Rebecca Walker
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BLACK WHITE AND JEWISH, Autobiography of a shifting self  
       
 

Author: Rebecca Walker

Binding: Hardcover, 320 pages
Publisher: The Putnam Publishing Group
Published Date: December 01, 2000



"Compelling."
-The Washington Post


"Stunningly honest."
-San Francisco Chronicle

"A complex, all-American story." -USA Today
 
     
 
 
  REVIEWS
 
 
Publishers Weekly Review


The daughter of famed African American writer Alice Walker and liberal Jewish lawyer Mel Leventhal brings a frank, spare style and detail-rich memories the this compelling contribution to the growing subgenre of memoirs by biracial authors about life in a race-obsessed society. Walker examines her early years in Mississippi as the loved, pampered child of parents active in the Civil Rights movement in the bloody heart of the segregated South. Torn apart by the demands of their separate careers, her parents' union eventually lost steam and failed, leaving Walker to shuttle back and forth across country to spend time with them both. Deeply analytical and reflective, she assumes the resonant voices of an inquisitive child, a highly sensitive teen and finally a young woman who is confronted with the harsh color prejudices of her friends, teachers and families-both black and Jewish-and who tires desperately to make sense of rigid cultural boundaries for which she was never fully prepared by her parents. Whether she's commenting on a white ballet teacher who doubts she'll ever be good because her black butt's too big, Jewish relatives who treat her like an alien, or a boyfriend who feels she's not black enough, Walker uses the same elegant, discreet candor she brings to her discussion of her mother and the development of her free-spirited sexuality. Her artfulness in baring her psyche, spirit and sexuality will attract a wealth of deserved praise. (Jan. 2) Forecast: Coming the heels of her mother's story collection, The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart (which offers a fictional treatment of Alice Walker's marriage to Leventhal), this literary debut by the younger Walker, who has been recognized by Time as one of her generation's leaders, is destined to generate excitement. Although Walker is likely to be compared to Lisa Jones (the daughter of Amiri Baraka and Jewish writer Hetty Jones), who tackled the myth of tragic mulatto in Bullet Proof Diva (1995), a collection of columns from the Village Voice, Walker's higher profile and narrative treatment of these themes will draw a wider audience who no doubt will greet her warmly on her 10-city tour.

Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Booklist Review

When Alice Walker and Mel Leventhal married, their love was an illegal but idealistic leap of faith. But "Black Power" replaced "Integration" as the civil rights movement's slogan; a few years later, Walker and Leventhal divorced. Their daughter, Rebecca, shuttled back and forth, spending two years with her writer mom on the West Coast, then two in the East with her civil rights lawyer dad and his new family, then back again. Identity is an issue for every kid, but for Rebecca, it was especially challenging; she was too black for one East Coast boyfriend, not black enough for the tough girls in her San Francisco school. (In New York, at one point, she hung with Puerto Rican kids, because they seemed more welcoming than either blacks or whites.) Both families gave Rebecca a good deal of freedom early--too much, some readers will no doubt feel. Happily, the author ultimately found teachers who encouraged her to build her identity around her capacities rather than her bloodlines, and her capacities are reflected in this involving, honest, poignant memoir.

By Mary Carroll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


 
  PRAISE FOR BLACK WHITE AND JEWISH
 
 


"Walker skillfully depicts her tangled upbringing, full of disappointment and privilege."
-Time

"Walker masterfully illuminates differences between black and white America... A heartbreaking tale of self-creation."
-People

"A cautionary tale about the power of race in shaping identity... A highly readable debut."
-Entertainment Weekly

"A well-written refusal to ignore old wounds."
-The Boston Globe

"Her outsider status equips her with a sharp eye for analysis and narrative detail. And her restrained prose is refreshing in this age of gushing confession."
-The Washington Post Book World

"Black White and Jewish
is a frank, detail-rich look at her upbringing."
-Chicago Tribune

"Her book is an attempt to not only come to grips with her own identity, but to expose the pain and turmoil that come with shifting back and forth...It is stunningly honnest account, almost painfully self-revelatory."
-San Francisco Chronicle

"A poignant, spare memoir."
-Chicago Sun-Times

"Black White and Jewish is Rebecca Walker's anthem of independence, the compelling diary of a 'Movement Baby' who combats her own racial insecurities."
-The Dallas Morning News

"Walker treats her youth as a mystery to be slowly unraveled."
-USA Today

"Moving between those two worlds - and the biases each held against the other - left Rebecca fighting to sort out her identity, which she does so eloquently in her new memoir, Black White and Jewish."
-USA Weekend Magazine


"[Walker] has been borkering an equally difficult peace between her racial and sexual selves."
-Talk
(hot titles for a cold season)

"Walker's descriptions of her near-constant battle to define herself racially are poignant and intricately constructed."
-The San Diego Union-Tribune

"Black White and Jewish is Walker's personal account of that real world - a place that nourishes anger and cynicism - and her eventual discovery that the only real world is the one we create."
-Seattle Weekly

"Episodic, brief chapters punctuated by spare poetic details reinforce her idea of herself as a vaporous being who floats in and out of her skin."
-Dream Hampton, The Village Voice

"In this lyrical and devastingly honest memoire, Rebecca Walker bravely shares the details of childhood agonies associated with mixed heritage."
-The New York Observer

"The book examines her search for herself with poetic style and touching detail."
-Rocky Mountain News

"Walker has crafted a beautiful memoir about race, sexually, and spirituality." -Honey

"Rarely does a writer convey the angst of a young biracial woman's search for self-identity in a society hell-bent on defining her as she reduces readers with her shap insights and her beguiling prose... Walker puuls it off in this chronicle of her life." -Savoy

"A streetwise, candid look at the difficulties of being biracial... If her book is any indication, building bridges between different worlds is one of her gifts - a matter of survival while she was growing up, but now a choice."
-Time Out New York

"The daughter of famed African American writer Alice Walker and liberal Jewish lawyer Mel Leventhal brings a frank, spare style and detail-rich memories to this compelling contribution to the growing subgenre of memoirs by biracial authors about life in a race-obsessed society. Her artfulness in baring her psyche will, spirit and sexuality will attract a wealth of deserved praise."
-Publishers Weekly

 
   
     
  PRESS ARTICLES  
   
     
REBECCA WALKER: REFLECTIONS FROM BLACK, WHITE, AND JEWISH by Doug King © WitherSpoonSociety.org, Nov 1, 2000
     
EXISTING BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE © RaceRelations.about.com, Nov 06, 2000
     
PW TALKS WITH REBECCA WALKER by Robert Flemming © Publishers Weekly, November 06, 2000
     
IDENTITY CRISIS by Livi Regenbaum/Kansas City Jewish Chronicle© Jewsweek.com, 2001
     
REBECCA WALKER CAPTIVATES AUDIENCE, SPEAKS ABOUT BIRACIAL AND LIFE EXPERIENCES by Anna Milanez © The Bi-Co News, 2001
     
PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG WOMAN IN SEARCH OF HER AUTHENTIC SELF by Marlena Thompson © InterFaithFamily.com, January, 2001
     
TRANSLATING BETWEEN TWO WORLDS by Judith Bolton-Fasman © InterFaithFamily.com, January, 2001
     
REBECCA WALKER AT WOMEN & CHILDREN Jan. 16 by Karen Hawkins © OutlinesChicago.com, Jan 10, 2001
     
THE PARENT TRAP by Jennifer Frey © WashingtonPost.com, Jan 12, 2001
     
ALICE WALKER'S DAUGTHER DETAILS HER 'SHIFTING' CHILDHOOD by Jennifer Frey, © The Washington Post, January 21, 2001
     
LIVING ON AMERICA'S RACIAL DIVIDE by Laurence Washington © Rocky Mountain News, January 28, 2001
     
THE COLORED PARENT by Margo Hammond, © The New York Observer, Feb 5, 2001
     
REBECCA WALKER ERASES HER HYPHENS IN BERKELEY TALK by Rachel Metz, © The Daily Californian, February 15, 2002
     
IDENTITY CRISIS by Bob Minzesheimer © USA TODAY, February 24, 2001
     
WALKER, IN HER OWN SHOES by Austin Bunn, The Advocate, Feb 21, 2001
     
HOW REBECCA WALKER FOUND HER IDENTITY by Temii Tellis, © Dimensions Archive, March 19, 2001
     
HOW REBECCA WALKER FOUND HER IDENTITY by Temii Tellis, © Dimensions Archive, March 19, 2001
     
WALKER OPENS, HEALS SOME OLD WOUNDS by Alyssa Haywoode, © Boston Globe, March 19, 2001
     
  IDENTITY CATHARSIS by Heather Tenzer © Moment, April 2001  
   
  REBECCA WALKER: BEING BLACK, WHITE AND JEWISH © Ivillage.com, August 05, 2001  
   
WORK IN PROGRESS, By Gina Kaufmann, © Pitch.com, 01/17/2002
     
  REBECCA WALKER FINDS HER PLACE AFTER BLACK-WHITE-JEWISH YEARS © St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 21, 2002  
   
REBECCA WALKER FINDS MEANING IN MANY WORLDS by John Mark Eberhart © The Kansas City Star, January 27, 2002
     
BOOKS - OF COLOR by Mekado Murphy , © Dallasvoice.com, February 01, 2002
     
AUTHOR OPENS EYES TO WORLD THAT'S NOT BLACK AND WHITE by Andrew DeBraber © The Grand Rapids Press, 2002
     
     
     
     

 

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