Wednesday, May 18, 2011

#BookReview: The Grace of Silence - Michele Norris

This is the book I expected when I read Condoleezza Rice's Extraordinary, Ordinary People.  Where Condi failed me, Michele Norris came through with flying colors.  This is truly one of those books that everyone needs to read.

What originally started as a book about post-racial America following the election of President Barack Obama turned into a discussion about race within Norris' own family.  Though Norris herself was born and raised in Minnesota, which may have made for a fascinating story in and of itself, her father was from the deep south.  It's his story she tells, as well as that of her maternal grandmother and other family members.

The Grace of Silence really made me reflect on the conversations I've had with my older relatives.  While they touch on the fun times, rarely do they ever talk about the reasons why they left Mississippi (my mother's side) or Tennessee (my father's side).  There's no mention of how they transitioned from the South to the Midwest, though some would argue that St. Louis is just the upper South.  Encouraged by Norris' words, I plan to have conversations with them about growing up in segregated America and living through the Civil Rights Movement.  If you haven't already, you should plan to do the same, regardless of race.

What did you like about this book?
In listening to Michele Norris narrate her book, the pride in her voice as she spoke of her parents, grandparents, etc. was so apparent.  I could tell that this book was a real labor of love for her.  I'm glad that she was so willing to share so much of their story.

What didn't you like about this book?
I can't think of a thing.

What could the author do to improve this book?
I have no doubts that Norris' life and career are just as fascinating as the lives of her relatives.  I would love to read an autobiography from her.

Listening time: 5 hours, 48 minutes
Published: September 2010

Theme: Better People by India.Arie

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