The term “real American” is both simple and complicated. The simple definition is a person who was born in this country or has forsaken their country of birth and has chosen to become an American. The complicated definition is plagued by historical, political, and/or cultural images of who is a “real American”.
Julie Lythcott-Haims is the daughter of an African-American father and a white English mother. Her 2018 memoir, Real American, is about growing up bi-racial in the United States. In the book, she talks about how racism has affected her life and her self esteem.
This book is very good and very tough to read. The pain and anger of dealing with racism on a daily basis is immediate from the word go. I could feel it radiating from the page. If I could have, I would have directly apologized to her not just for my own innate prejudices, but for what the image of person of color is to the outside world. If nothing else, the author is challenging her readers to take a hard look at themselves and how they have been taught to look at some people deemed as “the other”.
I also appreciated the unique format of the text. Though it may seem a little out of the box, it fits in well with the message.
On the surface, many of us may seem to have it all. A thriving career, loving family, healthy children, supportive spouse or romantic partner, etc. But underneath all of that, many of us have a secret darkness. This darkness call us names. Tell us that we are stupid, ugly, unworthy, unloved, etc. It keeps us from living our lives to the fullest and fulfilling our dreams.
Anneli Rufus’s non fiction book, Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself is not the average self help book on low self esteem. Unlike many self help books on the subject that from from psychiatrists and doctors that come off as snooty and know it all, this book comes from one of us. Ms. Rufus writes in great detail the reasons for her lack of self esteem. She interviews a variety of people and borrows snippets of press interviews from some well known celebrities who suffered in secret from internal self hatred.
I enjoyed this book. Ms. Rufus writes from a place of understanding. She is one of us, looking in the mirror and see what is wrong with her instead of what is right with her. What I enjoyed about the book was the honest telling of her own fight with low self esteem. She encourages her readers to fight the negative thoughts and anxiety that are so pervasive and persuasive in our lives.