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Color Blind: A Memoir [Kindle Edition]

Precious Williams
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Born in Africa to a Nigerian princess, Precious Williams was less than one year old when her mother put an ad in Nursery World: "Pretty Nigerian baby girl needs new home." Precious's mother had flown to London in search of a new life--a life in which there was no space for a daughter. The first response came rom a 60-year-old white woman, Nan, who prided herself for being "color blind." Correspondence were exchanged, no questions asked, and Precious left her mother for Nan's home in rural England.

Nan may have been color blind, but others in their small town were not. Precious grew up in an entirely white household, attending all-white schools, where she remained for her entire childhood. She was taunted by her peers and misunderstood by Nan. Precious's mother occasionally made fleeting, magical visits until she was nine, but would often critisize her for being "too white."

Finding it impossible to related to any family members--biological or surragoate--she became disillusioned and self-destructive. She retreated to her imagination, forging an identity from characters she'd seen on TV, in movies, and read about in books.

Color Blind is a powerful coming-of-age memoir exploring themes of motherhood and race.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Williams offers an English journalist's wry, charming memoir of being a black Nigerian girl growing up in a 1970s white foster home in a village of West Sussex, England. As a baby, Anita Williams was farmed out by her glamorous Nigerian mother to a couple in their late 50s, Nanny and her wheelchair-bound husband, Gramps, to be brought up as a proper English girl with the Queen's accent. Altruistic, Christian, and modest of means, Nanny tells her: "Your colour doesn't matter, Anita. You're just the same as me underneath." Yet Anita stuck out like a sore thumb in mostly white Fernmere, visited occasionally by her haughty, highly critical Mummy Elizabeth, an accountant, and Elizabeth's male sidekick, whom the author recalls molesting her sexually when she was very small. While the town bullies routinely called her names, Nanny and her family doted on her, worried sick that she'd be taken back by her mother. Anita's older stepsister, Agnes, turned up for a visit, while a trip to Nigeria with her mother to visit the far-flung relatives cured Anita of her stereotypical notions of Africans. Gradually, Anita learned that being "black" possessed many complicated connotations, and as she grew up she excelled as a student and rebelled in turn. Her beautifully wrought memoir reaches back deeply and generously to regain the preciousness she felt lost to her.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


'Williams's writing is accomplished -- pacey yet carefully spare... Such is the vividness of her characters and dialogue that Williams now might choose to find a powerful new voice by making the leap into fiction.' -- Sunday Times

'Color Blind is an achingly beautiful triumph of will that is both heart-wrenching and hopeful. I was riveted to the pages, even taking the book to sporting events and reading while everyone around me was cheering on the game.' -- Lolita Files

'Amazing story.  Heartbreaking read.  But impressed nonetheless.' -- Lori Tharps

'Powerful and arresting memoir...' --The Bookseller Magazine

'Endearing, wry prose...' --The Times

"As shatteringly moving as it is incredible... This book is not so much a coming-of-age story as a harrowing coming-to-be tale... Against all odds, Williams claims her future. Gorgeously written with a fiercely honest voice, Color Blind shows that who we are is shaped by how we are nurtured, even when our histories leave damage that is as much a part of us as our shadows." -Caroline Leavitt, Boston Globe

"Precious Williams upends every expectation about race, class, gender and ambition in her startlingly powerful memoir." -USA Today

"An affecting memoir about growing up in two worlds, neither quite comfortable with the other… One important theme is the trope of abandonment. Another is the ineluctable sense of being different in a place in which ordinariness is a virtue... The story moves along toward a satisfying conclusion that speaks to aspiration and desire.” –Kirkus

"[Williams'] beautifully wrought memoir reaches back deeply and generously to regain the preciousness she felt lost to her.” -Publishers Weekly

"Precious Williams' brave examination of identity and loss reminds us that by going into the heart of what we are most afraid of, we find our liberation." - Eve Ensler, creator of The Vagina Monologues

"A beautiful, haunting new Dickensian tale of growing up between two mothers and two motherlands." -Catherine E. McKinley, author of The Book of Sarahs

"Raw, honest, heartbreaking, and heartwarming, Color Blind will linger in your soul long after the book is closed, reminding us all that ther is nothing more powerful on earth than the human spirit." - Donna Hill, author of What Mother Never Told Me

"Precious Williams is a vibrant, deliciously alive storyteller. With attention to the choice incandescent detail, she holds the reader in passionate immediacy of the moment. Color Blind is an unforgettable story of outrageous humor, heartbreak, and transcendence." - Lisa Teasley, author of Dive and Glow in the Dark

Product Details

  • File Size: 530 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (June 22, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003T0FMF6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #397,005 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Color Blind August 29, 2010
By Nancy
What a wonderful book. Color Blind: A Memoir by Precious Williams made a dent in my heart. I feel like I want to say, "I understand." I understand the different stages that the author explained as she unraveled the story of her unique life.

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.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything a memoir should be August 10, 2010
Note: This is a review of an Advanced Copy received from the First Reads program on [...], 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 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 [[...]].
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lessons here... and hope! August 10, 2010
This was a really interesting story, and unlike anything I've read before. That's not to say that there aren't other books like this one, but for me it was different, unique, and enlightening. Precious' story is both heartbreaking and inspiring. While she has overcome so much to become a successful writer, she is still haunted by her past and a mother that never showed her how to love and be loved. There are lessons to be learned from this book and truths that we'd rather ignore, but there is also hope... hope that we can change with time, that we aren't doomed to repeat the mistakes of our ancestors, and that even imperfect love can carry us through the obstacles and challenges that life throws at us.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This book felt like a cross between 'I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings' and 'The Bluest Eye'. It's the same kind of precocious talent that changes the way we look at our world. Reading the book, I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. I laughed and I sobbed. I was so sorry this young girl had to suffer so terribly at the hands of those people who clearly meant well but did not do well by her. The only thing I didn't like was the fact that I don't know what happened to her afterwards. Where is she now? How is she? Was she affected by what happened? How? I loved this book but I need her to write the next phase. Excellent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Am I? March 27, 2011
By Grapes
Precious Williams

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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars kept me thinking
Wow! This book really takes you into the mind and horrors that shape a girl's life. It makes you think about your own life and then think about your child's and how they are... Read more
Published 1 month ago by jennybaby
4.0 out of 5 stars She Bares Her Soul
In telling her story, Precious gives us a frank, blunt outpouring of her most private thoughts and emotions in her memoir. Read more
Published on December 29, 2012 by Jadene
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointed
the story is very disjointed. You don't get involved with the characters to the point you care what happens to them. I was very disappointed
Published on December 10, 2012 by Ann M. Burris
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story
I am skittish about writing reviews because I know how subjective they are. I didn't have high expectations for Color Blind: A Memoir so I was pleasantly surprised to find myself... Read more
Published on October 21, 2012 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a very good book to read.
You can't beat the price of this book. It really is a page turner. Wendy is truly color blind and a great mother to Anita and her child Alice. Read more
Published on October 5, 2012 by G. D. Greene
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing read! Amazing life!
Wow! What an amazing book! And what an amazing woman, to come through the ordeal called her life, to make it to where she is today. Read more
Published on February 8, 2011 by Susan Schleicher
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Color Blind
I found this book engaging from beginning to end. It was an amazing story and often I kept forgetting it was based on life memoir's. Read more
Published on January 23, 2011 by C. Higgins
4.0 out of 5 stars color blind but not unloved..
If this novel isn't anything else, it's honest, it's wry, it's to the point. There are times I want to take that mother of hers and shake the stuffing out of her; I mean how you... Read more
Published on September 17, 2010 by thesavvybamalady
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
I really liked the book. Sometimes I little hard to understand because of the British slang/dialouge but other than that very interesting.
Published on September 5, 2010 by Debra
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written!
The book did not disappoint; it read so well, that I had to remind myself that it is a memoir, not a work of fiction. Precious Williams is a really good writer. Read more
Published on September 1, 2010 by busymom59
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More About the Author

PRECIOUS WILLIAMS' first book, 'Color Blind', published by Bloomsbury USA in August 2010, is a memoir about growing up in trans-racial private foster care. (A UK edition, titled 'Precious, A True Story', is published by Bloomsbury). Precious's story has been featured on Sky News and BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour and in the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian and USA Today. Her memoir was also serialized in 'The Times' and featured as a People Magazine "Great Read," a Sunday Times "Must Read" and Elle Magazine's "Recommended Read" for August 2010. A German translation of the book, titled 'Farbenblind', will be published in October 2010.

Born in the UK, Precious is of Sierra Leonean and Nigerian descent and she has lived in London and in New York. She studied English Language & Literature at Oxford and holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Periodical Journalism from the London College of Printing.

She has been a Contributing Editor at Elle & Cosmopolitan magazines and is currently studying for a master's degree in Creative Writing and at work on her second book, a novel.

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