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Black Girl, White Girl: Book summary and reviews of Black Girl, White Girl by Joyce Carol Oates

Black Girl, White Girl

by Joyce Carol Oates

Black Girl, White Girl by Joyce Carol Oates X
Black Girl, White Girl by Joyce Carol Oates
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  • Published Oct 2006
    448 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

Fifteen years ago, in 1975, Genna Hewett-Meade's college roommate died a mysterious, violent, terrible death. Minette Swift had been a fiercely individualistic scholarship student, an assertive - even prickly - personality, and one of the few black girls at an exclusive women's liberal arts college near Philadelphia. By contrast, Genna was a quiet, self-effacing teenager from a privileged upper-class home, self-consciously struggling to make amends for her own elite upbringing. When, partway through their freshman year, Minette suddenly fell victim to an increasing torrent of racist harassment and vicious slurs - from within the apparent safety of their tolerant, "enlightened" campus - Genna felt it her duty to protect her roommate at all costs. Now, as Genna reconstructs the months, weeks, and hours leading up to Minette's tragic death, she is also forced to confront her own identity within the social framework of that time.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"...this anecdotal novel feels slight compared to her best work." - PW.
"Oates is a master at injecting potent personal and social psychology into the lean musculature of a thriller, a feat that, in this case, starkly exposes key paradoxes at work in the American soul." - Booklist.
"Characteristically strident and forced - and it's a real shame. This could have been one of Oates's better books." - Kirkus

This information about Black Girl, White Girl was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Joyce Carol Oates Author Biography

Photo by Dustin Cohen

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the 2019 Jerusalem Prize for Lifetime Achievement, and has been nominated several times for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys; Blonde; and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. In 2020 she was awarded the Cino Del Duca World Prize for Literature. She is the Roger S. Berlind '52 Distinguished Professor of the Humanities emerita at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

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