I am having a hard time understanding this story and I was wondering if I could get a brief summery on what the book is about?Is this book really about the little boy's story growing up or his...

I am having a hard time understanding this story and I was wondering if I could get a brief summery on what the book is about?

Is this book really about the little boy's story growing up or his mother?

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The answer to your question is in the subtitle of this book.  Notice the title is The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother. The book is dedicated as follows:

I wrote this book for my mother, and her mother, and mothers everywhere.

Before the story begins, on page xiii, McBride says,

Here is her life as she told it to me, and betwixt and between the pages of her life you will find mine as well.

You can see from this evidence that McBride's primary intent is to tell the story of his mother, which is an amazing story.  But since he is part of the story of his mother, it is not possible for him to write a book that doesn't include parts of his own life, too. 

McBride's white mother abandoned her Jewish family and married two African-American ministers, raising a dozen bi-racial children.  She lived a life of great poverty, but valued education and managed to educate each of her children through college. While she appears to be very "hard" in the book, her feat is clearly a triumph of great sacrifice and love.

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The Color of Water

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