Black Ice

( 17 )

Overview

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 ...

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Black Ice

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Overview

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."

In a strong, often funny, and revealing narrative, Lorene Cary recounts how she found herself suddenly catapulted into a world of privilege, when she left a black section of Philadelphia to attend a New Hampshire boarding school in 1971. Cary also describes returning to St. Paul's to teach in this fresh, compelling American story.

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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

  • ISBN-13: 9780679737452
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/28/1992
  • Edition description: First Vintage Books Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 238
  • Sales rank: 241,793
  • Lexile: 880L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.13 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.53 (d)

Meet the Author

Lorene Cary’s new novel Pride (Nan A. Talese/ Doubleday, 1998; Anchor 1999) is told in the voices of four friends–“subtle, idiosyncratic characters...whose personalities seem utterly, and affectingly, distinctive,” according to The New York Times Book Review. It also praises the book’s ability to shift “between the staccato directness of black slang and the more formal cadences of standard English....”

The Price of A Child has been selected as the first city-wide One Book, One Philadelphia choice. The novel traces one woman’s escape from slavery and brings alive Philadelphia’s Underground Railroad history. A New York Times reviewer called the writer “a powerful storyteller, frankly sensual, mortally funny, gifted with an ear for the pounce [of] real speech,” and praised the novel as “a generous, sardonic, full-blooded work of fiction.” (Knopf, 1995; Vintage 1996)

Cary’s first book, published by Knopf in 1991, was Black Ice, a memoir of her years first as a black female student, and then teacher, at St. Paul’s, an exclusive New England boarding school. Arnold Rampersad has dubbed it “...probably the most beautifully written and moving African-American autobiographical narrative since Maya Angelou’s celebrated I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.” Black Ice was chosen as a Notable Book for 1992 by the American Library Association.

Lorene Cary was graduated from St. Paul’s School in 1974 and received B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. She won a Thouron Fellowship for British-U.S. student exchange and studied at Sussex University. She has received Doctorates in Humane Letters from Colby College in Maine, Keene State College in New Hampshire, and Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia.

In 1998 Lorene Cary founded Art Sanctuary, a non-profit lecture and performance series that brings black thinkers and artists to speak and perform at the Church of the Advocate, a National Historic Landmark Building in North Philadelphia.

Currently a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a 1998 recipient of the Provost’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, Cary has lectured throughout the U.S. She began writing as an apprentice at Time in 1980, then worked as an Associate Editor at TV Guide, freelanced for such publications as Essence, American Visions, Mirabella, and The Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday Magazine, and served as Contributing Editor for Newsweek in 1993.

In 2002, Cary received the Women’s Way Agent of Change Award; in 2001 the Advocate Community Development Corporation’s Award for Urban Excellence; in 2000, a Philadelphia Historical Society Founder’s Medal for History in Culture; in 1999, the American Red Cross Spectrum Rising Star Award for community service; and in 1995, a Pew Fellowship in the Arts Fellowship. She serves on the usage Panel for The American Heritage Dictionary and the Union Benevolent Association board. Cary is a member of PEN and the Author’s Guild. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, the Rev. Robert C. Smith, and daughters Laura and Zoë.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2006

    amazing book

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013

    Jake

    (Sorry. I cant rp anymore. Parents caught me. Sooo sorry! This is my last post. Im very sorry. bye!)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    Jake

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2013

    Aslynn

    :-( okay. I'll go back & find another master.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2012

    L&K

    Keep going!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2012

    Destiny Chapter Two

    "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.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2007

    Black Ice

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2006

    It was a good book

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2006

    KIPPster Book Review

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2004

    Okay...I guess

    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!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2004

    Black Ice

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2003

    Interesting....sorta

    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.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2002

    Black Ice

    Black ice is a real powerful book. I would recommend it as a great peice of literature.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2002

    Black Ice

    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!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2002

    Black Ice

    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.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews

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