The Color of Water by James McBride This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Have you ever come across a book where you ask, “Is this for real?” The Color of Water made me do that. This memoir switches back and forth, connecting letters McBride's mother, Ruth, wrote him in her later life and passages he wrote about his childhood.

James's father, Andrew, was a spiritual, hardworking African-American from the South who ran away to the North. Unfortunately, he passed away before James was born. All of his life, James struggles to find himself and learn the history of his Jewish mother.

As a child in Harlem, New York, he would ask his mother, “Is God white or black?” She would get upset by the question and tell him, “God isn't black or white; he's the color of water, James.”

James often asked his brothers and sisters what color he was. The answers were not helpful, since they were divided and vague. James was one of 13 half-black children raised by Ruth. I find it amazing what she went through, struggling to feed and clothe her children. And yet somehow, she managed to send them all to college, with some becoming doctors and teachers.

At first I wasn't sure how I felt about The Color of Water, but as I read it, I liked it more and more. Although it was depressing at times, I greatly enjoyed James's tribute to his mother.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Jaquie This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 19, 2009 at 6:46 am
Wow! Great review! I'll definitely be looking into this book. Wonderful work.
God bless,
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