Skinfolk: A Memoir


Product Details

$30.00  $27.90
Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
6.35 X 9.28 X 1.09 inches | 1.28 pounds

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About the Author

Matthew Pratt Guterl is professor of Africana Studies and American Studies at Brown University. He is the award-winning author of four books, including Josephine Baker and the Rainbow Tribe. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.


With precision and unwavering care, Guterl explores the ethics involved in his parents' endeavor and confronts the consequences of even the best intentions. The result is an eye-opening, instructional, and necessary take on race in America.-- "Publishers Weekly"
Transracial adoption will never empower adoptees of color or our white family members to sidestep the realities of privilege, bias, and racism; as Skinfolk shows, we will meet and experience these things in the most intimate of ways, within the microcosm of our own family. Reading Anna's challenge to her brother, one that may have been decades in the making, I knew where all my natural sympathy as an adoptee lay. My response to Guterl's description of his agonizing confusion and self-doubt, which kept him awake for hours that night, took me by surprise. It made me catch my breath and wish that I could see or speak to my adoptive parents, both of whom are now gone, and simply feel close to them again. I know what it is to confront a painful and unwanted distance between you and those you love; to want to believe, if only for a moment, that your will alone can bridge it.--Nicole Chung "The Atlantic"
[Guterl] writes poignantly about his upbringing, particularly as the family and his siblings battled xenophobia and racism.--New York Times Book Review, "14 Books Coming in March"
Guterl, professor of Africana studies and American studies at Brown University and author of Seeing Race in America, fashions a moving, elegant memoir of his childhood within the 'idealized experiment' of multiracialism . . . An earnestly felt, beautifully wrought story of an American family in all its complexity.--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Guterl focuses much of the story on himself and his closest siblings, Bear and Bug, and on the realities of growing up in a big family. But he is clear-eyed about his privilege, even within his family, and about his parents who, with the best of intentions, have the whiff of white saviors.--Kathy Sexton "Booklist"
Ambitious, intellectually searching... Guterl doesn't spare himself when describing the inescapability of racial harm.... [His] strengths as a writer show in his unflinching analysis of this and other racially complicated scenes.--Chloé Cooper Jones "New York Times Book Review"
Quietly searing.--Casey Schwartz "New York Times"