Color Blind: A Memoir

Color Blind: A Memoir

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by Precious Williams
     
 

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Born in London to a Nigerian princess, Precious Williams saw her life change radically in its first months. Her mother, deciding she couldn't raise a child, placed an ad for foster care in Nursery World. A response soon came from a woman in rural Sussex, and Precious, three months old, was handed off in a basket.
Nan, Precious's new foster mother, was

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Overview

Born in London to a Nigerian princess, Precious Williams saw her life change radically in its first months. Her mother, deciding she couldn't raise a child, placed an ad for foster care in Nursery World. A response soon came from a woman in rural Sussex, and Precious, three months old, was handed off in a basket.
Nan, Precious's new foster mother, was sixty years old and white, and prided herself on being "color blind." But she might also have been shortsighted about the difficulties her black daughter would encounter. At her all-white school, Precious was taunted and ostracized, and Nan struggled to understand her daughter's troubles. Precious's birth mother would visit occasionally, providing glimpses of a different world, but eventually turned critical of a daughter who had become "too white."
Retreating into her imagination, Precious forged her own identity. She emerged from the disillusionment and self-destructiveness of her teen years with a fierce resolve not to let circumstance, class, or color determine her future. Precious Williams tells her extraordinary story in Color Blind, brightly, bravely grappling with issues of identity, motherhood, and race.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Williams offers an English journalist's wry, charming memoir of being a black Nigerian girl growing up in a 1970s white foster home in a village of West Sussex, England. As a baby, Anita Williams was farmed out by her glamorous Nigerian mother to a couple in their late 50s, Nanny and her wheelchair-bound husband, Gramps, to be brought up as a proper English girl with the Queen's accent. Altruistic, Christian, and modest of means, Nanny tells her: "Your colour doesn't matter, Anita. You're just the same as me underneath." Yet Anita stuck out like a sore thumb in mostly white Fernmere, visited occasionally by her haughty, highly critical Mummy Elizabeth, an accountant, and Elizabeth's male sidekick, whom the author recalls molesting her sexually when she was very small. While the town bullies routinely called her names, Nanny and her family doted on her, worried sick that she'd be taken back by her mother. Anita's older stepsister, Agnes, turned up for a visit, while a trip to Nigeria with her mother to visit the far-flung relatives cured Anita of her stereotypical notions of Africans. Gradually, Anita learned that being "black" possessed many complicated connotations, and as she grew up she excelled as a student and rebelled in turn. Her beautifully wrought memoir reaches back deeply and generously to regain the preciousness she felt lost to her. (Aug.)
From the Publisher

“As shatteringly moving as it is incredible... This book is not so much a coming-of-age story as a harrowing coming-to-be tale... Against all odds, Williams claims her future. Gorgeously written with a fiercely honest voice, Color Blind shows that who we are is shaped by how we are nurtured, even when our histories leave damage that is as much a part of us as our shadows.” —Caroline Leavitt, Boston Globe

“Precious Williams upends every expectation about race, class, gender and ambition in her startlingly powerful memoir.” —USA Today

“An affecting memoir about growing up in two worlds, neither quite comfortable with the other… One important theme is the trope of abandonment. Another is the ineluctable sense of being different in a place in which ordinariness is a virtue... The story moves along toward a satisfying conclusion that speaks to aspiration and desire.” —Kirkus

“[Williams'] beautifully wrought memoir reaches back deeply and generously to regain the preciousness she felt lost to her.” —Publishers Weekly

“Precious Williams' brave examination of identity and loss reminds us that by going into the heart of what we are most afraid of, we find our liberation.” —Eve Ensler, creator of The Vagina Monologues

“A beautiful, haunting new Dickensian tale of growing up between two mothers and two motherlands.” —Catherine E. McKinley, author of The Book of Sarahs

“Raw, honest, heartbreaking, and heartwarming, Color Blind will linger in your soul long after the book is closed, reminding us all that ther is nothing more powerful on earth than the human spirit.” —Donna Hill, author of What Mother Never Told Me

“Precious Williams is a vibrant, deliciously alive storyteller. With attention to the choice incandescent detail, she holds the reader in passionate immediacy of the moment. Color Blind is an unforgettable story of outrageous humor, heartbreak, and transcendence.” —Lisa Teasley, author of Dive and Glow in the Dark

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596913387
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
08/03/2010
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
8.76(w) x 11.08(h) x 0.91(d)

Meet the Author

Precious Williams is a journalist based in London. She has written for the Telegraph, the Times, Elle, Glamour, and the New York Post.

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