|Life on the Color Line|
by Gregory Howard Williams
It’s not easy finding a book to appeal to my mood when I need it. Before the Internet I would do like Barb@RisqueReviews used to do, ...rake those shelves with a fine toothcomb looking for that certain for-sure unshakeable read.
I purchased Life on the Color Line, hesitantly so, thinking…, ‘do you really want to read another book about race and racial divides?’ The last thing I wanted to read was another story about how white and black people live and see. I mean, what other book could top Black Like Me? To which least I omit the other (on the color line) books I’ve purchased where my instincts hadn’t exactly kicked in.
Reliving the moment…The book was lying there…ugh…on my desk for about a month. Normally I won’t purchase a book unless there’s a strong compelling reason to do so. Deciding factors include the cover design… and I’m not looking for commercially appealing covers either. I’m looking for verbose covers. Title is another catch, and again it must speak to me. The synopsis is another way to catch me. But also, comments… interviews… or vibes picked-up on in discussion forums wheel me in too. I can’t recall what exactly that compelling factor was for buying this book, but if I recall correctly I believe it was on the latter scale… the vibe thingamajig… that and being intrigued about a white man discovering he was black.
Sensory dial turned up to its utmost point I was dead on accurate with this selection… even if it took a famished mood for me to find out. This is the mood where I get jumpy hoping on a book to feed my soul. Where looking over my unread library of books piled high on my desk, I start thinking… ‘okay… my pile is not exactly library (or e-reader) capacity impressive, but come on… one of these books has to be that soul-feeding read. And yes, I actually said this too, ‘I bet that 'on the line’ book is going to be a really good book.’
Only at chapter 12, I’m hard-pressed to put the book down. Despite having a fairly good idea of Billy’s adult destiny, his growing up experiences he so keenly recalls are remarkably stirring. To write with this much compassion for the people who have been a part of his life, *and remain both sincere and frank*, is absolutely phenomenal! Add this factor onto small font of many words where dare I neglect how not one word is wasted, and I’m now talking a grand-slam memoir.
Wanted to say the book is raw, yet it’s not. It’s there alright… like take chapter 5 “Learning How to be Niggers,” except the way the author laid that chapter, and the others on the page, read like he was telling me how to ride a rollercoaster without screaming and closing my eyes. What I’m saying is not only is my courage and faith renewed, but my soul indeed is being fed tonight.