Title: Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
Author: Barack Obama
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: History, Politics, Race
Publisher: The Canons
5th sentence, 74th page: I seen you tear ’em up on the playground, no contest.
Dreams From My Father is a refreshing, revealing portrait of a young man asking big questions about identity and belonging.
The son of a black African father and a white American mother, President Obama recounts an emotional odyssey. He retraces the migration of his mother’s family from Kansas to Hawaii, then to his childhood home in Indonesia. Finally he travels to Kenya, where he confronts the bitter truth of his father’s life and at last reconciles his divided inheritance.
I had no idea what to expect from this book. I simply bought it because I needed a political memoir to complete the Popsugar reading challenge. I don’t like politics. I have no interest in conspiracies. And I’m an Aussie. So most of our politicians… well, lately, I don’t even know who’s in power anymore (but that’s a whole OTHER conversation). And, really, Barack Obama was one of the few politicians who doesn’t make me mad or annoyed. And, man am I glad that I picked this up.
I am fascinated with discourses on race and racism. Especially in countries and places that I haven’t seen. Australia has many issues of racism, and I know that it is something that is prevalent across the world. So reading the words of a man who has experienced displacement and prejudice due to his skin colour. It touched me and hit me in a way that nothing else ever has. Maybe just the fact that it is so far removed from my everyday life that there is both a morbid fascination, and a feeling of horror at my white privilege.
Before reading this book, I knew next to nothing about Obama, other than the fact that he was America’s first black president. Now I can understand just how he was so compelling. In fact, I want to read more of his books. You can hear the politicians’ voice coming through the words, but you can also feel the genuine meaning and the greater picture that he paints as you go on a journey with him.
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