Real American: A Memoir (Henry Holt & Company)
Julie Lythcott-Haims, the New York Times bestselling author of How to Raise an Adult, has written a different kind of book this time out – a deeply personal, biting and affecting account of her life growing up as a biracial black woman in America in Real American: A Memoir
Bringing a brisk, poetic sensibility to her prose, Lythcott-Haims stirringly evokes her personal battle with the low self-esteem that American racism routinely inflicts on people of color. The only child of an African-American father and a white British mother, she shows indelibly how so-called "micro" aggressions in addition to blunt force insults can puncture a person's inner life with a thousand sharp cuts. Real American expresses also, through Lythcott-Haims’s path to self-acceptance, the healing power of community in overcoming the hurtful isolation of being incessantly considered "the other" Real American is a fearless and powerful memoir. Lythcott-Haims’s eloquent words deserve to be studied, memorized, and repeated. Here is a book that should be read again and again, and then once more after that.
Praise for Real Americans
“A compelling, incisive and thoughtful examination of race, origin and what it means to be called an American. Engaging, heartfelt and beautifully written, Lythcott-Haims explores the American spectrum of identity with refreshing courage and compassion.” —Bryan Stevenson, New York Times bestselling author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
“Real American is a courageous, achingly honest meditation on what it means to come to consciousness as a mixed race child and adult in a nation where Black lives weren't meant to matter.” —Michelle Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness
“Breaks the silence on what it means to grow up mixed-race in America. Her spare but powerful prose has an emotional rawness that will profoundly resonate with all readers and help many feel a little less alone.” ―Heidi W. Durrow, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
“A cathartic and bold truth-telling.” ―Danzy Senna, bestselling author of Caucasia and New People
“A powerful, honest book that should be required reading for everyone.” —Anita Amirrezvani, author of The Blood of Flowers and Equal of the Sun
“To write with such an open heart about race and Blackness takes great courage. To do so in prose that is at once elegant and raw takes great talent.” —Ayelet Waldman, bestselling author of Bad Mother and of A Really Good Day
“A true achievement . . . so much more than a personal memoir . . . [Lythcott-Haims] channels the shrewdness of Eula Biss and the compassion of Ta-Nehisi Coates.” ―Lee Daniel Kravetz, international bestselling author of Strange Contagion and Supersurvivors
“Powerful . . . a memoir that [illuminates] the psychic cost of racism to those who are cast as ‘other.’ The journey of self-healing and the empowerment . . . is a story of triumph from which all of us can learn.” —Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? and Can We Talk About Race?
“Stands for, and stands up for, Americans who are questioned, confronted, disregarded and unnerved by our citizen country . . . Real American will be one of those books that is passed from hand to hand, with passages marked where readers find strong words that speak truth.” ―A.J. Verdelle, author of The Good Negress
“. . . shows once again, plainly and unforgettably, that if you are Black in America, it does not matter who you are, racism will come knocking. Lythcott-Haims . . . . Real American is the story of that insidious harm and of a woman who became alert to the American racism within herself and fought back. . . . not only an excellent, satisfying read but a book that can help us “stay woke”—as we must—to the sometimes stealthy and always life-threatening danger of racism, so that we all can fight back.” —U.S.
Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Julie Lythcott-Haims served as dean of freshmen and undergraduate advising at Stanford University, where she received the Dinkelspiel Award for her contributions to the undergraduate experience. She holds a BA from Stanford, a JD from Harvard Law School, and an MFA in writing from California College of the Arts. She is a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, and resides in the Bay Area with her husband, their two teenagers, and her mother.
Photo by Kristina Vetter
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