I received a free copy of Real American: A Memoir in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
I know it’s shocking, but I actually have made some time for reading over the last couple of weeks! Despite a whole lot of things on my to-do list, I just need to take a little bit of a mental break and dive into something new!
Today’s review is of Real American a Memoir by Julie Lythcott-Haims.
Lythcott-Haims (How to Raise an Adult) has written a bold, impassioned memoir that explores the emotional and cultural divide imposed by American racism on people of mixed race. Born in 1967 to an African-American father and a white British mother, she was proud that her parents “broke the rules” despite the racial sneers and ridicule she experienced growing up in Palisades, N.Y., and Madison, Wis.
However, the steadfast support of her loving mother and of her father, an accomplished physician appointed by President Carter as assistant surgeon general in 1977, couldn’t prepare the insecure, mixed-race teen for navigating a white world (“I don’t think of you as Black. I think of you as normal,” says one high school friend while the two were watching Gone with the Wind).
Upon graduating from Stanford University (she would serve as dean of freshmen there years later), Lythcott-Haims married a white Jewish man and gave birth to “quadroon children,” which further complicated her quest for self-understanding. Later, she became empowered through her determination not to let hate define her or the lives of her children.
Riveting and deeply felt, Lythcott-Haims’s memoir sheds fresh light on race and discrimination in American society.
Typically I’m not one for memoirs or non-fiction, but the title of this book intrigued me. Only a few lines in, and I was hooked. Something I did not anticipate happening with a memoir. The author masterfully weaves her story in a way that draws you in, and hooks you good.
I played beside her in a creek in Palisades, I went to prom with her, I felt her uncomfortableness in her own skin ( a feeling I am all too familiar with). I celebrated her success and cried a little at her losses and heartbreak. All while reaccessing my own childhood and teen years. I was a kid that never quite fit in, or felt like I belonged, not because of the color of my skin but because I was overweight. Although the cause of my lack of self-acceptance, was different than the author, the results are similar nonetheless.
The judgments, comments, and actions that children and teens face by the peers and adults in their lives, can have long-term, lasting, and deeply rooted affects. And it’s usually the negative ones that are the most deeply rooted.
Reading this book reminded me of some hard-won truths about myself that I had sort of forgotten.
All in all I was inspired and moved by Real American a Memoir by Julie Lythcott-Haims!
Want to read Julie Lythcott-Haims latest book? Enter to win a copy for yourself below!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.