- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Incognito, Inc. (February 15, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 061541396X
- ISBN-13: 978-0615413969
- ASIN: B004D5909U
- Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,658,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Incognito: An American Odyssey of Race and Self-Discovery Paperback – February 15, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Those were the questions I had before reading Michael Sidney Fosberg's excellent book in which he shares in simplistic detail the need to "know" which motivated him to search for, and find his biological father. Who am I really? It is more than an identity- crisis, it is a journey of love seeking the creator of the "face" looking back at him in the mirror. Mr Fosberg's book, "Incognito" is a fascinating odyssey.
Mr. Fosberg's odyssey is not without pain. His task is to somehow navigate the often difficult waters between his mother, his brother and sister, his adopted father of Swedish heritage, his mother's family--his maternal grandfather was an Armenian who had been a slave to the Turks before fleeing to France and then coming to the U. S.--and his newly discovered African American relatives. You know you would have to love his newly-found grandmother in particular.
It is important to note that there are no family villains here. To a person, everyone in Fosberg's two families are decent people. On the other hand, he on a trip to Wilmington, North Carolina to visit a now-married friend whom he had a crush on as a teenager comes face to face with her husband, an unreconstructed bigot, who unaware of Fosberg's heritage, tells him a racist joke. Unfortunately many of the stereotypes about the South are often grounded in truth.
The holder of an MFA degree from the University of Minnesota, Mr. Fosberg tells his story with considerable skill. In short, he has a way with words--although this story is so moving that it would tell itself even in the hands of a less gifted craftsman. He breaks up with his fiancée because his "wallet wasn't big enough for the Prada purse" she had secretly charged on his credit card. He describes Hotel 6 as the "McDonald's of layovers." Someone's life is an "abnormal normalcy."
Mr. Fosberg's story ought to resonate with many people. While it is of course unique to him, the implications are universal. As he reminds us of the advice a wise second cousin gave him: "Because it seems to me that to be robbed of a parent and thus that parent's family and history, as you were at an early age, is in fact to be every bit as crippled as a person who is missing an arm, or a leg, or an eye. . . You can never know who you truly are until you have some sense of where you and your kind have been." Mr. Fosberg on diversity and discrimination: "More often than not people of color, along with other minority ethnic groups, are viewed as a racial group, rather than as individuals. Those who can't pass for white learn to live with the common occurrence of being pulled over while driving black or being watched by sales clerks when shopping. Immigrants who come to this country with strange-sounding names, language barriers, different appearances, or unusual cultural practices often find themselves the target of hostility. It's not just a black/white thing: it permeates the whole of our richly diverse society." He goes on to lament the fact that so many people with the means to travel to another country and embrace another culture choose not to do so. "After all, as Americans, we're all from someplace else."
I must say that this book affected me as few books do. When I got to page 72 when Mr. Fosberg on the first call out locates his father--surely his stars were aligned that day--I found my eyes burning. I was so moved that I immediately called up the author and told him how his story had affected me. I cannot imagine you can finish Michael's story and not be tremendously moved by both his honesty and humanity.
It would be a great shame if a major publisher does not pick up this privately-published book and provide the large readership that a book of this quality so richly deserves.
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