Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book Review - I'm Down: a memoir

I'm Down: a memoirI'm Down: a memoir by Mishna Wolff

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Summary of Book:

Mishna Wolff grew up in a poor black neighborhood with her single father, a white man who truly believed he was black. “He strutted around with a short perm, a Cosby-esqe sweater, gold chains and a Kangol—telling jokes like Redd Fox, and giving advice like Jesse Jackson. You couldn’t tell my father he was white. Believe me, I tried,” writes Wolff. And so from early childhood on, her father began his crusade to make his white daughter Down.

Unfortunately, Mishna didn’t quite fit in with the neighborhood kids: she couldn’t dance, she couldn’t sing, she couldn’t double dutch and she was the worst player on her all-black basketball team. She was shy, uncool and painfully white. And yet when she was suddenly sent to a rich white school, she found she was too “black” to fit in with her white classmates.

I’m Down is a hip, hysterical and at the same time beautiful memoir that will have you howling with laughter, recommending it to friends and questioning what it means to be black and white in America.

My Review:

It's hard to find the right words to describe this book. It seems to me that when the author was telling her "story," she picked out the worst things in her father to show how "black" he was. His womanizing and lack of work ethic were not funny. His attitude towards his daughters and how he let his women treat his daughters was not funny. Many of the things that black families are trying to overcome are hysterical to this author... they weren't to me. Now I do understand not fitting in with your community and being moved to different schools to be challenged and people's attitudes toward you when this happens.  So I did appreciate those portions of the book.  And some parts of the book were funny, like her stint with the basketball teams and some of her other antics trying to fit in. But overall, the book did not meet my expectations. Lucky it was a quick read!

Disclaimer: This was a book from my personal collection.

Love and Blessings!


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