Friday, June 20, 2008
Mount Holyoke's Common Read, 2008! Caucasia
It's official! Mount Holyoke College has announced Caucasia (by Danzy Senna) as its common read for 2008. All incoming students are invited to read this book before arriving on campus, and orientation typically involves official and unofficial book-oriented conversations. The college also supplies copies of this book to all faculty, billing the program as a way to help "new students make the transition into the College community by connecting them with other students and to the intellectual life of the campus."
I read this book during a recent trip to Boston and *loved* it. I would love to sit in on some of those book discussions, as this book has so many layers of different things going on. Set in Boston (and later New Hampshire) in the 1970s, the story is narrated by Birdie Lee, the second daughter of a white mother and black father. Senna explores racial identity, familial dynamics, sibling bonds, and the effect that leading a subversive revolutionary lifestyle can have on one's children. Shortly after her parents' volatile relationship falls apart Birdie's parents have to go 'underground' separately to evade the law after some shady but unclear social action. Birdie is forced to pass as white and travel with her somewhat unstable (or shrewdly evasive?) mother under assumed identies, while her sister and father take off in a different direction. I could keep talking, but really just read this book. It is fantastic.
Take care everyone!!
(sorry, again, about the delay with posting. summer hit and we all got busy, i guess. or distracted by the sunshine)