The Blacker the Berry by Wallace Thurman

Monday, March 15, 2010


Poor Emma Lou, so naive and self centered....this woman's got issues! Thurman paints a complex portrayal of a dark skinned African American woman who is so caught up in anxieties surrounding the color of her skin that she attributes everything that goes wrong in her life to just that. Granted, her mother planted these seeds of self doubt as she lamented her daughters skin tone and expressed pure resentment of Emma Lou's also dark father, but she really goes to the extreme and blames every negative encounter with others as a consequence of not being fair skinned enough. Is Emma Lou totally at fault for feeling the way she does? Not entirely, because there is definite validity to her thought process because unfortunately dark skinned African American's were/are often mocked and ridiculed not only by whites but by other African American's. Thurman does a great job at allowing the reader to see the world through shifting realities...sometime what Emma Lou imagines to be true is true, but other times, she mistakenly attributes actions towards her due to her color when it's really just due to her naivety and her own prejudices.

Thurman tells the story of Emma Lou's journey for acceptance which leads her from Boise, Idaho to Southern California and then on to a hustling and bustling Harlem in New York City in the 1920's. Not only are you able to see a clear picture of the various characters and the different settings, but Thurman is superb at revealing the inner thoughts and the 'why' behind each characters behavior. This was a really good read!!

African Diaspora Reading Challenge
Read your own Books Challenge
Twenty Ten Challenge
Buy One Book, Read It 2010
2010 Global Challenge
2010 Mixology

1 comment

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an interesting concept - one I haven't heard before so will be looking into this one. Thanks for the review

Post a Comment