James McBride has written a powerful portrait of growing up, a meditation on race and identity and a poignant, beautifully crafted hymn from a son to a mother.
As a boy in Brooklyn, James McBride knew his mother was different. But when he asked her about it, she'd simply say, 'I'm light-skinned.' Later he wondered if he was different too and asked his mother if 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 colour 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 means.
A triumph - The New York Times Book Review
Graceful, funny and unflinchingly honest - Marie Claire
This moving and unforgettable memoir needs to be read by people of all colours and faiths. - Publishers Weekly
The Color of Water [will] make you proud to be a member of the human race. - Mirabella
A story of faith, survival and triumph against daunting odds [a] a tribute to the resilient spirit of a mother whose triumph over hardship is truly remarkable and uplifting a heart-warming and memorable read. - Gordon Matthews, The Age
James McBride is an award-winning writer and musician. He has been a staff writer for the Washington Post, People magazine, and the Boston Globe. His memoir and tribute to his mother, The Color of Water, spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list, was published worldwide, and was the winner of the prestigious Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. As a composer, he won the American Music Theater Festival's Stephen Sondheim Award for his jazz/pop musical Bobos, and has composed songs for Anita Baker, Grover Washington Jr., and Gary Burton. A jazz saxophonist, he has performed with Rachelle Farrell and with legendary jazz performer Little Jimmy Scott. He lives in Pennsylvania.