This is one of the saddest short novels that I've ever read. The main character, as a child, is bubbly and friendly. She knows who she is and she likes who she is. Until middle school. When a negro boy asks her out, she states that since he's a negro, they probably won't have much in common. In front of all of her friends, he informs her that she, too, is black. What ensues is a complete undoing of the persona that Amber has created for herself. In the beginning, she's not black or white, she simply is. It never even entered her mind to question her race or ethnicity. Once it's brought to her attention, poor Amber has a difficult time. Now she's being forced by her mother to become part black. In a misguided attempt to help her daughter, she guides her from the safe harbor she grew up in to a new world where she's forced to enter a culture that she neither needs nor wants. What begins as a happy girl becomes a misguided and sad girl. Instead of simply teaching the girl that her parents may be different colors, but she doesn't have to be one, both, or either, she is taught that she has to embrace both heritages, even though her parents don't.
Though a well-written, fascinating and quick read, I was really disheartened. It was like watching a train wreck coming and wanting to scream 'BRAKES! BRAKES!' but knowing it wouldn't do any good. Amber's search for identity is one that all of us go through at one time or another. I only hope that the rest of us are lucky enough to be taught that we are whoever we choose to be rather than being forced to choose our history.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Shawn