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Come by Here: My Mother's Life

Major, Clarence

14 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0471415189 / ISBN 13: 9780471415183
Published by John Wiley & Sons Inc, Somerset, New Jersey, U.S.A., 2002
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

First printing. National Book Award Finalist and author of 12 books of poetry, among others, writes about his mother, who determined not to allow her complexion to dictate life's choices. Unread, as new in like DJ. 270 pp. Bookseller Inventory # 3603

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Come by Here: My Mother's Life

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc, Somerset, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition.

Book Type: Book

About this title


Lavish praise for come by here
""With elegant simplicity and uncommon wisdom, Clarence Major gives us not just the truth of his mother's life but the unspoken truth behind the lie of color in the American story. A compelling narrative.""
-- Rilla Askew, author, Fire in Beulah
""A brilliant rendering of a rich and eventful life. With creative insight, love, and admiration, Major shows us how in family life down through the generations, race really matters.""
-- Andrew Billingsley, author, Climbing Jacob's Ladder:
The Enduring Legacy of African American Families
Critical acclaim for Clarence Major
""Clarence Major has a remarkable mind and the talent to match.""
-- Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate
""One of America's most gifted and versatile writers.""
-- Library Journal

From the Inside Flap:

come by here
my mother?s life
"One of the first things a small child, black or white, learned in the Deep South was that there were these two kinds of people?black and white?and that they were to be kept apart. They were supposed to be two rigidly separated worlds. But it was confusing for me. As soon as I became conscious of myself as black, I became conscious of myself also as white."

Inez was born in 1918?looking white without being white. A light-skinned daughter of the Deep South, she grew up determined not to let Jim Crow put limits on her happiness. So she embraced her contradictions and decided to make a different life for herself and her family.

Now, decades later, her son, critically acclaimed poet and novelist Clarence Major, tells her story. Starting with his own childhood awakening to the realization that his mother could pass for white, Major reaches back to paint a brilliant portrait of a woman on intimate terms with mysteries, secrets, and her own truth.

Escaping an abusive marriage, Inez would flee to Chicago, the city that became a symbol of her dilemmas as well as of her liberation. To survive, she had to leave her young children behind in the shadow of her past and under the color line. Passing as white, she would embark audaciously on a double life to earn a decent salary. To overcome every obstacle to her happiness, she would have to risk everything she loved and, finally, embrace herself.

Writing in Inez?s down-to-earth voice, based on decades of historical research and mother-to-son conversations, Clarence Major brings acute understanding and poignant immediacy to this spirited woman?s life and times. The result is a sparkling narrative, full of warmth and compassion . . . a remarkable record of a mother?s journey of self-discovery.

Here also is a fresh and honest portrait of race and color in American history, challenging in its lessons and indelible in its humanity. Edged with heartbreak, Come By Here traces a nearly century-long road along the boundaries of identity. In coming to terms with his mother?s quest to become the person she always wanted to be?her "whole woman self"?Major offers a testament of hope.

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