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Color Blind: A Memoir Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 3, 2010


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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.

Review

'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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (August 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159691338X
  • ASIN: B005M4CCUU
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,232,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Her courage is amazing.
Nancy
In her life all these adults think they know the best way of life for Precious.
Grapes
This was a really interesting story, and unlike anything I've read before.
IvyIris777

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nancy on August 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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 By Amy L. Campbell on August 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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 By IvyIris777 on August 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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 By Margot E. Henriksen on August 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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 By thesavvybamalady VINE VOICE on September 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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 going to give your child away and talk to the people as though they are YOUR servants? yet you just feel within you that you can take your child any old time you want to and that the people who raised would not get attached to her? not want her? to me, she got what she really wanted but not in the way she thought. As for Precious, I felt sorry for her because although she felt loved and adored with Nanny and her daughter, at the same time, I don't feel she ever felt at home there. So, she gave up pieces of herself(giving in to people molesting her or taking what they want from her)and ran smack into a identity crisis by the time she was a teenager. Although I feel that her caretakers loved her, I don't believe they really understood what it would take to raise a child of color and what it entails(i.e. her hair issues, the bullies at school)and that helped to the identity crisis she had as a teen. Another thing with her mother not telling her about her father and not even knowing who this man was, then finding out that he had died three years after looking for him, I can only imagine what that has done to her. that's a whole other history not known and vanished to her. I applaud her for letting her daughter meet her father and for the father persisting in knowing his child. the only thing is I wish she would tell us more of her daughter who should be approaching adulthood now.
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