Twelfth and Race

Twelfth and Race

by Eric Goodman
     
 

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Life takes a strange turn when Richard Allan Gordon, thirty years old and as white as they come, discovers that, as a result of identity theft, five-year-old Jada Reece Gordon bears his name. The product of a  middle-class Jewish upbringing, Richie finds himself completely in love and lust with Jada’s mother, LaTisha, a twenty-five-year-old African… See more details below

Overview


Life takes a strange turn when Richard Allan Gordon, thirty years old and as white as they come, discovers that, as a result of identity theft, five-year-old Jada Reece Gordon bears his name. The product of a  middle-class Jewish upbringing, Richie finds himself completely in love and lust with Jada’s mother, LaTisha, a twenty-five-year-old African American nursing student, and longs to be a father to her child.

Richie and LaTisha’s story takes place at the intersection of love, race, and identity, as the couple is forced to examine their relationship in light of the terrible event that takes the life of a young black father and catapults their midwestern city into chaos. As riots erupt around them and Richie discovers a secret about his own past that challenges his long-held ideas, he and LaTisha must come to grips with the forces that threaten to tear their relationship apart. A novel that doesn’t shy away from the racism that dwells within the unexamined hearts of so many Americans, Twelfth and Race may shock or outrage some readers, yet its story is ultimately timely, honest, and hopeful.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An awkward, simplistic treatment of race dooms Goodman's heavy-handed latest (after Child of My Right Hand). The novel focuses on the racial obsessions of protagonist Richie Gordon, a Jewish Brooklyn native now living in fictional Calhoun City, Kansas. The book opens in 1972 when Richie's teenaged mother runs away from home, abandoning her toddler son, and picks back up in 2000—now Richie is a successful brand manager dating the mother of the child who bears his name as a result of identity-theft. Twenty-five year old LaTisha is a racial caricature whose skin Richie describes as "the blackest thing for miles around." Indeed, the novel's baffling, blunt treatment of race steers the text towards satire or farce. It often feels as if Goodman (director of the creative writing program at Miami University in Ohio) has deliberately rendered his characters as two-dimensional stereotypes, but the text fails to explore and deconstruct these typecasts. Some of the book's problems have to do with perspective and narration, both of which shift unexpectedly and apparently without purpose: in one scene, the author describes Richie's mother's thoughts in the third-person and then shifts to the first person, seemingly without any reason, so that it seems as if the author were suddenly speaking, and not Richie's mother. In the end, an uninteresting story line and the author's failure to compellingly investigate the issue of race makes this a frustrating read. (Mar.)
Booklist

"Goodman's writing is raw and honest, with a deep and evident appreciation of some fairly sensitive themes. Readers who have enjoyed the work of Mark Perry, Rebecca Walker, and Gary Nash should appreciate this passionate, complex, and insightful novel."—Stephanie Turza, Booklist

— Stephanie Turza

Deseret News

"Eric Goodman isn't afraid to examine the racism that still exists in present-day America through his book, Twelfth and Race. A unique discussion about race and identity are wrapped in a powerful love story, allowing the reader to feel more passionately about the issue of racism as they sympathize with the characters."—Kelsey Hansen, Deseret News

— Kelsey Hansen

Jewniverse

"[Twelfth and Race] is a fascinating new novel about the intersection of neighborhoods, but also of cultures, races–and, above all, of seemingly unconnected people whose lives intersect in unexpected ways."—Jewniverse
Booklist - Stephanie Turza

"Goodman's writing is raw and honest, with a deep and evident appreciation of some fairly sensitive themes. Readers who have enjoyed the work of Mark Perry, Rebecca Walker, and Gary Nash should appreciate this passionate, complex, and insightful novel."—Stephanie Turza, Booklist
Deseret News - Kelsey Hansen

"Eric Goodman isn't afraid to examine the racism that still exists in present-day America through his book, Twelfth and Race. A unique discussion about race and identity are wrapped in a powerful love story, allowing the reader to feel more passionately about the issue of racism as they sympathize with the characters."—Kelsey Hansen, Deseret News
Jeffery Renard Allen

“Eric Goodman brilliantly dramatizes the complex workings of the skin game in our supposedly ‘post-racial’ America. . . . This is fiction at its best, prose that touches, prose that asks us to think more about who we are, that demands that we be more than we are. A significant achievement.”—Jeffery Renard Allen, author of Rails under My Back
Josip Novakovich

“A wonderful puzzle, leaving us wondering who has stolen whose identity. There’s an amazing amount of wit, soul, candor, and erotic and intoxicating energy in this deeply probing and suspenseful novel. An amazingly and gloriously fulfilling read.”—Josip Novakovich, author of April Fool’s Day and Salvation and Other Disasters
Jim Heynen
“I know of no other writer who has put all the race cards on the table with such honesty and humanity. Twelfth and Race may very well be a first of its kind.”—Jim Heynen, author of The One-Room Schoolhouse
Gently Read Literature - Alyssa Jocson

"Goodman, with language that engages the senses and the mind, creates an honest look at race and identity, unafraid of the emotions or controversy his novel might stir. . . . Conversations about race and identity are not easy ones, but through his writing Goodman encourages self-reflection and starts the dialogue. We need more books like Twelfth & Race."—Alyssa Jocson, Gently Read Literature

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803240292
Publisher:
University of Nebraska Press
Publication date:
03/01/2012
Series:
Flyover Fiction
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
0 MB

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