An unforgettable memoir about a mixed-race Jewish woman who, after fifteen years of estrangement from her racist great-aunt, helps bring her home when Alzheimer's strikes
In 1970, three-day-old Marra B. Gad was adopted by a white Jewish family in Chicago. For her parents, it was love at first sight-but they quickly realized the world wasn't ready for a family like theirs.
Marra's biological mother was unwed, white, and Jewish, and her biological father was black. While still a child, Marra came to realize that she was "a mixed-race, Jewish unicorn." In black spaces, she was not "black enough" or told that it was OK to be Christian or Muslim, but not Jewish. In Jewish spaces, she was mistaken for the help, asked to leave, or worse. Even in her own extended family, racism bubbled to the surface.
Marra's family cut out those relatives who could not tolerate the color of her skin-including her once beloved, glamorous, worldly Great-Aunt Nette. After they had been estranged for fifteen years, Marra discovers that Nette has Alzheimer's, and that only she is in a position to get Nette back to the only family she has left. Instead of revenge, Marra chooses love, and watches as the disease erases her aunt's racism, making space for a relationship that was never possible before.
The Color of Love explores the idea of yerusha, which means "inheritance" in Yiddish. At turns heart-wrenching and heartwarming, this is a story about what you inherit from your family-identity, disease, melanin, hate, and most powerful of all, love. With honesty, insight, and warmth, Marra B. Gad has written an inspirational, moving chronicle proving that when all else is stripped away, love is where we return, and love is always our greatest inheritance.
Publisher: Agate Publishing
Number of pages: 256
Dimensions: 203 x 133 x 13 mm
Praise for Marra B. Gad's The Color of Love:
"In The Color of Love, Gad tells her story in straightforward, unadorned prose. . . . The reader is left to marvel at Gad's magnanimity. In the face of a lifetime of racially motivated aggression, she consistently chooses love."-Jerusalem Post
"This beautiful memoir will stay with readers long after the last page is turned."-The Reporter
"Offers a Jewish mode of love. . . Institutions have much to learn from reading The Color of Love." -Jewschool.com
"An easy narrative on a complicated experience. It is a deeply personal story through which the author has shared a perspective that is seldom told."-Jewish Book Council
"In beautiful, fearless prose, Gad tells a story...that is alternately heart-wrenching and heartwarming." -JUF News
"Gad's message about resisting hate is solid. . . . [An] honest memoir about looking beyond hate to find some semblance of peace on the other side."-Kirkus Reviews
"Marra's journey to unconditional love, forgiveness, and compassion in the face of hate and rejection is nothing short of miraculous."-Tina Alexis Allen, author of Hiding Out
"Marra B. Gad's The Color of Love is a timely and touching memoir of a biracial girl adopted by a Jewish family. It is a story of her 'awakening' to the inherent pressures of being black and female in a white world, pressures that are compounded by being adopted and raised in a white Jewish culture. Her pursuit to live a life of love in a world of racial, religious, and anti-feminist hate and bigotry was a continuous battle toward finding her soul. For a good life-affirming read, I highly recommend The Color of Love."-Ron Stallworth, New York Times-bestselling author of Black Klansman
"An astonishing and important story, memorably told, with lessons that reach across race, religion, and culture."-David Wolpe, Max Webb Senior Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and author of David: The Divided Heart
"Marra B. Gad's is a compelling story, beautifully and authentically written, about her life as a mixed-race Jewish girl adopted by a white Chicago family in the '70s. The compassion, patience, and caring required of anyone in Marra's position is exquisitely demonstrated in this book: it has a lot to teach us."-Jane Wolf Frances, social worker, psychologist, and author of Parenting Our Parents: Transforming the Challenge into a Journey of Love
"The Color of Love by Marra B. Gad is a book I wish had existed when I was a young Iraqi immigrant in Kentucky trying to make sense of my own 'otherness.' But whereas I spent my youth working to correctly pronounce my r's so I sounded American or being called Mexican because Iraq was not yet a household word, Gad was confronting flat-out racism from her own relatives. Her unflinching account of these inconceivable experiences is balanced with compassion and an empathy for those who judge her. And that makes her a total badass."-Ayser Salman, author of The Wrong End of the Table
"With humor, tears, and most of all, searing honesty, Marra Gad takes us inside her world, the world of a mixed-race Jew who knows both a family's boundless devotion and the daily indignities-and worse-of those who cannot see past their prejudice. Faced with the ultimate dilemma, she draws on love, the force that single-handedly carried her through the peaks and valleys of a challenging yet full and happy life. Her story of choosing grace and generosity in the most unimaginable moments holds lessons for us all."-Daniel Shapiro, former ambassador of the United States to Israel
"This is not a story you've heard before. I was blown away by how engrossed I became in The Color of Love and was compelled to find out what happens next to the book's heroine and author in this true story. Gad's fresh voice manages to bring the reader into her heartwarming, sometimes heartbreaking, and often comedic journey, resulting in a memorable page-turner that you will not want to end."-Rosa Blasi, actress and author of Jock Itch
"The Color of Love is a spectacular addition to the canon of great Jewish literature. It is timely, confronting urgent questions of racism within the Jewish community, but it is also a timeless parable of hope, love, and the possibility of transformation. This book will challenge all of us to confront our biases and assumptions; it will educate, enliven, and inspire; but most of all, like all great storytelling, it is one book you just can't put down."-Rabbi Jonah Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism