Common Reading Program

I'm Down (2012 - 2013)


I'm Down Book Cover

About the Book

I'm Down is a humorous memoir about growing up white in a black community and trying to fit into a family that is literally splitting down class and racial lines.

I'm Down is a memoir by the American author Mishna Wolff, originally published by St. Martin's Press in 2009. In the book she relates her experience of being white while growing up in a predominantly African-American neighborhood and having a different financial situation and culture than the other white children than the ones at her upper class, private school filled with mostly white kids. She fights for acceptance in her neighborhood as she is perceived as "too white" while she struggles with acceptance (and accepting others) in her prestigious school. Mishna has trouble dealing with bullying from her peers, meeting the expectations her father sets for her (no matter how unusual they seem), the pressure she puts on herself, and learning who she is while society is pushing and pulling her into what they want her to be. She competes with the children in her neighborhood to be the funniest, the meanest, and the toughest while she strives to be rich, successful, and seemingly carefree like her school friends. When she returns home to her father and his any girlfriends and potential wives, she suppresses her school side to impress her father, while at her mom's house and at school she suppresses her neighborhood life to appeal to her mother. The theme of the book is the conflict she faces as she discovers two very different cultures and how they clash in her own life while she is stressed to discover herself as well. She spends the book (her life) trying to figure out which culture, which household, which side of the family she belonged to [Source: Wikipedia].


Reviews

Mishna Wolff at FIU


Mishna Wolff

About the Author

Mishna Wolff grew up in a poor black neighborhood with her single father, a white man who truly believed he was black. "He strutted around with a short perm, a Cosbyesque sweater, gold chains, and a Kangrol – telling jokes like Redd Foxx, and giving advice like Jesse Jackson. You couldn't tell my father he was white. Believe me, I tried." And so from early childhood on, her father began his crusade to make his white daughter down.

Unfortunately, Mishna didn't quite fit in with the neighborhood kids; she couldn't dance, she couldn't sing, she couldn't double Dutch, and she was the worst player on her all-black basketball team. She was shy, uncool, and painfully white. And yet when she was suddenly sent to a rich white school, she found she was too "black" to fit in with her white classm ates.


Interviews/Media



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Author Visits

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 
Adam Braun speaks at MMC
GC Ballrooms
12:00PM – 1:00PM
(book signing to follow)

Thursday, November 2, 2017
Adam Braun speaks at BBC
WUC Ballroom 
2:00PM – 3:00PM
(book signing to follow)


Contact Information

BBC AC1 180 
3000 NE 151 Street
North Miami, FL  33181

Valerie Morgan
+1 (305) 919 - 5754
morganv@fiu.edu
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