Regular price: $24.50

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling story from the author of The Good Lord Bird, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction.

Who is Ruth McBride Jordan? A self-declared "light-skinned" woman evasive about her ethnicity, yet steadfast in her love for her 12 black children. James McBride, journalist, musician, and son, explores his mother's past, as well as his own upbringing and heritage, in a poignant and powerful debut, The Color Of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother. The son of a black minister and a woman who would not admit she was white, James McBride grew up in "orchestrated chaos" with his 11 siblings in the poor, all-black projects of Red Hook, Brooklyn.

In The Color of Water, McBride retraces his mother's footsteps and, through her searing and spirited voice, recreates her remarkable story. The daughter of a failed itinerant Orthodox rabbi, she was born Rachel Shilsky (actually Ruchel Dwara Zylska) in Poland on April 1, 1921. Fleeing pogroms, her family emigrated to America and ultimately settled in Suffolk, Virginia, a small town where anti-Semitism and racial tensions ran high. At 17, after fleeing Virginia and settling in New York City, Ruth married a black minister and founded the all- black New Brown Memorial Baptist Church in her Red Hook living room. "God is the color of water," Ruth McBride taught her children, firmly convinced that life's blessings and life's values transcend race.

Interspersed throughout his mother's compelling narrative, McBride shares candid recollections of his own experiences as a mixed-race child of poverty, his flirtations with drugs and violence, and his eventual self-realization and professional success. The Color of Water touches listeners of all colors as a vivid portrait of growing up, a haunting meditation on race and identity, and a lyrical valentine to a mother from her son.

©2014 James McBride (P)2014 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    386
  • 4 Stars
    109
  • 3 Stars
    30
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    3

Performance

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    366
  • 4 Stars
    77
  • 3 Stars
    28
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    3

Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    356
  • 4 Stars
    83
  • 3 Stars
    28
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    5
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Michael
  • Walnut Creek, CA, United States
  • 05-30-17

Awesome

The narration is awesome and deserves a 6. The characterization was outstanding, consistent and powerful.

This is the best pro-religion novel I have ever read. I am not religious myself, but I am not a bit anti-religious. I think religion is absolutely fantastic for some people. This novel expresses this pro-religion message perfectly. The color of God is the Color of Water. The novel is refreshingly Pro. Pro-Christian, Pro-Jew, Pro-Black, Pro-White, Pro-Family, Pro-Choice, Pro-Work, Pro-Play, Pro-Pro. I laughed many times, and teared up a few, and left the book entirely satisfied. Some describe this novel as a tribute the author's his mother. If I had seen that before I read this, it might have put me off (thinking it would be sappy). This was not sappy.

I loved the structure of this novel, I loved the pacing and flow, I loved the subtlety, I loved the narration, I loved the interweaving stories, I loved the characters, I loved the ambiguity, I even loved the length. I loved the end.

Few books resonate with me so strongly. My life was very different than the author's, my mother quite different than his, but almost every word of this novel resonated with me and my own life.

There are relatively few novels I would recommend to anyone. This is one of those. I am a very critical reader. I seldom finish a book without feeling there was something that could have been better. This was, for me, perfect. It is not the best book I have ever read, not even close. Yet for this story it was perfect.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

What a great book to listen to!

The narrators make this amazing book even better. Run, don't walk to listen! One of the best books I've come across in a long time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

My all time favorite book.

I had to read this book for my AP English summer reading. At first I was t excited about having to read a book I didn't pick out for the summer. Yet, after reading, listening, and re-listening to this book I'm so glad I did. There's so many things you don't catch the first or even second time you read or listen to this book. Truly one of my favorites.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good Narration

I loved this book when it came out years ago and was excited about hearing it. Narrators great, but different characters sound the same. It was hard to tell who was speaking. Also narrator (man) not that great with female voices. But overall enjoyable listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fantastic story

Wonderful true story. So inspiring by its profound humanity. Great performance with voice changes for every character. Loved every minute of it and recommend it highly.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Beautiful Human Race Heritage

I enjoyed this book a great deal because of the emphasis it places on family and importance of family! It also allowed me to reflect on the mixed race heritage of my own family. I would recommend this book to anyone who considers themselves a part of the human race and sees themselves also as "the color of water."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Just ok-- I expected more

Great story of an amazing woman who had been through hell and raised 12 great kids, but I was underwhelmed..probably from all of the hype.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

touching and so revealing

loved it. love truly is all there is. so wonderful to be reminded. recommend it for everyone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

AMAZING

This book was really good with audible and I highly recommend it ! This book was great!


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

My favorite book ever.

I read it twice; 15 years apart and loved it just as much the second time around. It is a beautiful tribute.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful