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Passing For Black Paperback – June 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dafina (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758223870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758223876
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,615,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Linda Villarosa is a freelance writer and editor. She is a former editor of both the New York Times and Essence Magazine, where she wrote a number of award-winning articles. The author of Body & Soul: The Black Women's Guide to Physical Health and Emotional Well-Being, a Blackboard Bestseller, Linda has also written several other books. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her partner and two children. Passing For Black is her first novel.

Customer Reviews

Second, the author misleads readers with the title of the book.
A. Gift
Angela Wright, a journalist is not sure who she is, sometimes feels she is not the right kind of black and other times feels she does not know how she identifies.
Angelia Menchan
She never felt comfortable in her skin because she was always teased about not being "black" enough.
The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Angelia Menchan on July 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Passing for Black by Linda Villarosa gives us a clear view of how confusing it can be for an African-American, trying to be a `Real Black,' whatever that means, and struggling with her sexuality at the same time. Angela Wright, a journalist is not sure who she is, sometimes feels she is not the right kind of black and other times feels she does not know how she identifies. She has chosen journalism because her mother, Janet, is a very successful reporter. Angela is engaged to successful professor, Dr. Keith Redfield, because he is a good man, and the right man for her, according to everyone, but her. As much as Angela has she feels out of sorts and is lacking something in her life. Secretly, she feels her longing for female love might be the problem. However, she has tamped those feelings for years, because she knows it is the right thing to do. Or is it? When she meets one of Keith's colleagues, Professor Cait Getty, she is immediately attracted and cannot get the woman out of her mind.

Angela finds a way to talk to Cait, she goes on an undercover assignment to a lesbian convention and immediately she and Cait connect. Once Cait discovers Angela is a journalist, she is angered by her duplicity and decides not to see her. Of course, Angela pursues her and a tryst unfolds. Immediately, the reader is pulled into the complications surrounding this love affair, including Keith's discovery and how Angela's parents feel about her choices.

Ms. Villarosa wrote a provocative, sometimes funny and very human account of a woman's sexual identity unveiling. The only stumbling block for me was Keith's one dimensional, almost stereotypical, bumbling maleness. I would have loved for him to be more dynamic, thus proving Angela's desires were more due to natural desires than to his inadequacies.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on July 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
Angela Wright, the daughter of a doctor and television newscaster, is a successful journalist for Desire` magazine. She is engaged to Keith Redfield, a professor of African Studies, with whom she has been in a relationship for six years. She never felt comfortable in her skin because she was always teased about not being "black" enough. She is also uncomfortable with her feelings for other women, which she has suppressed for years. But meeting Cait, a white lesbian, invokes feelings in Angela so strong she can't ignore them. Her obsession with Cait leads her down a path she is not sure she wants to take.

PASSING FOR BLACK carries a two-fold message of being black in a racist society and being gay in a heterosexual world. It is hard to fathom what is more profound in the novel: racial intolerance or discrimination due to sexual preference. Just as there is discrimination within the race, there is also intolerance within the gay community against other gays. Angela's struggles with her sexuality is no different than the tale of others. Her character came off as rather selfish at times, which didn't allow me to empathize with her, nor agree with her decisions. It also took some time for me to get into the rhythm of the book. Although Villarosa is an established author, this is her first novel.

Reviewed by Paula Henderson
of The RAWSISTAZ(tm) Reviewers
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By lenkalotte on December 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
First novel by Linda Villarosa. Quick read that was refreshingly different from usual lesfic novels, mostly in a good way.

I came across it because it was mentioned/reviewed by afterellen.com. And seriously? You can't guess the lesbian content from the blurb or the cover. I'm all for lesbian authors/novels being published by non-queer publishing houses, but how on earth am I supposed to find them when they don't tell me that that is what's in the book. But that's another story.

The novel is the story of Angela, writer for a hip magazine in her 20s, who falls in love with Cait, her fiancee's nemesis at the university at which they are both professors. It is, in its core, a coming out story, but so much more. Angela is looking for her place in the world and doesn't seem to be able to be herself or express her opinions to those who are closest to her.

The title "Passing for Black" alludes to Angela's dilemma that she doesn't feel black enough, feels like she's pretending to be someone she's not. Breaking out of her pattern of trying to please everyone around her sends her on a journey of self-discovery and also discovering that everyone harbors prejudice.

I enjoyed reading this book, it's fast paced and funny, even though at its core it's a serious book.

One drawback is that the characters at times felt stereotypical, clearly designed to fulfill a function.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sistahs on the Shelf on October 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
In PASSING FOR BLACK, the first foray into fiction by renowned journalist Linda Villarosa, her heroine Angela Wright is a buppie struggling with both her sexual and racial identities.

By outside appearances, Angela's life is seamless in her middle-class world, where she's an editor at Désire magazine, engaged to a history professor at a prominent university and mingles with a Black elite inner circle. Yet it's simply a facade. Angela has never felt secure with herself, and "passing" is simply her coping mechanism to deal with never feeling "black enough." With her mother, Janice, considered a local heroine in the black female community, she always felt tragically compelled to live up to her mother's roots. And at 29, she should be ready to be married after a six-year relationship with Keith, but something always holds her back. Namely, her attraction to women, a temptation she forbade herself from having for so many years.

But it's one she can't resist with Cait Getty, one of Keith's colleagues at Amsterdam University. After spying the woman hanging posters for a lesbian sex conference, all pretenses of a white picket fence life fade away. Instead, she finds herself drawn to the androgynous vibe of this white woman, an activist whose fervor for women's issues is only matched by her passion for Angela. With sandy brown hair, boyish good looks and British accent, Cait is nothing Angela expected to be infatuated with. In fact, she's everything opposite of what her family and friends would see her with.

It leaves Angela, who's normally indecisive and non-confrontational, torn as to whom she should be with.
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