Friday, March 5, 2021

Surviving the White Gaze by Rebecca Carroll


Title:  Surviving the White Gaze

Author: Rebecca Carroll

Read by:  Rebecca Carroll

Publisher: Simon & Shuster Audio

Length: Approximately 7 hours and 28 minutes

Source: Review Copy from Simon & Shuster Audio.  Thank-you! 

Do you have a favorite memoir or autobiography?

Rebecca Carroll tells her story in Surviving the White Gaze.  Carroll was adopted and grew up as the only black person in her small New Hampshire town.  She loved her artistic parents and her siblings who were their biological children. She always felt something was missing especially as she grew older.  She was treated differently as the only black girl in her high school, but she had no black role model or person to relate with.  Carroll meets her biological mother, and they have a tumultuous relationship.  She grows up, goes to college, and tries to find a path forward in life and where she belongs.  Will Rebecca Carroll be able to find her place in the world?

I thought this memoir was fascinating, although difficult at times.  I was sad how Carroll was treated by people, in particular her biological mother.  Her adoptive family also had some emotional turmoil as well, which lead to instability in her life.   The most telling part to me was actually towards the end of the memoir.  Carroll and her son were visiting her adoptive parents.  Her son asked why there were no black people anywhere there.  Her adoptive father gave a historical factual answer that did not satisfy them.  He then discussed it with his mother on the way home and asked her if it made her sad that there were no pictures or items of African American art around her parents’ house and no real acknowledgement of her heritage.  It did make her sad.  This really hit home to me and opened my eyes.

We all have different experiences in life, and I find it very important to learn about the experiences of others.  It helps me to think about how I can try to make things better in my own little corner of the world, and within my own family.

The only negative I had was that it seemed to drag on awhile with boyfriend problems and I wasn’t really interested.  The memoir really hit home when it talked about family issues with her biological parents, adoptive parents, and then her son.  It is her experiences though and she can share what she would like.

I enjoyed that the author herself, Rebecca Carroll, narrated the audiobook.  It gave it a person touch.

Overall, Surviving the White Gaze was an important look into the racial identify in our world today.

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