My Time Among the Whites

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

My Time Among the Whites: Notes from an Unfinished Education by Jennine Capo Crucet is a collection of essays about white spaces, family, and etc. These essays are extremely beautiful. I would read one essay and would have to just take a moment to take it in because it reminded me so much of my mother and my childhood. I honestly was not prepared for how much I would relate to this book and cry.

All of the essays will always stay with me, but the one that personally stood out to me was about how her parents chose her name. I say that because not only is it so emotional but extremely hilarious too. It’s a book that I will probably read again because I really saw myself in these essays. I cannot wait for the next book that Jennine writes. This book was a 11/10 and I recommend everyone read this book.

*I received an advance review copy of My Time Among the Whites: Notes from an Unfinished Education from the publisher through NetGalley; all opinions are my own.
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MY TIME AMONG THE WHITES by Jennine Capó Crucet is a series of essays about the author's Latinx experience. I have been moved by her writing in the past, particularly the difficulties of being a first generation college student which she featured in her earlier novel, Make Your Home Among Strangers. Here, she revisits some of that time and those feelings as well as writing about events like how her name was chosen and about her marriage to a white man with the difficulties of honoring both of their families' traditions at the ceremony. Crucet also comments on the American Dream (especially as a child of Cuban immigrants), on her relationship with her father, and on wanting to be a writer and professor. These essays, which the author calls "notes from an unfinished education," will provide another perspective as we continue to work on ideas related to equity this year at school. Here are just a few examples of comments that will prompt reflection: "How many times did you see version of yourself in charge of your learning community?" and "If something feels unfair to you as a white person, it's likely that equality is actually being achieved in that moment." Crucet writes openly and frankly about belonging and about being viewed as different; she thereby elicits a range of emotions from humor to anger to hope. Booklist recommends MY TIME AMONG THE WHITES for teen readers, saying "Crucet's culture clash with her foreign-born parents and school experiences will resonate with young people of color."
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Witty, interesting writing. I found myself wanting the stories to be a little more connected or flow together but I enjoyed them still. Really liked the Disney story in particular - it will stick with me a long time. So much food for thought and also made me laugh out loud. That’s a hard combination to execute!
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This essay collection flows so smoothly from piece to piece, it's almost like reading a novel with characters who just happen to exist in real life.
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Thank you to Macmillan-Picador and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Beautiful, intimate prose that deeply touched me - I am not a POC, but grew up a foreigner and cultural outsider in the US, raised by parents that were in many instances clueless about what that meant for me as their (oldest) child. The remarkable openness with which the author reflects on her upbringing, what shaped her, and the mindsets she encounters is in turn hilariously funny, touchingly vulnerable, achingly familiar, and a challenge to those that do not need to contend with being obviously an outsider.

Highly recommended!
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An intimate raw look at life as a. Cuban American.Honest open emotional a book that is drawn from today’s headlines an important read.#netgalley #macmillanpicador
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My Time Among the Whites, a book of essays by Jennine Capo Crucet, is so, so good. The essays center around what it means to be American and who gets to be called one. The daughter of Cuban refugees, Crucet grew up in Miami, and only started to feel Othered when she went to Cornell for college. Her essays examine life in a white supremacist society, especially after Trump's election, including being confronted by a white student crying about "reverse racism" and a trip to a ranch where the rancher denigrates Mexicans, but is really referring to all Latinx people. Crucet is super smart and a fantastic writer, but she's also really funny. I especially liked her essay on her lifetime adoration of Disney World (and the consequences of buying into the fantasy), as well as her essay on trying to meld Cuban and white cultural mores while wedding planning (and her subsequent wedding crashing habit after moving into an apartment building that doubles as a wedding venue). Oh! And her essay on her parents naming her after a Miss America runner up was wonderful as well. (I also love the Microsoft Word red squiggles under her name on the book cover.) She writes about being a first gen college student, working in academia, her relationships with her family, and the consequences of sexual violence. I flew through this book but I think it should definitely be read more than once. I'm excited to read her other books now. Highly recommended.
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I found this one very autobiographical. Certainly it was meant to be an account of the author's experience as a Cuban-American, but my first impression was that it was very insular, as if she didn't really engage with the world outside of her own bubble.

As it went along, there were some insights of what it's like to be a non-white American, specifically Cuban. I found her experiences of Disney parks very interesting and her wedding planning made me want to slap her mother, while what she did in her later apartment when the sound of receptions of other people's weddings blasted through the walls was highly amusing.

While it follows the experiences of just one woman, through college, through marriage and through a holiday at a ranch in Nebraska where she was subjected to Fox news and racist comments from the owner who perceived her as white, it provides a window into how these experiences are seen by a Cuban American from Miami.

I also enjoyed reading about the Miami attitude towards hurricanes, which I found similar to that of Californians about earthquakes. An interesting fly-on-the-wall look into a world far removed from my own experiences.
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I loved this book! The daughter of the daughter of Cuban refugees, she explored in her essays issues of race and culture in a nuanced yet very readable way. I loved the stories about her family and when she went further afield her sense of humor and self went with her.
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A sharp and vulnerable collection of personal essays detailing Crucet's experiences as a modern Cuban-American.  An eye-opening and sympathetic set of stories.  A great addition to the diverse voices we are hearing these days.  Looking forward to meeting the author at this year's Decatur Book Festival.
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