Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Book Review--Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

Black Like MeBlack Like Me by John Howard Griffin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished reading this for a book club discussion a couple weeks ago. It was my second time reading it, the first being for a college class. The second time through it hit me harder how sad it really is. The first time I read it I think I was too busy trying to think academically to really read it. The first time I gave it 5 stars because it was so different from anything I'd read to that point and shocking. This time, because I was reading it with a different goal in mind I can't quite want to give it 5 stars. There's nothing about his writing style or anything of the like that has gone down in my view, it's just that there just aren't any really happy parts of the book and that makes it hard for me to want to give it 5 stars. I know the subject matter of racism isn't a happy topic, and being that it's a true account he couldn't change story to make people feel good (that would have defeated the purpose of the book), but I feel like if I'm going to give a book 5 stars it needs to make me feel good about something.

I do recommend the book as a book to be read by a more mature audience, 15+. There are few swear words being used in general conversation, and a chapter that deals with sexuality, but he covers it in a vague way, or at least as vague as he can be and still get the basic message across.

The book is one that should make you squirm in your seat and feel uncomfortable, make you think about how and why you act and think the way you toward other races.

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Dallas, Dad, Big D & I said...

I read this book many years ago and it had an impact on me then and once in a while pops up into my mind. It seems clear to me that whatever the reason we might be prejudiced that it can escalate to harm until surely we are part of the cause of the problems that we hate in the other race. If on the other hand we choose to care and love others then we can encourage the good that exists in all races. I prefer to encourage good rather than ill.

The Elledges said...

your review sounds like my feelings about Glass Castle. have you it. that really was sad and an incredible true story.

Kellie said...


I haven't read The Glass Castle, but I've heard good things about it.