I'm Down by Mishna Wolff
A Memoir

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Synopsis

Mishna Wolff grew up in a poor black neighborhood with her single father, a white man who truly believed he was black. "He strutted around with a short perm, a Cosby-esqe sweater, gold chains and a Kangol--telling jokes like Redd Fox, and giving advice like Jesse Jackson. You couldn't tell my father he was white. Believe me, I tried," writes Wolff. And so from early childhood on, her father began his crusade to make his white daughter Down.

Unfortunately, Mishna didn't quite fit in with the neighborhood kids: she couldn't dance, she couldn't sing, she couldn't double dutch and she was the worst player on her all-black basketball team. She was shy, uncool and painfully white. And yet when she was suddenly sent to a rich white school, she found she was too "black" to fit in with her white classmates.

I'm Down is a hip, hysterical and at the same time beautiful memoir that will have you howling with laughter, recommending it to friends and questioning what it means to be black and white in America.

 

About Mishna Wolff

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Mishna Wolff was one of the 2009 Sundance Screenwriting Lab fellows. She is a humorist and former model, who grew up in Seattle. She lives and writes in New York City.
 
Published May 26, 2009 by St. Martin's Press. 288 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for I'm Down

Kirkus Reviews

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The blackness of her neighborhood only made her feel out of place at school, and the whiteness of her school only alienated her from her father and the black woman he married, to the point where she moved out to live with her mother.

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Publishers Weekly

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Humorist and former model Wolff details her childhood growing up in an all-black Seattle neighborhood with a white father who wanted to be black in this amusing memoir.

Mar 23 2009 | Read Full Review of I'm Down: A Memoir

Entertainment Weekly

You can't help but laugh and cringe at her first attempts at insult: At one point, the little white girl barks at one of her dark-skinned classmates, ''Am I being talked to by a burnt chocolate chip cookie?'' Despite earnest efforts, Wolff can't cut it as a black girl.

May 27 2009 | Read Full Review of I'm Down: A Memoir

The Washington Post

John hung around black people, had black girlfriends and married a black woman.

Jun 27 2009 | Read Full Review of I'm Down: A Memoir

Bookmarks Magazine

The Topic: Mishna Wolff grew up in a poor black neighborhood in south Seattle, with a single father, "Wolfy"-a white man-who, with his "short perm, a Cosby-esqe sweater, gold chains and a Kangol," believed he was black.

May 31 2009 | Read Full Review of I'm Down: A Memoir

Oprah.com

As she tells you at the outset of I'm Down , Mishna Wolff is all white—nothing remarkable, except that her way cool father, "Wolfy," thinks he's black (he's not).

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Reader Rating for I'm Down
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