Bourgeois Blues: An American Memoir.
But then, the author's introductory note adds a dash of intrigue: "This book is neither fiction nor journalism, but a work of the memory; and while subject to memory's vagaries, it is faithful to the stories I remember."
But the sinking feeling returns when Lamar fills us in on his background, humbly acknowledging his advantages: "a middle-class upbringing, a private school education, a Harvard degree, a job writing on national affairs at Time magazine." Interest wanes anew when he recounts a friend's take on his "problem": "You're too white for black people and too black for white people." Lamar's response: "Was I some sort of freak?"
Lamar is just one of the thousand of "children of the dream" who were misinformed or self-deluded about the Civil Rights Movement. The reality is that some of the 1960s ideals were, well, just that--ideals. But keep reading. Lamar, 30, doesn't take himself and his bourgeois blues that seriously.
In fact, much of his book is a meditation on his love-hate relationship with his father. But since Lamar doesn't bash his father, the inner tale works. In the end, the book is still a puzzle. But you will look forward to more prose from Jake Lamar.
Tonya Boland Bourgeois Blues: An American Memoir by Jake Lamar, Summit Books, New York, 1991, $19
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|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Apr 1, 1992|
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