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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Black Ice Paperback – February 4, 1992

3.4 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cary, a black woman, recounts her challenging years as student and teacher at an elite prep school. Author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-- A streetwise kid from West Philly, Cary was the first African-American female to attend St. Paul's, a prestigious New England prep school. With tremendous drive, she set out to achieve self-imposed academic, athletic, and social goals. Although she believed she owed it to the school that accepted her on scholarship, to her family who encouraged and sacrificed, and to those who will come after, she found that the price was great. The emotional distance from her family widened with the geographic separation, and their deep love and pride could not make up for their blindness to her discomfort. While Cary achieved most of her aims, thus justifying the experience to herself, perceptive readers will be pained at her need to do so. Broader in scope than most coming-of-age memoirs, this candid account is sure to strike a sympathetic chord.
-Jackie Gropman, Richard Byrd Library, Springfield, VA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 237 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (February 4, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679737456
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679737452
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've read Black Ice atleast 7 times in the past 2 years because with each reading I continue to understand how my experiences at a predominantly white high school have shaped the person I have become. I can not remember the exact phrasing, but there is one passage in Black Ice that sums up how I feel about my high school experience. It goes something like this: If I had left St. Paul's School the same person who went there, there would have been no use in going. In other words, accept that you will be changed when you live through the alienation and self-inflicted loneliness of integrating schools in the Post-Jim Crow, Post Civil Rights Movement era. I wish that I would have read this book while I was still in high school. I would be able to better articulate to my friends and family what I was experiencing.
I've been wondering if the title has anything to do with the lake that Lorene visited in the story when she took the time to think about her life one night. Or maybe it is a visual reference to her heart, dark and cold because she, in her own words, had not loved enough during her teen-age years. Perhaps, it is a reference to the black ice on the roads that you have to watch out for in the winter...
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By Chris on November 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a memoir by one of the first black female students at an elite prep school in New Hampshire, in the early 70's. The biggest psychological issue that come clearest through in this book, is the author's feelings of severe insecurity about operating in this rich white academic environment. She was ambitious to outshine everybody, of whatever race at the school and she ended up a neurotic mess, full of deep dissapointment that she did not. The author makes her deep confusion clear as she struggled with guilt about wheather she was betraying her working class black background to partake in the immense luxuries provided by the school. All the while so many hardworking working class people, like those she knew growing up, were deprived of that which the rich white snobs at the school took for granted. She seems to feel longer guilty about all this; she's proud of who she is and what she's gone through. Also of interest is her apparent deep fear of her white classmates, even though she developed many friendships.
One gets the impression that the author may not, when she published this book, have completely resolved her feelings.
For the most part, this is a well-told story (except towards the end). I particularly liked the contrast between her artistocratic life at St. Paul and her life when she came back to her working class home for the summer before senior year and worked at the Dinner. There she met Booker, the pot-smoking, tough-guy head cook and reveals him to be a tragic figure.
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Format: Hardcover
Black Ice by Lorene Carey is a beautifully written autobiographical narrative
that speaks to the many problems of growing up in a complex world.
It is the story of a young Philadelphian who attends a private
boarding school in New Hampshire. She was accepted into St. Paul's
shortly after it was opened to women and at a time when the school was
interested in broadening its cultural base. Even with the uniqueness of
the school experience, this story is about the trials and
unpredictability of growing up.

This is an excellent reading for high school students because
of its accurate and authentic portrayal of the volatile years of high school.
It is a true coming of age story with all of its uncertainties and complications.
Students can identify with her journey toward knowledge of herself and
the world; they can relate to her struggles in learning who she
could trust, making strong decisions, and assuming responsibility for her actions.
Her narration often includes her fears which can be liberating
for high school students who may feel they are the only ones who have
felt this fear.

While it can be an affirming experience for students to read about
familiar problems, an additional benefit of this coming of age story
is the oppurtunity for witnessing the subtleties of racism in the modern
world. Lorene Carey's frank narration about the confusion and
fear she felt in the traditional world of St. Paul's challenges
the reader to question the power of social institutions.

Finally, Black Ice inspires meaningful discussions on the issues
and complications facing students hoping to find their place in a
demanding, changing world.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wanted to like this book. I really did. I had heard Lorene Cary speak at a conference, and she was incredibly inspiring. The way she spoke, she sounded like an amazing writer, and so I was excited to pick up this book, the first work by Cary that I have had a chance to read. It simply did not live up to my expectations.

Cary does do some great things with language in this memoir. Many descriptions are beautifully poetic, and the metaphor of black ice is one that will stick with me. But there were also many flaws in this book, the greatest being that I feel as though she did not do enough to let the reader in. Perhaps I expect more from memoirs, but one of the reasons I enjoy reading them so much is for the insights writers share when they look back on the experiences they choose to write about. Memoir can allow for great intimacy between writer and reader, and Cary just does not do that here. Perhaps distancing herself was intentional, but it was not a tactic that worked for me. She does a good job describing the black female experience in a world that was previously all-white, all-male, but I feel like she could have gone deeper, as far as how she personally felt about the particular aspects of her life that she chose to share. Coming-of-age stories are ones I naturally gravitate to, as there is so much emotion to explore in that adolescent experience, and in my opinion, Cary only skimmed the surface. She couldn't break through the black ice the book is named for, so the experiences she writes about seem a bit watered-down.

I also had a hard time keeping track of some of the characters. Many of her schoolmates in particular appeared so fleetingly, and weren't developed enough, so that I found myself paging backwards to remind myself who some of them were.
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