How one woman handled racial prejudice in her family.
Born to a white, Jewish mother and black father, TV and film producer Gad was adopted by a white Jewish family when she was 3. In the eyes of many in her adopted, extended family, she wasn’t white, black, or Jewish, and this was never more evident than with her Great-Aunt Nette, who refused to accept Gad as part of the family. In this somewhat rambling memoir, the author examines her childhood and the awkwardness she felt when people pointed out that she did not look like her mother or father—or that she couldn’t be Jewish because she was mixed-race. Nette was the worst of them all, displaying “a clear hatred” for Gad. Despite sharing some minor similarities with the author, such as craving chocolate cake in times of stress, Nette was constantly aloof or disparaging. The list of slights Gad experienced is long: Nette was happy to give the author’s younger sister her beloved jewelry but gave nothing to Gad; she also flew her sister from Chicago to California for a visit but never sent for Gad. When Nette began to suffer from Alzheimer’s, it was an ironic twist of fate that the only person who could help her was Gad. While the author could have turned her back on her great-aunt, she chose to endure further disdain to help Nette. Though the prose is often lackluster, Gad’s message about resisting hate is solid. “I know far too many people that let the anger…about what it is to live with the constant burn of racism and hate consume them….I choose love…because I will not be an instrument that puts more hate into the world.”
A flawed but honest memoir about looking beyond hate to find some semblance of peace on the other side.