Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Color of Water (by James McBride)

I read this book because some fellow instructors at Dollar College suggested it as a good full-length work to assign my students. (I am, in fact, required to assign at least one full-length work.) Conveniently, I found it in the Library of Ian. It took me almost no time to read—it’s an engaging story, subtitled “a black man’s tribute to his white mother.” The book alternates chapters about the son and the mother, whose stories are equally fascinating.

This feels like a pretty obvious choice to put on my syllabus (the Wikipedia entry on James McBride even points out that it’s taught all over the place these days) but I can see why it appeals. It’s readable, quite interesting, brings up lots of interesting, debatable issues about race and identity—and I am optimistic that at least one or two of my students will finish the thing! So I think we have ourselves a winner. And I’m definitely not slagging the book off in any way—I really, really enjoyed it myself.

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