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Black Boy: A Record of Childhood and Youth Paperback – March 27, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a story of racial dissonance-- and how horrifying it is to see the lengths that whites would go to to abuse and humiliate emancipated blacks!-- but it is also a story of a brilliant young man whose voice crosses racial bounds. I could identify with him completely, and I have little patience with those reviewers who've described him as "whiny" or "negative" or "hateful." I know what it feels like to grow up in a rural town and have people try to break you for having aspirations. I know what it's like to "feel and cultivate feelings" while others strive for "the trivial material prizes of American life," and I know that justifiable distrustfulness and resentment are not to be confused with hate.Most importantly, I know what it feels like to try to escape one's oppressive roots. The pain in this story was so real for me that I cried my way through many, many passages.
"Black Boy" should come as a revelation to black persons, white persons (like myself), and anyone who has ever hungered for their life to mean something more.
Richard Wright recalls his poverty-stricken childhood, abandoned by a father, and physically abused and misunderstood by the adults in his life. Uncomfortable among his own people, he didn't fit in with the lifestyle of the blacks in his life nor could he abide the Jim Crow shuffling he had to do with whites. He found he could not compromise his values and knew he had to leave the south. The poverty was startling yet he chose to go back to live with his mother and grandmother when he could have stayed with an uncle where there was plenty of food.
With only an nine grade education, he was self-taught, reading and disciplining himself to pursue what he wanted most, to write. And write he did. He wrote stories and had them published when he was still in school and when he moved to Chicago he wrote for the Communist Party. With the Party, Wright thought he had found his niche, but again, he was the odd man out never conforming to their ideals.
As I read I kept saying, this is enough already. The poverty, the abuse, the Jim Crow and racism was a wearing me down. But this was a man who rose above his circumstances to have a life that was worth pursuing and living. I am intrigued by this man and his life and look forward to reading his most recent biography.
Most of the book concentrates on Wright's troubled childhood. His father abandoned the family at a young age, and for most of his youth Wright was bandied about amongst his frail mother, his psycho-religious grandmother, and a string of uncles and aunts. Wright rarely attended school, and when he did, he almost never stayed for more than two years in a row. His main occupation was trying to find work to feed his family and save for his trip to the North. Along the way Wright gives us many interesting stories about his youth and about the American South. Wright drank liquor heavily before he was seven, lived in a whorehouse, and even spent time in an orphanage. Despite all of these obstacles, Wright still managed to teach himself how to read and write. He was reading Sinclair Lewis and Theodore Dreiser in a time when to do so could spell disaster for a
Black man. His accounts of the discrimination he encountered while working in the South are pretty disturbing.Read more ›
This book is an integral depiction of what American society was like during this time period. The hardships and injustices that the African American race faced each day has become a significant part of our history. All of the incidents that occurred in this book represent the struggles that African American citizens did their best to conquer each and every day. The harsh and unjust treatment of African Americans is revealed through the author's own life experiences, all of which are reflected in Black Boy.
I found this book to be one of the best books I have ever read. It touched me and saddened me to know that this was a part of my history as an American. In comparison to a few books I have read about segregation, I have found Black Boy to be the most personal. This is because the way the author expresses the sentiment of human emotions and the intimate details of characters thoughts and beliefs. I would definitely recommend this book for those who are interested in the racial progress of our country.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this years ago and I am excited to have the opportunity to have it on my Kindle.Published 10 days ago by Bev T
Good book but a little strange and goes from one idea to another, flip flopping. Bought it for English and the extra information in the back was extremely helpful.Published 15 days ago by Amazon Customer
Amazingly well written account of a man growing up in the deep south, overcoming a myriad of obstacles. I was riveted from page one right through the end. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Joe
Richard Wright opens your eyes and allows you to join him in his amazing life growing up in the deep South in a white man's world. Read morePublished 1 month ago by William M. Brown
An incredible book that gives us insight to what was the early life of literary great Richard Wright, and what it meant to be Black then and sadly also know. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Charles J. Dale
This autobiography of Richard Wright's life during segregation shows not only how life was in the African American communities in the south but also the discrimination many African... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Heather McDaniel
I had to read this book over 30 years ago for an Afro American Lit class. The book had a huge impact on me as a white person living a segregated life in my childhood. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer