by Kate Manning
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Whitegirl by Kate Manning

I was not always a white girl. I used to be just Charlotte. A person named Charlotte Halsey. But when I met Milo, when I fell in love with him, I became White, like a lit light bulb is white. In the mirror there is my skin the color of sand, hair the color of butter, eyes blue as seawater. Just so bleachy white I am practically clear.

Milo is black, what they call “Black,” only not to me. To me he has mostly been just Milo. They say lovers can find each other just by using the sense of smell; that we are all really animals in that way, no different from dogs or deer. I know it’s true. I could find Milo blind in a room of men, the smell of him like pine trees in a snowy wind. I could pick him out just by the slow rising of his breath while he slept. So no, until this happened, up to the time of the assault, he was not black, not to me. He was Milo. He was my husband.
– from Whitegirl

As Kate Manning’s riveting debut novel begins, a thirty-five-year-old white woman lies secluded in her home overlooking the Pacific, unable to speak, recovering from a violent assault that has nearly taken her life. Her husband, a famous black actor, is in jail for the crime.

Is he guilty? She’s not sure. She remembers nothing of the assault. Longing for answers, she sifts through the history of their life together, trying to determine how two people once so in love might find themselves so ruined.

Charlotte Halsey and Milo Robicheaux met briefly in college in the 1970s, where she was a beautiful, troubled girl hungry for freedom, and he was the star athlete with Olympic dreams. Years later, when she is a successful modeland he a famous sports hero turned actor, their paths cross again in New York City and they fall in love.

But their marriage is soon fraught with tension. As Milo’s celebrity skyrockets, motherhood ends Charlotte’s career, leaving her increasingly alienated from the man she believed she knew so well. Jealousy and mistrust grow between them even as they strive to build a life together against increasing odds.

A poignant anatomy of a marriage undone by the pressure of fame and the struggle for identity, Whitegirl is the arresting debut of a significant new voice in contemporary fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385332873
Publisher: Dell Publishing
Publication date: 01/29/2002
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 6.28(w) x 9.32(h) x 1.32(d)

About the Author

Kate Manning is a former journalist and television producer. She lives in New York City with her husband and three children.

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Whitegirl 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As heavily scarred Charlotte Halsey recovers from the brutal beating, she wonders if the police are right that her husband Milo Robicheaux committed the atrocity as she cannot remember. The police case is powerful as Milo has her blood on him, cuts on his hands, and glass on his shoes. Punching out a cop at the scene does not lend credence to his claim that he was only trying to breathe life into Charlotte.

Charlotte looks back over their life together starting in the 1970s in college in Vermont where he was the rare black winter Olympic level athlete. Years later they meet again when she is a successful model and he is a retired sports figure who turned to acting. They fall in love and marry. The two public figures try to make their interracial marriage work though outside intrusion is the norm.

What determines whether readers will enjoy WHITEGIRL depends on the literary tastes of the audience. Those who write the plot off as an OJ rehashing is making a mistake because except on a superficial level, the plot is nothing close to the Simpsons saga. Instead, the story line looks deep into what fame under the public microscope does to relationships. Those readers who expect a did-he-do-it mystery will not enjoy this novel, especially the ending. Those fans who relish an insightful perusal of the relationship between a couple under the public¿s dissection will want to read Kate Manning¿s deep gaze into an interracial duo who sadly would have made it if they were not media darlings.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waste of time....the main character was whiney...the author leaves you hanging at the end of the book after you've hung in there with a pretty overall mediocre story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago