BookBrowse Reviews Jenniemae & James by Brooke Newman

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Jenniemae & James

A Memoir in Black and White

by Brooke Newman

Jenniemae & James
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2010, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2011, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jo Perry

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A memoir about friendship and love across the 1950s racial barrier

Jenniemae & James is a smart and troubling memoir of bigotry and generosity, darkness and light, intellectual virtuosity and untapped talent, revelation and silence. The story of a family, it also records the routine and crushing injustice of life in segregated America, and honors the love African American women gave the white children and families in their care. 

Housekeeper Jenniemae Harrington was, "an underestimated, under-appreciated, extremely overweight woman who was very religious, dirt poor, and illiterate;" but it is Jenniemae's intelligence, grit, faith and love that hold the Newman family together as ambition, depression, illness, narcissism, resentment, infidelity, secrecy, or just small daily disasters threaten to destroy it:

"On any given day separation or divorce was a real possibility... The day-to-day 'getting along' that I saw in the ...

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