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Janet MaslinDespite such provocation, Dear Senator is not an angry book. (Essie Mae's closest approximation of rebellion: "I hate to say this, sir, but do you realize how black people feel about you?") But it manages to be an oddly candid one, less about Mr. Thurmond than about Essie Mae's lifelong sense of dislocation. Despite the ghostwriterly pawprints of Mr. Stadiem, and the shoehorning in of historical material (does the reader really need to be told how the terms lynch and redneck originated?), this memoir has its own voice and its own perspective. It's the story of a woman whose sense of her heritage is poignant, strangely distorted and hard-won indeed.
— The New York Times