Pig Candy by Lise Funderburg
Taking My Father South, Taking My Father Home--A Memoir

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Synopsis

Pig Candy is the poignant and often comical story of a grown daughter getting to know her dying father in his last months. During a series of visits with her father to the South he'd escaped as a young black man, Lise Funderburg, the mixed-race author of the acclaimed Black, White, Other, comes to understand his rich and difficult background and the conflicting choices he has had to make throughout his life.

Lise Funderburg is a child of the '60s, a white-looking mixed-race girl raised in an integrated Philadelphia neighborhood. As a child, she couldn't imagine what had made her father so strict, demanding, and elusive; about his past she knew only that he had grown up in the Jim Crow South and fled its brutal oppression as a young man. Then, just as she hits her forties, her father is diagnosed with advanced and terminal cancer -- an event that leads father and daughter together on a stream of pilgrimages to his hometown in rural Jasper County, Georgia. As her father's escort, proxy, and, finally, nurse, Funderburg encounters for the first time the fragrant landscape and fraught society -- and the extraordinary food -- of his childhood.

In succulent, evocative, and sometimes tart prose, the author brings to life a fading rural South of pecan groves, family-run farms, and pork-laden country cuisine. She chronicles small-town relationships that span generations, the dismantling of her own assumptions about when race does and doesn't matter, and the quiet segregation that persists to this day. As Funderburg discovers the place and people her father comes from, she also, finally, gets to know her magnetic, idiosyncratic father himself. Her account of their thorny but increasingly close relationship is full of warmth, humor, and disarming candor. In one of his last grand actsFunderburg's father recruits his children, neighbors, and friends to throw a pig roast -- an unforgettable meal that caps an unforgettable portrait of a man enjoying his life and loved ones right up through his final days.

Pig Candy takes readers on a stunning journey that becomes a universal investigation of identity and a celebration of the human will, familial love, and, ultimately, life itself.
 

About Lise Funderburg

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Lise Funderburg is the author of Black, White, Other: Biracial Americans Talk about Race and Identity, the first book to explore the lives of adult children of black-white unions. She has been a regular contributor since 2001 to O, the Oprah Magazine and has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show. She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Nation, Salon, and Newsday. A graduate of Columbia Journalism School and Reed College, Funderburg lives in Philadelphia, PA.
 
Published May 13, 2008 by Free Press. 321 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Now, as Dad, ailing with cancer, prepares for his end, he passes along some of the other lessons he has learned in life, most along the lines of respecting other people, paying as well as you can and keeping mind and body active.

Apr 01 2008 | Read Full Review of Pig Candy: Taking My Father S...

Publishers Weekly

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Funderberg’s memoir continues the exploration of her mixed-race identity (started in her first book, Black, White, Other ) through the story of her black father, George.

Mar 10 2008 | Read Full Review of Pig Candy: Taking My Father S...

Bookmarks Magazine

As Funderburg discovers the place and people her father comes from, she also, finally, gets to know her magnetic, idiosyncratic father himself.

Jul 13 2008 | Read Full Review of Pig Candy: Taking My Father S...

Oprah.com

This Personalized application will help you build a shield against stress thorough daily interactive assessments and exercises.

| Read Full Review of Pig Candy: Taking My Father S...

Story Circle Book Reviews

Lise Funderburg's memoir of the final two years of her father's life is layered with personal, cultural and historical meaning.

Feb 12 2009 | Read Full Review of Pig Candy: Taking My Father S...

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