From Publishers Weekly
Phillips is not your typical Republican: he's a television actor, a sometime stay-at-home dad—and a proud black man. At his best, riffing on the difficulties of not conforming to stereotypes in a nation that refuses to shed them, Phillips is thought provoking and moving. With a memoirist's eye for incident, he writes about sitting out eighth-grade pickup football games, caught between the team of white boys he'd grown up with and the team of black boys who complained he lived in "Honkyville."He's acute on the absurdity of racial perceptions, as when he gets scripts that call for "an African-American neurosurgeon with street smarts." But his political essays often read like blog entries, heavy on outrage and rhetoric (the latter sometimes snappy), and feather-light on nuance and evidence (the latter sometimes dubious). They may draw cheers from those who share his faith in G.W. Bush, but won't persuade those who don't. Phillips's opinions (e.g., on faith, character and the pitfalls of affirmative action) may be the driving force behind his writing, but it's his lived experience that is likely to persuade readers of all colors—black, white, red or blue—that he has something to say. (May)
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Phillips, probably best known as the straitlaced son-in-law on the Bill Cosby Show, but lately a columnist and commentator on public radio, reflects on his life and politics from the perspective of a black conservative in Hollywood. He offers an honest look at his personal journey, exploring areas of character, family, faith, idealism, and identity. Phillips was raised in predominately white or integrated areas of Denver, where his diction earned him criticism from some blacks for talking "like a white boy." He recounts other personal experiences in an integrated setting that set him apart from other blacks in the post-civil rights era. A child of divorce, Phillips was also forced to cope with his mother's suicide. His father, a doctor, was stern, and the two didn't develop a close relationship until Phillips became an adult. His struggle to reconcile his life with his ideals led Phillips to become a conservative Republican and to a personal analysis of what it means to be authentic. Readers interested in different perspectives on race and identity will enjoy this revealing memoir. Vernon Ford
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