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Mama's Child: A Novel by [Lester, Joan Steinau]
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Mama's Child: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Ruby is a biracial child growing up in the 1980s, marching in demonstrations with her mother, Elizabeth, a white civil rights activist, and her African American father, Solomon. When outside pressures and Elizabeth’s budding feminism ultimately destroy the marriage, Solomon moves out, taking with him Ruby’s beloved brother. Ruby feels out of place living in her mother’s world of lesbianism, drinking, and pot smoking. Over time, as she learns more about her African heritage from her father, Ruby embraces her black identity, unleashing her anger on Elizabeth and formally disowning her mother. It isn’t until Ruby becomes the mother of a biracial child herself that she fully understands the power of love to transcend race. Mama’s Child is a deeply felt novel of a daughter on a quest for selfhood and a mother striving to come back to her own. Through alternating perspectives, Lester sensitively illuminates the challenges of living in a world still viewed through the filter of race. This is reminiscent of Alix Kates Shulman’s Burning Questions (1978) in terms of a woman’s consciousness awakening through a historic social movement. --Diane Holcomb

Unknown

“An astonishing accomplishment. The most passionate, the most honest and brave of books…riveting art.” (Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker )

"A powerful story brilliantly capturing the complications of the mother-daughter relationship from both sides." (Marissa Moss, author of the award-winning Amelia's Notebook series )

Mama’s Child is a stunning portrait of a family amidst the agony of recovery from near-drowning in the sea of racism. Joan Steinau Lester writes of the desperate vulnerabilities and the personal triumphs with a deft emotional hand that makes the struggles that have ripped apart this nation more personal than most have ever experienced. (Jewelle Gomez, novelist & playwright )

Mama’s Child is a welcome addition to the growing body of mixed-race literature. Joan Steinau Lester’s innovation is a shift in gaze from the experience of the confused child to the often overlooked, complicated white mother. It’s a turn that’s long overdue." (Emily Raboteau, author of Searching for Zion and The Professor’ )

“Poignant narrative . . . . no matter a person’s ethnic or cultural background, this book is relatable.” (Kirkus)

Mama’s Child is a deeply felt novel of a daughter on a quest for selfhood and a mother striving to come back to her own. Through alternating perspectives, Lester sensitively illuminates the challenges of living in a world still viewed through the filter of race.” (Booklist)


Product Details

  • File Size: 2467 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1451693184
  • Publisher: Atria Books (May 7, 2013)
  • Publication Date: May 7, 2013
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008J2BSO8
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,169,572 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This Book is a perfect well written example of what happens when parents get so caught up in their own convictions and their children are left to draw their own conconclusions. Being a mixed race child raised by a black adopted family, I understood Ruby some but mostly I wanted to slap her, but I wanted to slap her mother also. At some point her mother needed to see and understand that Ruby needed to be fought for and the struggle was alive and well in her own home. The demise of this relationship was the lack of communication and a lot of assumption through a child's eye and interpretation. I found this book frustrating, but well written. It is a good read. I say it is frustrating because a lot of it hits really close to home for me, causing a lot of self reflection . That's what good books do
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Format: Paperback
Joan Lester has crafted a story that is so compelling I found myself reading it at all times of day. I highly recommend that you read Mama's Child this way--in one fell swoop. And the minute you start telling others about the extraordinary struggles of Liz and Ruby, everyone will undoubtedly reveal some bit of family history that shares the universal themes of Mama's Child--the ties that bind us, the emotions that tear us apart, the love that gives us strength to do what is right.
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Format: Paperback
The thing I loved most about this book is the rawness and reality of it. The author doesn't take sides or push anything more than your own thought. I promise this book will have you thinking long after your turn the last page. And on top of that, it's merely a highly entertaining read that you won't want to put down!
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Format: Kindle Edition
I don't like giving low star reviews, but here is MY reason as to why it didn't rate higher.

Okay, this book was not what I had expected.

I really wanted to love this book because being a biracial child, I thought I would get this better than someone who isn't, and to a point I could relate and completely understand how Ruby felt. I am half Mexican and half White my father was not always in the picture growing up so I was with my mother majority of the time. My mother is Mexican, but I have very fair skin and light brown hair that naturally highlighted blonde. I was always called the "white girl". I was not Mexican enough for the Mexican girls and was not White enough for the White girls at school. I'm sure many would say that my mix doesn't count because I was not African American and Mexican and/or White. I grew up in the 90's and I am sure many would say that I wouldn't understand what racism is but I do. Yes, it was not as bad as it was in the 60's, but even today there is racism, it will never go away no matter how much I wish it would. Now that being said...

This book, to me felt like it was a lot of preaching for "black power", and bashing on a white woman who, when it all came down to it seemed to hate who she was and the color of her skin. That she wished she was born with black skin and not white. To the point that I felt as though she hated who she was and the color of her own skin. That I didn't understand. I love who I am as a woman of mixed race. I think I got the best of both worlds, it makes me who I am, unique and beautiful in my own way.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book. Easy and steady read. Some areas could be further developed or explained or incorporated in a sequel. Such as Aunt Cookie's history and where her hatred for Liz came from (besides the obvious racial implications).
Overall enjoyed the book. It brought up a lot of thought provoking topics regarding Race Relationships, identity, guilt and failure to get those answers.
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Format: Paperback
Mama' Child is a moving story of a bi-racial couple and the family they create. Elizabeth and Soloman met in the turbulent 50's. Elizabeth had left her home in the north to move to the south and teach black children, what she didn't expect was to lose her heart to the smooth talking musician fighting for equal rights. The chemistry was electric and from the beginning it was a done deal between the two of them, the white girl and the black man. Elizabeth stood beside Soloman with their black panther compatriots and fought for something better in the world. They brought two beautiful mixed children into the world that seemed to get crazier and crazier. Until Elizabeth couldn't even attend the meetings any longer and was forced to stay home while the children were allowed to attend. Both parents were brilliant teachers but as the topics heated up so did the sparks in their relationship until, sadly, the fire was to strong and they decided to go their separate ways.

The focus of this novel is on the relationship between Elizabeth, Lizzie as she asks the children to call her after the divorce, and her daughter Ruby. She only reluctantly allows Soloman to take Che in the divorce and only then because he is coming home drunk and she hopes her soon to be ex husband can help him. Ruby sees this as the ultimate betrayal and maybe that's what begins the spiral downwards in their relationship. They fight constantly between moments of deep closeness like any mother and daughter.

Lizzie struggles to find herself after losing her husband, she tries to identify with the feminist morals and even has a lesbian relationship. Her daughter disagrees with each of these decisions and hates being dragged to protests for any of the things her mother is passionate about.
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