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4.0 out of 5 stars8
4.0 out of 5 stars
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on 5 July 1998
The Blacker the Berry is a truly classic novel and one from a great time period - the Harlem Renaissance. Wallace Thurman weaves an unfamiliar tale of a African American woman who struggles with her skin color, the acceptance of family members and racism within the black community.
At the time "The Blacker the Berry" was written, it was the first novel of its kind to address issues widely known among the black community, but never discussed.
It's about a young woman, Emma Lou, who's darker skin tone brings anguish and breeds hatred not only for herself but from her lighter skinned relatives. Set in the 1920s, the main character travels from Boise, Idaho to Harlem, New York in hopes of escaping her problems back home. However, she only runs into deeper problems in a new city.
The "Blacker the Berry" shares with us her journey for self love and social equality. Every woman of any race or background can relate to this book in some manner. After reading the novel, I encouraged all of my friends to examine their own views on skin color and share them with others in hopes of breaking down barriers and unwanted stereotypes. It was a wonderful book and I enjoyed reading it because it was very descriptive about Harlem - my original home town.
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on 26 August 1999
It is a real shame this book is a "lost" classic. The characters in this book are so real I feel I might see them walking down the street.
The only flaw I can spot in Thurman's book is an over reliance on exposition. I understand he probably wished to keep the story moving and he had a lot of ground to cover, but this story just screamed for more conversation between the characters. Besides, Thurman, also a playwright, is a master at conversation.
If you are reading this, then you obviously have some sort of interest in the theme. If that's true, you owe it to yourself to read this book. I read it over a 24-hour span. I bought it for my fiance, but when I opened the box and read the first few pages, I was hooked. I told my fiance that she would have to wait until I finished it before she could get it. Luckily, it was so engrossing, I finished it the next day.
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on 22 July 1997
Wallace Thurman, who died
tragically young, was a major figure in the
Harlem Renaissance and, had
he lived, would surely have been acocunted among the leading African American writers. THE BLACKER THE BERRY
is kind of the inverse of books like Nella Larsen's PASSING and Jessie Fauset's PLUM BUN, as it shows a dark-skinned black woman who despairs of earning respect even within her own community due to her skin color. At once radical and inclusive, Thurman's work presents a different picture from the stereotypes, and shows how self-acceptance is the prerequisite for social equity.
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on 17 May 1997
I am so excited that this novel is receiving the attention it deserves! The author holds your attention with a fast paced story. This story explores what is often a taboo subject within the African American community...intra-racism. The story will force you to examine your views on some of the things that you heard while growing up and to think about your definition of beauty. Although the heroine is somewhat tragic, there are some funny scenes. Please read it and share it with a friend.
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on 21 July 1997
I finished the book last night and I am still in a state of confusion. I rarely find myself at a lost for words but I certainly haven't been able to adequately relay my thought on this book. This book opened the issue of racism within the black race but did little to suggest a means to an end. The author does however challenge ones vocabulary muscle. I very much welcome anyone to write me and let me know of there thoughts on this book.
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on 9 January 1999
As one member of our book club said while reading this book, you must remember it is just a book. While written back in the 1920's it makes the reader look into onesself and think about any "intra-ethnic" stereotypes the reader may have. The reader should keep this thought in mind while reading this book or else you'll want to bring the author back from the grave to defend why he wrote it.
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on 23 January 1998
I have never been so shaken aafter reading a book, than I have this one. Blacker The Berry is the story of a young black woman, Emma Lou, and the life that she leads. It's about discrimination and prejudice that is within the African-American community, and our society at large. Real, unblinkingly honest, told in a lyrical voice, Blacker The Berry is a book for the ages.
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on 26 July 1998
There is a great deal of hypocrisy in this book, but it comes from the fact that "light-skinned" members of the protagonist's family should have rejected the myth that they are in the same "race" with blacks. Latinos are just as racially mixed as "Anglos" of mixed ancestry (with different phenotypes and colors among family members), but they do not submit to the nonsense that they are the same as blacks. If the "light-skinned" family members had openly rejected the black stigma, they would have been far better off both mentally and socially.
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