Thursday, February 12, 2009

Color of Water: A Black man's tribute to his White Mother

This is the title of the last book we read in the book club I'm in. It's written by James McBride and I loved it. I've been telling everyone about it. James writes about his life growing up in Harlem, his life with his siblings and how he saw his mom as a child and then later as an adult. At the beginning of each chapter is an interview of James Mother, Ruth McBride.
She tells about her life growing up with an abusive Jewish Father who treated her mother terribly. She meets her first husband and is disowned by family because he is Black. She converts to Christianity and with her husband co-founded a Baptist church. Her and her first husband had 8 children and James McBride is the last of those 8. His Father passed away before James was born. Later Ruth marries again and with her second husband, raises 12 children. The second husband also passed away leaving Ruth to raise the children by herself. Ruth raises her children to go to the best schools, sometimes busing them all over NY to the best school for each individual child. She raised 12 children that went on to become Doctors, Teachers, Writers, all having successful careers. She is an amazing woman. She was married to two amazing men, who loved her and gave her the respect she never had growing up. I think she is a testament to faith, unconditional love, perseverance and hard work. James gives his Mother a beautiful tribute. If I could be a sliver of what she is as a Mother, then I will feel I have accomplished something. It's a wonderful book, touching, funny at times and one I would recommend to anyone.

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