As a boy in Brooklyn’s Red Hook projects, James McBride knew his mother was different. But when he asked about it, she’d simply say, “I’m light-skinned.” Later, he wondered if he was different, too, and asked his mother whether he was black or white. “You’re a human being,” she snapped. “Educate yourself or you’ll be a nobody!” And, when James asked what color God was, she said, “God is the color of water.”… As an adult, McBride finally persuaded his mother to tell her story - the story of a rabbi’s daughter, born in Poland and raised in the South, who fled to Harlem, married a black man, founded a Baptist church, and put twelve children through college. The Color of Water is James McBride’s tribute to his remarkable, eccentric, determined mother - and an eloquent exploration of what family really means.
"Complex and moving...suffused with issues of race, religion and identity. Yet those issues, so much a part of their lives and stories, are not central. The triumph of the book - and of their lives - is that race and religion are transcended in these interwoven histories by family, love, the sheer force of a mother's will and her unshakable insistence that only two things really matter: school and church...It is her voice - unique, incisive, at once unsparing and ironic - that is dominant in this paired history, and its richest contribution... The two stories, son's and mother's, beautifully juxtaposed, strike a graceful note at a time of racial polarization." -The New York Times Book Review
"This moving and unforgettable memoir need to be read by people of all colors and faiths." -Publishers Weekly