- Hardcover: 241 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; 1 edition (3 Aug. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 159691338X
- ISBN-13: 978-1596913387
- Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.6 x 21.6 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,836,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Color Blind: A Memoir Hardcover – 3 Aug 2010
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book made me cry several times, I think because Ms. Williams is able to write in such a way that I was able to feel what she felt and see what she saw. I don't want to give away the details of her book, but it is not a predictable memoir about racial problems, although they are obviously addressed. Ms. Williams' experiences were ones that I've never heard before. Her courage is amazing. She is brutally honest, and sometimes I felt that she was too hard on herself. But I think she was hard on herself so that she could teach something about what she has learned from her life thus far.
It is a heart wrenching journey of a sweet angel girl with so many unanswered questions. I think that someday this will be a novel taught in schools for racial issues as well as her excellent writing style.
I highly recommend Color Blind: A Memoir.
This is everything a memoir should be. There's grit and dirt and honesty. Time also has a very real presence in the novel, we definitely get a good glimpse of what it was like to grow up in the '70's and 80's in the United Kingdom. And even though we only get to see brief moments of how Williams turned her life around, this is not a depressing read. There are hard momen...more Note: This is a review of an Advanced Copy received from the First Reads program, I do my best to review fairly.
This is everything a memoir should be. There's grit and dirt and honesty. Time also has a very real presence in the novel, we definitely get a good glimpse of what it was like to grow up in the '70's and 80's in the United Kingdom. And even though we only get to see brief moments of how Williams turned her life around, this is not a depressing read. There are hard moments, but they are not presented as being so difficult that they cannot be overcome.
This is a truly amazing memoir, although not necessarily easy for everyone to relate to. And that's okay.
The reviewer is a 2009 graduate of Kent State University's Master of Library and Information Sciences program, an alumna of Antioch College, and the author of the blog A Librarian's Life in Books [[...]].
When I began reading Color Blind by Precious Williams, the idea struck me that this memoir was different. The story Precious Williams tells is a highly polished sparkling gem. I do not think it is going to be possible for me to forget her childhood nor the rest of her life. Precious was born in Nigeria, Africa. She is from the Igbo people. She comes from kings and princes. Her people were rich in wealth and intelligence.
However, when she is a baby her mother gives her to a white British family in England. Moving forward Precious' life is like a wild, tragedy. Her life spins around and around like the broken hands of a clock. Where the hands will stop no one knows not even Precious. She know nothing about Africa. She lives the fantasy of other people. Her foster family have their idea of who she is to be. Her friends have another idea. Her mother has her thoughts. In her life all these adults think they know the best way of life for Precious. Unfortunately, their best intentions for Precious never take shape. There is Nanny. There is Nanny's daughter, Wendy, Uncle Mick and Precious' mother.
For me, the most complex character is the woman who birthed Precious. Precious will never see her mother at a set time or place. She is as unpredictable as a tornado. There are times when she will bring Precious pretty clothing. None of the clothes really fit. The clothes seem to represent the mother's inability to fit herself in her daughter's life. When the mother would appear out of nowhere, I held myself tightly. I never knew what words would come out of her mouth. One time she plainly says she has washed her hands of Precious. She does not see Precious again for years. Precious has her first sexual experience on the bed with a bunch of coats and pocketbooks underneath her. Her mother and aunt are in the other room partying. My heart cried for Precious. I have heard it said that children continue to love their abusers. This is true for Precious.
"I wonder whether she used to hold me and kiss me when I was a baby...I want to tell my mother if she'd known me then, when I was newborn and clean and pure and plump, she could have loved me. I bet she could. If she'd given herself a chance. If she'd given me a chance."
When Precious grows up and is attending Oxford University, she excitedly calls and tells her mother every experience. At one point, she makes two A's and one c in a course that has nothing to do with her future interests. Of course, her mother latches on to the c never recognizing the grades of excellence. Oddly, this woman is very intelligent. She is an upper crust accountant. She wears her finery, spends her money and lives to please herself and perhaps, the other daughter and her new two sons.
Color Blind is as rich as a Christmas fruitcake. Not only did the mother leave me thinking and thinking about emotional abuse. I thought about the importance of identity too. At one point, Precious says "I've no inclination to continue apologizing for the colour of my skin. I want to be allowed to be me. But then, can I really be me when I am not a hundred per cent sure who me is yet?"
What is going to happen to Precious? This is the question I asked myself throughout the book. After all, the words running through this young woman's life are so derogatory. "My head is filled to tipping-point with mocking words" is how Precious describes the words in her head. This is a true story about the possibility of surviving horrible obstacles, making it through a cave when there is no lighted path. This is a story about brutal reality. This is also a memoir about weakness becoming strong.
On her own Precious strives to find herself. She buys an African pendant. She writes pen pals trying to identify herself culturally. More importantly than an African pendant is the one intelligent conversation on the phone with her mother. Finally, her mother shares their wonderful, inspiring family history with Precious. Precious and her mother talk for three hours. Precious is thirsty for this knowledge.
Finally, when Precious asserts herself not as Anita but Precious and names a little girl Alice after Alice Walker, I know she has been saved. Her inner self had become strong along the way. She had become a victor and not a victim.