The Skin Between Us: A Memoir of Race, Beauty, and Belonging

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9780393058901: The Skin Between Us: A Memoir of Race, Beauty, and Belonging
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A memoir of astonishing delicacy and strength about race and physical beauty.

Kym Ragusa's stunningly beautiful, brilliant black mother constantly turned heads as she strolled the streets of West Harlem. Ragusa's working-class white father, who grew up only a few streets (and an entire world) away in Italian East Harlem, had never seen anyone like her. At home their families despaired at the match, while in the streets the couple faced taunting threats from a city still racially divided―but they were mesmerized by the differences between them.

From their volatile, short-lived pairing came a sensitive child with a filmmaker's observant eye. Her two powerful grandmothers gave her the love and stability to grow into her own skin. Eventually, their shared care for their granddaughter forced them to overcome their prejudices. Rent parties and religious feste, baked yams and baked ziti―Ragusa's sensuous memories are a reader's delight, as they bring to life the joy, pain, and inexhaustible richness of a racially and culturally mixed heritage.

A Finalist for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for Nonfiction.

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About the Author:

Kym Ragusa is a writer and documentary filmmaker. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

From Publishers Weekly:

Documentary filmmaker Ragusa, now 40, discusses her "complex heritage"—her mother is African-American, Native American, Chinese and German; her father is Italian-American—in a memoir that's refreshingly intent on creating compelling portraits and contextualizing family history rather than rehashing a personal, emotional journey. While there is talk of Ragusa's coming to terms with "in-between skin" and growing up "biracial" in color-divided 1960s and '70s New York City, this contemporary account of trying to fit in glints with vibrant portrayals of runaway slaves, turn-of-the-century Italian immigrants, interracial flappers, '60s civil rights activists, '70s "black is beautiful" models and '80s suburb seekers. Ragusa writes with a confident, curious narrative voice prone to poetic visual images; readers meet "honey-colored" children, see "blocks of burned-out, boarded-up buildings" and visit neighborhoods with "steam like hot hangover breath hissing from manhole covers." She links the various accounts by a central meditation on how "the stigma of skin color" interacts with ideas of beauty and belonging. The recurring discussion sometimes lacks structure and cohesion, but its modesty ensures that it always comes across as fresh, honest and important. (May)
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Book Description WW Norton Co, United States, 2006. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Kym Ragusa s stunningly beautiful, brilliant black mother constantly turned heads as she strolled the streets of West Harlem. Ragusa s working-class white father, who grew up only a few streets (and an entire world) away in Italian East Harlem, had never seen anyone like her. At home their families despaired at the match, while in the streets the couple faced taunting threats from a city still racially divided-but they were mesmerized by the differences between them. From their volatile, short-lived pairing came a sensitive child with a filmmaker s observant eye. Her two powerful grandmothers gave her the love and stability to grow into her own skin. Eventually, their shared care for their granddaughter forced them to overcome their prejudices. Rent parties and religious feste, baked yams and baked ziti-Ragusa s sensuous memories are a reader s delight, as they bring to life the joy, pain, and inexhaustible richness of a racially and culturally mixed heritage. A Finalist for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for Nonfiction. Seller Inventory # BZV9780393058901

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Book Description WW Norton Co, United States, 2006. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Kym Ragusa s stunningly beautiful, brilliant black mother constantly turned heads as she strolled the streets of West Harlem. Ragusa s working-class white father, who grew up only a few streets (and an entire world) away in Italian East Harlem, had never seen anyone like her. At home their families despaired at the match, while in the streets the couple faced taunting threats from a city still racially divided-but they were mesmerized by the differences between them. From their volatile, short-lived pairing came a sensitive child with a filmmaker s observant eye. Her two powerful grandmothers gave her the love and stability to grow into her own skin. Eventually, their shared care for their granddaughter forced them to overcome their prejudices. Rent parties and religious feste, baked yams and baked ziti-Ragusa s sensuous memories are a reader s delight, as they bring to life the joy, pain, and inexhaustible richness of a racially and culturally mixed heritage. A Finalist for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for Nonfiction. Seller Inventory # BTE9780393058901

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