Real American, a Memoir

By Julie Lythcott-Haims


I am the untallied, unpaid, unrepented damages of one of America’s founding crimes.  I come from people who endured the psycho-cultural genocide of slavery, reconstruction, and Jim Crow.  Who began to find a place here really only quite recently amid strides toward effecting a more perfect union, of liberty and justice for all….I come from people who survived what America did to them.  Ain’t I a Real American? 

Julie Lythcott-Haims, the author of the New York Times bestselling anti-helicopter parenting manifesto, How to Raise an Adult, has written a different sort of book this time out.  Real American is an affecting memoir, a piercing cry from the heart, and a clarion call to all of us to live more wisely, generously, and fully.

In this moving memoir, Lythcott-Haims evokes her personal battle with low self-esteem that American racism routinely inflicts on people of color.  The only child of a marriage between an African American father and a white British mother, she shows indelibly how small aggressions, as well as blunt force insults, can puncture a person’s inner life with a thousand sharp cuts.  The memoir reveals how, through her path to self-acceptance, the healing power of community can help to overcome the isolation of being incessantly considered “the other.”

As one reviewer wrote, “(Real American is) A courageous, achingly honest meditation on what it means to come to consciousness as a mixed race child and adult in a nation where Black lives weren’t meant to matter.” –Michelle Alexander, New York Times bestselling author.

Julie Lythcott-Haims served as dean of freshmen and undergraduate advising at Stanford University.  She holds a BA from Stanford, a JD from Harvard Law School, and an MFA in writing from California College of the Arts.

Real American, a Memoir
December 2018 Book Review
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