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The Color of Water

A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother

McBride, James

Book - 1997
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Color of Water
'James McBride evokes his childhood trek across the great racial divide with the kind of power and grace that touches and uplifts all our hearts.' - Bebe Moore Campbell 'A triumph...The two stories, son's and mother's, beautifully juxtaposed, strike a graceful note at a time of racial polarization.' - The New York Times Book Review

Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 1997, c1996
ISBN: 1573225789
Branch Call Number: B McBRIDE-JORDAN
Characteristics: xvii, 291 p. : ill. ; 21 cm


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Mar 20, 2015
  • ehbooklover rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

An interesting and eye-opening read. My only issue with the book is that I found that it was hit and miss in terms of keeping my interest: the mother's story was much more interesting than that of the author's.

Dec 09, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

An inspiring, unforgettable unfolding of two lives: the author's mother's -- a woman of remarkable strength who flees the South and her Orthodox Jewish family and co-founds a Baptist church in Harlem with her black husband, and McBride's -- one of her twelve children. An inviting read, full of strength and spirit, pain, and humour.

Nov 08, 2014
  • huy1993 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This book is not only about a piece of Tobias Wolff's childhood, but it also connects to our own childhood. The book emphasizes our struggle to find our own identity and our inability to make a decision.

Jul 29, 2014

When I saw this book was a biography I thought it would be boring and just with non personal information, but then I read it. This book was amazing it was so personal and the writing style allowed you to really see and feel what the author was writing. Everyone should read this book

Sep 30, 2013
  • Ellington4 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This extraordinary book, about a remarkable family and an indomitable mother, is written with grace, humor and above all love. The black author has written a tribute to his white Jewish mother, who married two fine black men and raised 12 black children--all of whom graduated from college and became doctors, teachers and, in the case of the author, a writer and musician. Race is an important part of the book, but it rises above racial matters to a level of universal humanity. I was touched by almost every chapter. The book has become a classic--deservedly so.

Aug 01, 2013

Interesting book!

Aug 01, 2013
  • Violet_Lion_31 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

What brought me to this book was my summer project for school, otherwise I might never have picked it up to read it otherwise. It was an exceptional read! It was candid, heartbreaking, and best of all inspiring. This memoir does put emphasis on race, but much to a less harsh extent, than other books may be. Mostly is a memoir of Identity, as well as family.

Jun 27, 2012
  • Brown_Dog_365 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One of the best books that I have ever read. It is a wonderful read, and extremely sweet. The story is very capturing, and sentimental. I would definitely recommend to anyone.

May 15, 2012
  • patiencebaker rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A thought provoking read. I finished this book quickly....couldn't stop reading! Originally I had intended to read it for Black History month: instead I enjoyed it for mother's day.

Feb 07, 2012
  • Ireadalot2 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A wonderful tribute to his Mother. The things she did to get her kids the best education she could and not sweat the small stuff (like food and cleaning).

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Aug 01, 2013
  • Violet_Lion_31 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Violet_Lion_31 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Jul 24, 2012
  • death0217 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

death0217 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 12 and 6

Jul 06, 2012

Fastgirl124 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jun 27, 2012
  • Brown_Dog_365 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Brown_Dog_365 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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Aug 01, 2013
  • Violet_Lion_31 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

"...I resolved to jump back into my studies and rebuild myself. Like my own mother did in times of stress, I turned to God. I lay in bed at night praying to Him to make me strong, to rid me of anger, to make me a man, and He listened, and I began to change."

Aug 01, 2013
  • Violet_Lion_31 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

"Mommy's tears seemed to come from somewhere else, a place far away, a place inside her that she never let any of us children visit, and even as a boy I felt there was pain behind them."


Add a Summary

Jun 27, 2012
  • Brown_Dog_365 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book is about a man who is writing about his mother's life. The mother was a Jewish woman, who in the 1950s married an African American man. She was "thrown" out of her family for what she had done, and her and her children were made fun of by other people. She never really talked about race and her life story with her children, and so they lived a very closed life style. They didn't ever think about pressuring their mother for the information that they desperately wanted to know about. They grew up in poverty, but they always managed to make it by. And to top that off, everyone was sent to college and became very successful people. Finally James McBride one of the twelve children finds out about their mother's life, and then writes a book about it. The story is a wonderful one, and is sure to bring tears of joy and sadness to your eyes.


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