The book’s erotic focus is a prolonged objectification of black women.

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WHITE BOY

A MEMOIR

Graves recounts his efforts to address his racist upbringing and outlines his fascination with black culture.

“I am from a racist family” is the stark opening line of this tell-all about seeking sexual and professional fulfillment. Growing up in Memphis in the 1950s and 1960s, Graves (English/LeMoyne-Owen College; Aesop's Fables with Colin Hay, 2017, etc.) felt the notion of white superiority “was in the very air we breathed.” As a boy, he knew that black people lived in slums and had their own water fountains and exclusive days at the zoo. He didn’t get to know any black people, though, until his school integrated when he was 11. In the years to come, Graves was increasingly drawn to African American culture, researching the African origins of blues music. He also had sex with multiple black women, who appear to be racially fetishized (“a bevy of brown-skinned beauties”). After an unfulfilling 23-year marriage to a white woman, he writes, “I wanted to make up for what I considered lost time,” and “black women seemed to find me more attractive and interesting.” He met Fatima Magoro, from Sierra Leone, through Match.com. Despite his uneasiness over her inconsistent accounts of her past, he got her a fiancee visa for the U.S. Her existing pregnancy by another man nearly derailed the relationship, but after Fatima’s abortion they proceeded with a volatile relationship that lasted six years. The book’s sudden ending positions this experience as the pivotal one of the author’s life: “I will never know if she truly loved me,” he laments in conclusion. His experience of teaching seventh-grade creative writing makes for lively material, breaking up what can otherwise be a slightly dull chronological tour through the author’s life story. A classroom setting that initially appeared to be “the third circle of hell” gradually became a place where he had meaningful everyday encounters with minority students. Unfortunately, the overall effect here is a cataloging of black women's physical features that reads like racial stereotyping.

The book’s erotic focus is a prolonged objectification of black women.

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-942531-31-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: DeVault-Graves Agency

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2019

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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