Black White And Jewish Hardcover – Jan 14 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
The daughter of famed African American writer Alice Walker and liberal Jewish lawyer Mel Leventhal brings a frank, spare style and detail-rich memories the this compelling contribution to the growing subgenre of memoirs by biracial authors about life in a race-obsessed society. Walker examines her early years in Mississippi as the loved, pampered child of parents active in the Civil Rights movement in the bloody heart of the segregated South. Torn apart by the demands of their separate careers, her parents' union eventually lost steam and failed, leaving Walker to shuttle back and forth across country to spend time with them both. Deeply analytical and reflective, she assumes the resonant voices of an inquisitive child, a highly sensitive teen and finally a young woman who is confronted with the harsh color prejudices of her friends, teachers and families-both black and Jewish-and who tires desperately to make sense of rigid cultural boundaries for which she was never fully prepared by her parents. Whether she's commenting on a white ballet teacher who doubts she'll ever be good because her black butt's too big, Jewish relatives who treat her like an alien, or a boyfriend who feels she's not black enough, Walker uses the same elegant, discreet candor she brings to her discussion of her mother and the development of her free-spirited sexuality. Her artfulness in baring her psyche, spirit and sexuality will attract a wealth of deserved praise. (Jan. 2) Forecast: Coming the heels of her mother's story collection, The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart (which offers a fictional treatment of Alice Walker's marriage to Leventhal), this literary debut by the younger Walker, who has been recognized by Time as one of her generation's leaders, is destined to generate excitement. Although Walker is likely to be compared to Lisa Jones (the daughter of Amiri Baraka and Jewish writer Hetty Jones), who tackled the myth of tragic mulatto in Bullet Proof Diva (1995), a collection of columns from the Village Voice, Walker's higher profile and narrative treatment of these themes will draw a wider audience who no doubt will greet her warmly on her 10-city tour.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Walker, the daughter of Alice Walker and attorney Mel Leventhal, shuttled among Mississippi, San Francisco, the Bronx, and Washington, DC, after her parents divorced. Here is her story of the need to redefine herself in each new setting.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
It is a compelling premise, but you'll be sorely disappointed if you're expecting an insightful reflection upon Walker's experiences growing up as a biracial Jewish child from the perspective of her adult self. The book is more of an adolescent diatribe about every sad, frustrating and/or confusing thing that happened to her before she graduated from high school. Yes, there was lots of confusing stuff. Her parents (divorced, estranged, and wildly inattentive to young Walker) made the unfathomable decision to have her alternate living between the two of them every two years, even though they lived on opposite sides of the country. So, just as Walker was settling into her identity with her black mother, or white Jewish father, she was whisked away to the opposite coast with a totally different peer group to start again. While one might have some stirrings of sympathy for her plight, the book's twin tones of self-pity and self-congratulation gets mighty tiresome. Fast. One gets the impression that by merely by surviving a complicated childhood, Walker thinks she performed some kind of feat that had no one else has done before. Moreover, most of the feelings of isolation and confusion she seems to embrace as uniquely hers will be recognized as entirely common to most American teenagers, whether biracial or not.Read more ›
Like many materially privileged yet emotionally neglected adolescents, Rebecca Walker is angry about all the wrong things. She has written a book that is really about being the daughter of an incredibly self-involved woman, and the dangers that self-involved parenting presents to young people. She has also written about the incredible financial and class advantages that she has been offered. However, she resents her privileges and celebrates her mother's neglect. She does not even seem to be able to understand her privilege, and comes off as little more than a spoiled and angry teenager, lashing out at her father and stepmother, who provided the most caring homelife she knew. At the writing of this book, Rebecca Walker was in her early thirties, and shows that, emotionally, she has progressed little towards being an adult. This is not a result of being Black, White and Jewish so much as it is a result of money and trips around the world replacing parental nurturing.
The author's sole sense of white, Jewish identity seems to be based in being a member of the suburban upper-middle class. The title of her book seems to imply that this is what it means to be a White person or a Jewish person. Likewise, she seems to suggest that being a Black person is based on having big hips and "ghetto" attitude.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Blah blah blah! Sorry, but I was expecting so much more. Maybe I went into this book with a larger expectation for Rebecca, but this is anything but an inspiring story but more of... Read morePublished on July 9 2004 by Joleen
Like many others have said below, boring, shallow, and only published because she is the daughter of the famous writer Alice Walker. Read morePublished on June 1 2004
In her powerful, poetic debut, Rebecca Walker speaks from her very soul about trying to find a sense of self in her ever-changing world. Read morePublished on March 14 2004 by The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
I don't know how I feel about this book though I did read it and enjoyed parts of it. Walker's life is very interesting, she had a hard life yes, but I think that she at times... Read morePublished on Feb. 13 2004
The thing that has stayed with me most after reading this book was what a poor mother Alice Walker was. Read morePublished on Dec 14 2003
Black, White and Jewish is the story of a young girl blossoming into a woman almost entirely alone. Fortunately for Rebeeca Walker, she had strong intelligence and determination... Read morePublished on Oct. 25 2003
10/04/03 Rebecca Leventhal Walker(formerly Rebecca Grant Leventhal)'s book reflects the tragedy of children raising themselves... Read morePublished on Oct. 4 2003
As the mother of two bi-racial children, I bought the book to understand what it was like to be "Black, White and Jewish". Read morePublished on July 16 2003 by Adoptive Mom
Like many of the other reviewers, I had high hopes for this book. However, I must agree, Ms. Walker does not realize how privileged she is in recounting her life, nor does she... Read morePublished on April 30 2003 by Sarah L. Goralewski
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