An essential addition to the literature about adoption, reflecting a viewpoint that is sorely lacking.

READ REVIEW

MOTHERHOOD SO WHITE

A MEMOIR OF RACE, GENDER, AND PARENTING IN AMERICA

What does it mean to be a single black mother in America?

In her debut memoir, Austin (Abandon, 1996, etc.) examines what it means to legally adopt a black child through the foster care system as a single black woman. The book opens with the author taking her 5-year-old adopted son, August, to a Black Lives Matter rally “just outside the Beverly Hills hub,” where they live. Austin palpably recounts the urgency of this current moment, especially regarding the constant possibility of lethal danger for black people in America. As she notes, innocence is a currency that black children cannot afford. Austin explores how this has been a recurrent theme throughout American history, one that has always created deep trauma within the black community and family structure. She seamlessly weaves her adoption story into discussions of her ideas of motherhood, which are particularly relevant because she was raised by her grandparents after being abandoned by her own birth mother. Austin challenges readers to question the ideal of motherhood as being synonymous with whiteness. Along the way, she tackles the inherent sexism, classism, and racism within the adoption system and the broader community, and she forcefully pushes back against the vilification of the single black mother and the idea of the unwanted black child in the adoption system. Austin also addresses the lack of literary work focused on stories of black motherhood in general and black adoption in particular. During her research, much of what she found centered on white adoption and ignored her unique challenges. Austin closes with first-person interviews with other black mothers who share their individual parenting journeys, helping to further bolster the author’s argument that black motherhood is not monolithic.

An essential addition to the literature about adoption, reflecting a viewpoint that is sorely lacking.

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7901-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more