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
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.
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.
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.