Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self
In a memoir about the power of race to share one's personal identity, the daughter of Jewish father and African-American mother recalls her confusing but ultimately rewarding life lived between two conflicting ethnic identities. When Mel Leventhal married Alice Walker during the civil rights movement in the late 1960s, his mother declared him dead and did not reconcile until after the birth of her first grandchild. After Mel and Alice divorced, their daughter, Rebecca, alternated homes every two years, spending time in Mississippi, Brooklyn, San Francisco's Haight Ashbury, Washington, D.C., the Bronx, and suburban Westchester. With each new place came a new identity and desperate attempts to fit in: as white or black, as Puerto Rican or Jewish, as a party girl, a fighter, or a lover. Confused, and mostly alone, she turned to sex, drugs, books, and a cast of dangerous and thrilling characters. Black, White, and Jewish is the story of a child's unique struggle for identity and home when nothing in her world told her who she was or where she belonged. Poetic reflections on memory, time, and identity punctuate this gritty exploration of race and sexuality. Rebecca Walker has taken up the lineage of her mother, Alice, whose last name she chose to carry, and has written a lucid and inventive memoir that marks the launch of a major new literary talent.
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Before I can stop myself I yell out, "Mom, where is the calamine lotion?" And then
I stop, resting my hand on the wooden banister, waiting to see if she'll answer me,
if she will accept this new name. When she tells me to look in the medicine ...
I stop in the square with the basketball court, where I had the twins, where I met
Michael that first time. I stop at that bench to catch my breath a minute, resting my
bike against the chess table. I don't do all of that in one smooth motion.
And he sees them, what they are doing, and he tells them to stop. He says, Come
on, y'all don't have nothing better to do than bother this girl? Y'all are too old to be
doing this. What are you, Sonja, sixteen, with a baby up in the house.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - Calavari - LibraryThing
Never before has a book so completely spoken to my heart. I originally found this last year when I was looking around for around for women's memoirs to be put into my Diverse Books Tag focused on that ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - purlewe - LibraryThing
I read this as part of the Free Library's immigrant stories collections. I enjoyed this.. even if it isnt your typical immigrant story. It is more of how she felt likea stranger no matter where she ... Read full review