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Secret Daughter: A Mixed-Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away
Secret Daughter A Mixed-Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away
Author: June Cross
June Cross was born in 1954 to Norma Booth, a glamorous, aspiring white actress, and James "Stump" Cross, a well-known black comedian. Sent by her mother to be raised by black friends when she was four years old and could no longer pass as white, June was plunged into the pain and confusion of a family divided by race. Secret Daughter ...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780143112112
ISBN-10: 0143112112
Publication Date: 4/24/2007
Pages: 320
Edition: Reprint
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.

3.9 stars, based on 15 ratings
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Members Wishing: 3
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Secret Daughter: A Mixed-Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away on + 30 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This was an awesome book. Kudos to the author for having the courage to write it and also to her mother for revealing her deepest fears and providing answers to the choices she made. While reading I constantly sympathized with the author but by the end I was also able to sympathize with her mother. Please read this book.
reviewed Secret Daughter: A Mixed-Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away on + 1255 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Black, white, brown and yellow colored skin should not matter. Everyone has a heart and deserves to be treated with respect and love.

June Cross was only four years old when her mother sent her to live with a black couple, Paul and Peggy, in Atlantic City. June's mother, Norma, was white, and June was the product of her mother's short fling with Jimmy Cross. When Jimmy found out Norma was pregnant, he left her. He had no desire to be married or raise a family. Norma was still involved in show business, and felt that having a little mixed-raced girl would prohibit her rise to fame, herself or her boyfriends. So she left her in Atlanta, and June travelled back and forth from New York City to Atlanta to visit.

It was a tough time for June. While in New York with her mom, she could pretty much do whatever she wanted, just as long as she never called Norma mommy while she entertained. June had to call her Aunt Norma, because Norma did not want it known she had an illegimate mixed-raced daughter. When she was in Atlantic City, she was to be a well-behaved young lady who did as she was told. It was very confusing to June. She wasn't light enough to pass, but she was too dark for her mother to have kept. Harsh words for a mother to say to a young child.

As time passes, it comes to light that Norma had two white children before June, that she also neglected. It's understandable why Norma sent June to Atlantic City to be raised by darker folks, since at that time, the attitudes towards inter-racial relationships created a stigma over your head. However, because of those events, June became a very insecure young woman who had no idea who she was. White? Black? Living in both worlds confused her until she found the strength to become who she is today.

This is a very powerful and poignant novel. It's about mothers and daughters and what can drive them apart, or bring them together. It's about the Civil Rights Movement, and a glimpse of old Hollywood. But mainly, its about June and what she had to endure to get to where she is today, an Emmy award winning Journalist, producer, and author. It will make you cry, sympathize, and angry. The moment I opened this novel, I was drawn deep into June's words and her world. I've read this has been made into a PBS Movie, but I've not seen it. If you love memoirs, pick this one up today. You won't be disappointed!
reviewed Secret Daughter: A Mixed-Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away on + 108 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Times were different! I can't imagine a mother today agreeing to put her children through the trauma of the author's upbringing.

As the author narrates the story, she shows a lot of sympathy for her mother. It's only near the end of the story that we learn this empathy was hard won.

I admire the author's ability to see above the human failing and flaws of her mother, and allow her love of her mother to come through.

Very compelling book - both for the author's personal story, and the peek back to American society just a few decades ago.
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