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I'm Down: A Memoir Paperback – June 8, 2010
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About the Author
Mishna Wolff was one of the 2009 Sundance Screenwriting Lab fellows. She is a humorist and former model, who grew up in Seattle. She lives and writes in New York City.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Before we begin let's establish what this book is not: It is not hilarious or tragic as a cover blurb indicates. It is also not, strictly speaking, truly autobiographical as the author declaims up front something to the effect that many of the things in the book might never have happened and that she uses composites of characters to represent distinct personalities in her story.
What this book is is a very charming, often poignant, quite incisive, well-told story based on the remembrances of a caucasian woman whose childhood was spent living in a deteriorating Seattle neighborhood with a father who chose to 'go black.'
Interestingly, it is also a real testimonial to the quality and effectiveness of the the Seattle public school system and civic organizations in their efforts to provide opportunities to its most promising albeit less privileged (read wealthy) chidren.
The story revolves around a white girl who, along with her younger sister remain in the custody of her ne'er do well father who has fashioned himself a black man in a white man's body. They live in an urban Seattle neighborhood which has become predominantly black; a change that the girls' father revels in.
The author does a wonderful job of describing the struggles and triumphs she experiences as she struggles with the multiple challenges of adolescence; parental divorce; racial comity, difference and divide; and familial and peer group strife.Read more ›
Mishna grew up in an odd sort of situation : she was White, as was her whole family, yet her dad was convinced he was Black. She grew up in a Black neighborhood and went to schools with majority of Black kids . Her Dad was constantly trying to teach her how to fit into this scenario, which she never felt she did .
Her parents divorced when she was young, so at one point, she went to live with her mom, and her mom enrolled her into a "gifted" school program, since she was really smart . She began trying to fit in with the richer group of White kids , and seemed to feel a bit out of the loop in that group too. She didn't want them to know she lived in such a poor neighborhood, and didn't get to do the things most of the other kids did .
So, somehow, throughout all this, she learned to conform and fit into her own space , and possibly feel more comfortable , over time, living in both worlds .
The book is absolutely hilarious ,so she definitely kept a sense of humor about her situation . At the end, you learn that no one has a perfect life , no matter what Race you are or what neighborhood you live in . Everyone has obstacles to overcome in life, and we all need to learn to carve out our own space in the world, just as the author did.
A really GOOD book !
Mishna Wolff was born to white hippie parents in Vermont. However, when her family moves back to Seattle, her father drops the pretense of being "a white man" and becomes the "black man" he fancies himself to be. Having grown up in a predominantly black neighborhood during his childhood, Mishna's father immerses himself in the speech patterns, clothing and culture of his black friends. He expects his daughters to do the same. For Mishna's younger sister Anora, this wasn't a problem. However, Mishna has a hard time finding her place in the neighborhood hierarchy of kids. And when her parents divorce and her mom moves out, she finds herself struggling to fit in. Left largely to her own devices, Mishna must find her own way to survive.
When her dad enrolls the girls in summer camp, Mishna is out of her element and regularly terrorized by the other children. But her quick wit and smarts help her find a survival strategy that works for her: capping. Capping is the fine art of "yo mama" jokes where participants engage in trading escalating insults. Mishna excels at capping, and it is her lifeline in the hard-knock world of kid society.
I was becoming a machine--or at least I thought I was. All I know is I had purpose:
1. Me ruling.
2. You sucking.
I had aspirations. I had goals. I had a lot of friends, and a lot of bruises.
But just as Mishna begins to fit in at the neighborhood, her mom steps in and gets her transferred to a school for gifted children. Feeling she has found her place in the world at last, Mishna is excited--even thought attending the school means a long commute on city buses. Alas, although Mishna finds herself with children who have the same skin tone, she is still an outsider.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book did not have me "questioning what it means to be black and white in America," like the back cover promises. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jonathan Walburgh
I am completely obsessed with this book! It came with no imperfections absolutely brand-new. Thank you so so much!!Published 6 months ago by erin figueroa
My African-American work friend told me that I would enjoy this book. I love to read. We are Flight Attendants so we need things to read during our down time. I will say this. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Gary Gardner
I thought it was funny, disturbingly real, good writing, made me want to read more of herPublished 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
I usually don't read stories like this one, I think I got it for a class a couple years ago, but I've recently re-read it and I adore this book! Read morePublished 9 months ago by Taylor
Had to make some sort of rating, but I really have a question. Why are there parenthesis saying that this book is Mysteries of Ancient Ireland featuring Sister Fidelma and... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Rhode Island Redhead
This book is a little difficult for me to review because it was not what I was expecting. Every description of this book that I saw before reading it talked about what a... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Lilla Grisham