Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Book 37: The House at the End of the Road...

The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three generations of an interracial Family in the American South by W. Ralph Eubanks is not what I was expecting. I thought I was going to get a memoir style work of non fiction that would explore Eubanks's family, with anecdotes and told in storytelling, prose fashion.

What I got instead was a detailed account written in mostly text book style about the Jim Crowe law South, and an academic look at racial identity and attitudes that were prevalent in the 18th century and still alive today. It was also sparsely sprinkled with a biography of his family, and a bit of personal journey.

I feel it a difficult task to critique the life of a person, but I can critique a writing style. I really think it would've been interesting to learn more about Eubanks's folks, and his black grandmother and white grandfather who were living in the South at a time when interracial marriages were against the law and any child of that union was considered Black and a bastard. I would've liked more stories about the family's struggle with the black and white relatives perspective on that union.

Instead I feel Eubanks became mired in the anthropological study, in the cultural biased, and in the study of racism... it's not what I was expecting, nor what I was wanting to read. I don't mind "thinking" but I wasn't in a good mindset for something that required quite a bit of thought and concentration. And it wasn't what I was expecting, which made this a displeasure for me.


Rettabug said...

Maggie, I found this review to be especially insightful & well done. Your observations were thoughtful & enlightening.
I, too, would not have thought this book to be so different from what it appears. Thank you for sharing your opinions. You do it so well!!! :D

As an aside, I bought the Legal Sea Foods clam chowder at Sam's club! Ours just started carrying it here in OH. Hope you have a membership or know someone who does.

Thank you for your kind comments on my book review. I value your opinion.


Maggie said...

Rettabug, thank for your very kinds words; I appreciate that!

And thank you for the tip on Legal Seafood. I'll be visiting my local Sam's Club soon, for sure!

I think your blog is so lovely; I always look forward to your "food for thought" posts since they combine my 3 favorite things: books, food, and photography! Can't wait to see what you read and eat next.