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Hello fellow readers and bloggers! Sorry I'm late getting the post up this week. Life Since the last three days, my husband and I have been down with the sniffles, congestion, and occasionally fever as well. My husband took a test and thankfully it was negative. It doesn't make it feel any more bearable though - I spent much of yesterday sleeping - but today it looks like I'm on the bend. I just hope the kids don't catch it too. Not much of significance this week. The husband and I have been talking about investing in real estate for a while. We had been looking at properties for weeks and had put in offers for couple of them this past week. One of them didn't pan out but the other did. So we are pretty excited about starting this new chapter. Shopping for an investment property is such a complete different ballgame from buying a  house. For starters, it doesn't help to visualize living in the property simply because my needs could be different from those of a t

Passing by Nella Larsen | Thoughts

Published: 1929   ||   Format: ebook   ||   Location: US




One line summary: Two old friends/acquaintances reconnect years later, but there's a lot at stake this time especially with one friend passing as white and several relationships forming or dying.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

The trouble with Clare was, not only that she wanted to have her cake and eat it too, but that she wanted to nibble at the cakes of other folk as well.


Thoughts:

Irene Redfield and Clare Bellew are two light-skinned Black women living diametrically opposite lives with their families. On the one hand, Irene is living comfortably in the neighborhood of Harlem as a black woman, while Clare is passing as white and living with a white husband, who (ironically) detests black people. When their paths cross one day, there is a strange magnetic pull that both brings them together and keeps them apart.

Passing is one of those books where much doesn't seem to happen, and yet much does happen by the time the last page is turned. I first heard about it last year on several blogs and later my interest was piqued when Netflix announced the movie. In addition, several mentioned a twist/shock/out of character ending and that was all I needed to go find the book and read it. I may not read a lot of thrillers but I do love books with twist endings. 

A lot of the book is building character and showing gradual changes in both women. I will admit to rushing through the book a few times. But I will not advise others to do that. So much of that twist ending relies on seeing how the story shifts page by page. Even days after reading the book, I was in awe of Nella Larsen's storytelling ability. This is a book that is written to reward rereads. There are all these clues and metaphors that will make more sense during a reread. 

Irene is a very rigid person who believes in keeping appearances and doing things the right way. Clare is her opposite in that she is very impulsive, very energetic, and very clingy. I identified more with Irene than with Clare - both in personality and actions. Plus of course, we are more in Irene's head than in Clare's. Through much of the book, I felt vibes of Behind Her Eyes (and if you didn't watch Behind Her Eyes yet, let me explain just how many times I sat in fear at what will come next, just as I used to as a kid watching horror movies I wasn't supposed to be watching). Passing isn't a horror book at all, and yet there is that sense of dread through much of the book. You know something will happen, but you can't quite tell what. 

Larsen does a great job showing how risky it was for Black people to pass as white, and also how many Black people still did it. Reading this book in 2021, almost a century later, I felt the sadness of how not much has changed. Black people may outwardly have the same rights as everyone else, but under the hood, we have all been fighting the same problem for centuries. 

I watched the movie right after I finished the book - something I don't do often because I almost never enjoy the movie. I noticed how close the story and dialogue were to the book - this is a huge treat as a reader. I certainly enjoyed the movie - I think it showed certain things that the book left implied and that helped inform the story more. 


What's your favorite book about friends who are not really friends?

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