Black Ice

Black Ice

4.1 17
by Lorene Cary

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In 1972 Lorene Cary, a bright, ambitious black teenager from Philadelphia, was transplanted into the formerly all-white, all-male environs of the elite St. Paul's School in New Hampshire, where she became a scholarship student in a "boot camp" for future American leaders.  Like any good student, she was determined to succeed.  But Cary

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In 1972 Lorene Cary, a bright, ambitious black teenager from Philadelphia, was transplanted into the formerly all-white, all-male environs of the elite St. Paul's School in New Hampshire, where she became a scholarship student in a "boot camp" for future American leaders.  Like any good student, she was determined to succeed.  But Cary was also determined to succeed without selling out.  This wonderfully frank and perceptive memoir describes the perils and ambiguities of that double role, in which failing calculus and winning a student election could both be interpreted as betrayals of one's skin.  Black Ice is also a universally recognizable document of a woman's adolescence; it is, as Houston Baker says, "a journey into selfhood that resonates with sober reflection, intellignet passion, and joyous love."

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Probably the most beautifully-written and the most moving African-American autobiographical narrative since Maya Angelou's celebrated I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."
—Arnold Rampersad
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Cary, a black woman, recounts her challenging years as student and teacher at an elite prep school. Author tour. (Feb.)
Library Journal
In 1972, Cary left her black suburban Philadelphia neighborhood to attend St. Paul's, an elite, formerly all-male prep school in New Hampshire. In these memoirs she describes the tumultuous transitions this new life engenders, as well as the inevitable racism over which she triumphs. After graduating, she returns to St. Paul's as a teacher. Cary tells her story well and with great description, but only at the book's end does the reader understand what she gained and lost as a result of her experience. Given her unique perspective, her narrative would have been much more interesting had she concentrated more on her tenure as a teacher and trustee, and how she responded to people as a result of her experience, instead of relying so much on recounting her school days. For large collections only.-- Danna C. Bell, Marymount Univ . Lib., Arlington, Va.
School Library Journal
YA-- A streetwise kid from West Philly, Cary was the first African-American female to attend St. Paul's, a prestigious New England prep school. With tremendous drive, she set out to achieve self-imposed academic, athletic, and social goals. Although she believed she owed it to the school that accepted her on scholarship, to her family who encouraged and sacrificed, and to those who will come after, she found that the price was great. The emotional distance from her family widened with the geographic separation, and their deep love and pride could not make up for their blindness to her discomfort. While Cary achieved most of her aims, thus justifying the experience to herself, perceptive readers will be pained at her need to do so. Broader in scope than most coming-of-age memoirs, this candid account is sure to strike a sympathetic chord.--Jackie Gropman, Richard Byrd Library, Springfield, VA

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Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Vintage Books Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.13(w) x 7.99(h) x 0.53(d)
880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

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Black Ice 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book Black Ice is an amazing book. It is about 200 pages long. It will make you think a lot. It is about a black girl who is going to an all-white school. She was one of the very few who went there. She then was able to pass the school, but was not happy because she could have done better. I thought this was a great book because I am African American and I know its hard getting a good education.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jak lashes the whip, hitting it across her a.s.s, where i lwft a red mark. "Now go and tand by those shackles." He said, pointing to a place on the wall where cuffs were hanging off by chains.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
:-( okay. I'll go back & find another master.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I believe this book was exiting and made me feel like I was in her position. As a minority, we go through so much. I never thought that we would get treated differently or go through the harsh things she went through just because the color of her skin. Lorene was strong and went through it all, and I have so much respect for her.If you get this book, you would never think about putting it down. It is filled with excitement, suspense, soberness, and a girl going through obstacles. You will enjoy Black Ice and leave a feeling that you too can make a change.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What I think about this book is that is a good one because Lorene learns and grows through out the story. It also, reminded me of many things about my life. I connected to leanie and I put myself in her shoes, which made me think of many things and recognize problems that she had. What I like about it was that she was really bad in the beginning and everytime she got in trouble or something bad happened to her she always learned from her mistakes, and never did them again. I recommend this book,especially for those who are thinking of going to a boarding school. It makes you think of many things that will help you think strongly about your ideas.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book, Black Ice, is a very good book. I would have to say that everything in this book was good it took a lot for her to tell her story and do it the way she did. I know if you are a child reading this you probably are wondering how long the book is the book is not that long. If you like History, then you would really love this book because it talks a lot about the way blacks were treated in the south ¿back in the day¿ even though sometimes I fell that blacks are still mentally enslaved. I am not going to get in to all of that that is going on in our world, but this book is a very good book and I recommend it to everyone that loves or likes History and likes books that tell the tell in a harsh kind of way.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that the Lorene Cary memoir Black Ice was great book. The way she describes scene some scenes in her book are so descriptive. Like when she describes her great grandfather¿s skin. ¿Pap¿s skin, crumpled and dry as a paper bag, fit snugly on his skeleton.¿ (37)The description of her great-grand father¿s skin is so realistic, you can exactly see the age though the description. Also I really like the way she says his ¿skeleton¿ , instead of his body, it¿s that way you know he¿s old. The first time I read it I was disgusted, but then you admire the way she rights. Her scene are not too detailed either. Some stories are so detailed you can¿t even find the moral to the story. In her scenes there¿s enough detail for you to get excited for the next paragraph. Throughout the book she finds her self in situation that she takes on. In the end she ends up growing into at mature young adult. What she made out of the experience was changing her future, not every teenage has the chance to attend a private school. Even though there were times she didn¿t think she was doing anything special. She tells you how she feels about the experiences, not directly though; which I like. Summary was also a major component to her story. Some writer can¿t summarize there experiences well. Most of her major experiences that impacted her life she kept a limit to. Like when she went out with Ricky, her moms illness, and also the leaving her family to go to school. She might go back to certain situations but there wasn¿t too much. Also the references to black ice at the end was great, I have never skated on skated on black ice, but perhaps my children will. They¿ll know it, at least, when it appears: that the earth can stretch smooth and unbroken like grace...¿(238) It really brought closure to the book. Some books just keep you wondering, and there not even series. I think that the book helped me develop my writing a lot. It made me put more personal thought to my work. I really like the way I express myself in my writing, it¿s good therapy. This book should be offered again to everyone, who doesn¿t know what direction there taking there life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Black ice is a real powerful book. I would recommend it as a great peice of literature.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much; it is an autobiography. I would recommend this book to people who love adventure. I personally don't like adventure, but this was exciting!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"I believe in you..." My father's last words to me echoed in my head. I cautiously stepped forward and a cracking sound came out from the silent and eerie woods. I jumped back in surprise. Then, I felt a rush of fear. What if I am being followed? What if someone wants to kill me?! Is this how all those kids die going off into the woods every year? Do they get snuck up on and just like that- they are no more? All of these feelings and emotions ran through my head in a split second, and then I realized that it was just a twig that I had carelessly stepped on. My face flushed, even though I was completly alone. "Well, one step down, about a bazillion to go," I murmured to myself sarcasticly. I took a deep breath and went on, but this time I went off running as fast as a deer. My nimble body sprinted over the logs and plants. My hunter's feet silently dashed along the forest floor. This was great! I felt the wind in my face and I saw the blur of trees pass me. Finally, I stopped running. I was in the heart of the forest now, and I had no idea where to go. Suddenly, I felt a pang of hunger. My mouth seemed as dry as am oven. Why was I so hungry? I had eaten breakfast.... Then I looked up and the sun was almost set. Was it really almost sundown? I decided that I should make camp. I set down my jacket on the dirt floor of a little cave made from uprooted bushes. It was strange that it was all set up- there were even what looked like little shelves.... Could this be a previous person's shelter from years ago? If so, I silently thanked them for leaving it intact. I headed out from the little hut and saw a large puddle. I had found a source of water. I peered into the water and jumped back with a yelp, for there was someone staring back through the puddle! I took a few deep breaths and peeked back to the edge of the puddle. The girl inside looked scared and was peering out and looking straight at me. I straightened up and so did she. She was quite beautiful- blonde hair, blue eyes, and a pretty heart shaped face with delicate features. She- she seemed to be copying me. I moved my hand and so did she. I made a silly face and she mirrored me- wait! Mirror! Could this girl be just my reflection? I had learned about mirrors and reflections in school. No one was allowed to see what they looked like anymore, because it is consitered to be vain and greedy. Greed caused the World War Four, which lead to the destruction of the "technology" -whatever that means- age. Is this what I looked like? Wow. I reached my hand out and touched the surface of the water. It rippled and so did my reflection. I smiled and drank, quenching my thirst. I then ate dried fruits from my backpack and settled in for the night. The forest sounds were farmilliar, but much louder and closer than they were at home. The distant howl of a wolf was much less distant now. I shivered, and for the first time, I was truely scared. I guess I finally drifted off to sleep, but when I woke, I was not in the little hut of bushes anymore. I was in a crate of some sort, floating in the middle of a rushing river.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for summer reading. I think overall it is a good book but, there are some points when i got lost. If your in seventh or eight grade i wouldn't recommend it beacuse it has all lot of big words that i can't even pronounce!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has some parts which were amazingly written, almost makes u feel as if u were there. others i skipped they were so boring. This book needed some more tunning. i understand it was a biography there fore she coulnd jazz it up to much but it still could have been better written.I was given this book to read for summer reading and found it boring overall. we were given this book because our teacher knows the author, her being my teachers old guidance counsler.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a good book and is interesting. It is a book that is really a book that someone would want to never drop.