author and his mother.
Wow, this book was great. It's really got not so much to do with color as with relationships one has with one's past, present, and future, as well as one's family. This guys mom teaches him about history and getting past people's ignorance and about forgiving your parents and how important it is to know where you come from no matter what. She was amazing. She probably just felt exhausted raising 12 children but this is a great read for anyone trying to figure out their relationship with their parent and/or their past. It's amazing.
Cat (johnaugus) - reviewed The Color of Water : A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother on
Helpful Score: 1
"The Color of Water" tells the amazing story of Ruth McBride Jordan's life from two perspectives: her own and that of her son James, as he grew up with her, in alternating chapters. It's an easy and quick read, but a moving and complex story-- bittersweet, inspiring, and beautifully told. Something for everyone.
I highly recommend this book to everyone of any color or race. It is not just a book about race, its also about family, faith, poverty and struggling to overcome. This is an amazing book which tells two stories, that of the authors mother and his own. Its a touching story about a bi-racial family who succeeded and achieved the American dream despite everything as well as an extraordinary story about a remarkable womans life and the struggles and hardships she endures and overcomes. It flows seamlessly back and forth between the author and his mother, between time periods and generations until, before you know it, it's over. I hated to reach the end.
This is a book that will "make you proud to be a member of the human race," says Mirabella, and countless readers have already discovered its power. Written in remembrance of his Polish-born, Southern-raised Jewish mother-who married a black man and raised twelve children, all of whom completed college-The Color of Water is a classic of the memoir genre, a testament to love, and a truly American story.
I randomly picked this book up one day and began reading it....I found myself reading while standing in one place so long that I was lost in the author's story. His life is SO different then my own yet I felt a strong family connection to his. I couldn't put his story down and felt at the end of it that I knew him. I felt as though I belonged to his family and I loved his mother. I sent him an email letting him know how his life story affected me...and he replied! James McBride said he would pass on the love I sent to his mother, she would be glad to hear about it!
This book brings to the fore a lot of racial issues that are too often left in silence. The story is very powerful: Ruchel/Rachel/Ruth is an amazing woman who accomplished a lot in her life, even if only in persevering and raising so many children. I never really think of "Jewish" as a racial term, my interpretation has always been of the religious connotations. So it was eye opening to see these combined racial elements for me as a reader who thinks of the world of varying ethnicities but only one race (the human race). Nevertheless, in the world where this takes place (not so long ago really) she faces huge adversity and emerges a very human and yet humbling character.
McBride's memories of his white mother, daughter of a rabbi married to a black man. The Color of Water is McBride's tribute to his remarkable, eccentric, determined mother of twelve and an eloquent exploration of what family really means.
A truly enjoyable book. It's great to see how a loving and gifted writer can have such insight into the life of his mother, her past, and what it brought to his life. Loving, funny, heartbreaking, easy to read.
I enjoyed this thoughtful and well-written novel and the impact on racial literature should be spectacular. The view from both the narrator and mother is inspiring. Would highly recommend.
My rating system is as follows:
5 stars - Excellent, Worth Every Penny, Made It Into My Personal Library!
4 stars - Great book, but not a classic.
3 stars - Good overall, generally well written.
2 stars - Would not recommend based on personal criteria.
1 star - Difficult to read, hard to finish, or didn't finish. Wouldn't recommend purchasing or reading.
This was an interesting juxtaposition of McBride's memories of his youth and his mother's memories of her youth. She was an extraordinary mother -- raised 12 children, all of whom became college graduates, many going on to get professional or doctoral degrees. She was an immigrant, raised by her Jewish rabbi father and mother. She adopted the African-American culture and lifestyle of Harlem without question in the 1940s (? not sure of the decade.)
I didn't give it five stars because, while inspiring and interesting, it did not rise to that level, in my opinion.
James McBride knew his mother was different. When he asked about it she'd say "I'm light skinned". She finally tells her story-a rabbi's daughter born in Poland, raised in the south, married a black man, founded a Baptist church and put 12 kids through college.
A young black man confronts his mother about her past -- a rabbi's daughter born in Poland and raised in the South, who married a black man, and put 12 children through college. Based on the author's mother. Remarkable and unforgettable story.
A black man's tribute to his white mother. 'A triumph' (NY Times Book Review) A boy in Brooklyn's projects grew up knowing his mother was different. When he asked her about it she'd say 'I'm light skinned.' Complex moving book (true story) about how as an adult he finally persuades his mother to 'tell her story'. Race and religion transcended in interwoven stories of family love, sheer force of a mothers will, and her unshakable insistence that only two things mattered: school and church.
Absolutely loved this book! It's an easy read (read it in a day and a half) and was just the perfect book to read at the beach. Love the way James McBride describes his proud mother and how she wouldn't let anything get her way of raising her chiledren to become fine, upstanding adults. I would definitely recommend this book.
I am reading this book right now and it is a very, very good book. It is easy to read, and interesting on top of that. It brings back the 60's and 70's just like I remember it. He is an open and honest and knows how to make his story great. I highly recommend this book and I am not even finished :-)
P.S. I got it from PaperBackSwap too !
What a big waste of time, I hate autobiographies where people can "sanitize" their pasts or in this case the past of their parents. "escaping prostitution"?? Did anyone force Mr. McBride's mom to give birth to 12 children in poverty? I am sure she could have practiced some birth control and given her children a better life. My grandmother who was the same age and in a similar situation limited it to one child and tried to do her best for that one child. Mr. McBride seems to have some racist views in my opinion - he can't really embrace his caucasian side, even though he admits that "some white people have it much worse than him". They sure do! For example his bragging about getting a full college scholarship after being a HS thug with terrible grades& terrible SAT scores really bothered me. Unfortunately no one gave that chance to my brothers or son since we were "privileged white people", NO, we had to attend school, get good grades and then pay through the nose and take out loans to afford college. There was no free ride for us based on our race. Mr. McBride has so much to be grateful for in my opinion and I am happy that he lifted himself up in life. This book was read for my book club and I am sorry I wasted my time on it.