Whitegirl by Kate Manning

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Synopsis

I was not always a white girl. I used to be just Charlotte. A person named Charlotte Halsey. But when I met Milo, when I fell in love with him, I became White, like a lit light bulb is white. In the mirror there is my skin the color of sand, hair the color of butter, eyes blue as seawater. Just so bleachy white I am practically clear.

Milo is black, what they call “Black,” only not to me. To me he has mostly been just Milo. They say lovers can find each other just by using the sense of smell; that we are all really animals in that way, no different from dogs or deer. I know it’s true. I could find Milo blind in a room of men, the smell of him like pine trees in a snowy wind. I could pick him out just by the slow rising of his breath while he slept. So no, until this happened, up to the time of the assault, he was not black, not to me. He was Milo. He was my husband.
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As Kate Manning’s riveting debut novel begins, a thirty-five-year-old white woman lies secluded in her home overlooking the Pacific, unable to speak, recovering from a violent assault that has nearly taken her life. Her husband, a famous black actor, is in jail for the crime.

Is he guilty? She’s not sure. She remembers nothing of the assault. Longing for answers, she sifts through the history of their life together, trying to determine how two people once so in love might find themselves so ruined.

Charlotte Halsey and Milo Robicheaux met briefly in college in the 1970s, where she was a beautiful, troubled girl hungry for freedom, and he was the star athlete with Olympic dreams. Years later, when she is a successful model and he a famous sports hero turned actor, their paths cross again in New York City and they fall in love.

But their marriage is soon fraught with tension. As Milo’s celebrity skyrockets, motherhood ends Charlotte’s career, leaving her increasingly alienated from the man she believed she knew so well. Jealousy and mistrust grow between them even as they strive to build a life together against increasing odds.

A poignant anatomy of a marriage undone by the pressure of fame and the struggle for identity, Whitegirl is the arresting debut of a significant new voice in contemporary fiction.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Kate Manning

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Kate Manning is a former journalist and television producer. She lives in New York City with her husband and three children.
 
Published July 6, 2011 by Delta. 416 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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But Charlotte, who offers too many examples of her ignorance about the world to be believable in her perceptive-narrator role, makes some glaring blunders on the race front just as Milo falls under the sway of an agent whose espousal of black empowerment includes thinly veiled antagonism toward C...

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Publishers Weekly

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In light of current culture, it's difficult to read a book in which a stunning white woman is violently assaulted, and her husband—a black athlete turned sportscaster turned actor—is the prime suspect and not immediately think "O.J.

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Entertainment Weekly

Originally posted Mar 08, 2002 Published in issue #643 Mar 08, 2002 Order article reprints

Mar 08 2002 | Read Full Review of Whitegirl

PopMatters

Charlotte Halsey: ex-model, the white wife of a famous African-American sportscaster/actor, and recent victim of a horrible crime.

May 29 2002 | Read Full Review of Whitegirl

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Feb 14 2013 | Read Full Review of Whitegirl

Reader Rating for Whitegirl
70%

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