Book Review of I'm Down: A Memoir

I'm Down: A Memoir
reviewed on + 98 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2


I'm a little conflicted about how to describe this book. Though there were some humorous moments, I found it more depressing than funny.

I'n Down sets out to be a book about a girl being raised by white parents. Her father, who identifies himself more with the black community, raises Mishna in a black neighborhood. His friends are black, as are his girlfriends. I did not really see the Dad as trying to pass for black, but rather more comfortable in the black community.

Mishna and her sister, Anora, are taken to the neighborhood schools and community center where they are the only white girls. For Anora, this is really no problem, but for Mishna it is. She feels invisible and unaccepted.

Later, Mishna ends up going to a "white" school and fits in better, though she tries to please her father by doing things he wants her to do (like sports).

While this is a fish-out-of-water story, it really is a rather sad commentary not on race, but on economics. I'm Down was less about black vs. white as it was rich vs. poor. The poverty and neglect Mishna lived through (while not extreme) was quite sad. The "white rich" kids were just as neglected as Mishna was--not monetarily, but emotionally.

I enjoyed it, but it was not at all what I was expecting.