#ASMSG #Book #Review: Imitation of Life, or, “I Wish Mother Was White”

This is a review of “A Family Divided by Color“, by Amanda Lee. The book is over 200 pages long and being offered for sale on Amazon for only $2.99 (Kindle) or $9.49 (paperback). This is good value, a fair asking price when compared to other books of similar length and genre.

Obviously this book caught my attention because it deals so candidly with race. As an African-American, race will always be an issue that I deal with, be it consciously or subconsciously. It begins early in life, when somewhere, somehow, you learn that it is not enough to just be good at what you do, but to be exceptional, outstanding…in order to recieve an opportunity.

As an adult, I am merely competitive. As an African-American, I am constantly striving to be better, faster, more accomplished. There is an expectation that if I am just as good as my Caucasian counterparts, it won’t be good enough. So yes, race has conditioned me to be competitive. What surprises most people about me is the fact that I seem harmless, just a laid-back, toothless tiger. Until you must compete with me, you have no clue how uncompromising I will be in ensuring you never make the same mistake twice, namely, underestimating my absolute willpower to do whatever is necessary to overcome any obstacle in my path…

Enough about me. My book review is below…


Aristotle wrote that, “art is an “imitation of life, poetry is an imitation of a thought while drama is an imitation of an action.” This powerful, soul-wrenching book by author Amanda Lee confirms every word that Aristotle wrote on this subject. It is artistic, it is poetic, and it is most definitely dramatic. All of this is clearly an imitation of life for the protagonists Abby Brenner and her two sons, Peter and Alex. Surely, if asked, these 3 dynamic characters would say that their lives are unreal to them, an imitation of what their lives truly ought to be…

The imagination of the reader needs little to vividly imagine the difficulty and evidently unsurmountable obstacles to happiness faced by everyone in this story. It is a very deep and profound social commentary on the importance of race, both in the story, and now, in our times. This book is well written, moves swiftly, and above all, is very emotional. This book will touch your human soul. It will make you reflect on how race torments the mind of a child. This profound emotional conflict is clearly evident when Peter (half black and half white) says to his brother Alex (who is all black), “I wish mother was white.” Yet this is only the tip of the iceberg…

This book will make you think about race, even today. Have we moved past racial discrimination? The answer obviously depends on from what perspective you are viewing the question. President Obama, the first African American President of the USA, recently had this to say about race: (quote) “There’s no doubt that there are some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President.” (end of quote) As you can see, this book deals with a realistic, contemporary issue. Racial discrimination simply refuses to go away and leave good people alone. Dr. King’s dream of a land where people are judged by their character, and not their skin color, remains only a dream… Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Thomas Jerome Baker
Author of How to Coach a Debate Team (Volume 1)

Disclaimer: A digital copy of this book was given to me by the author in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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