Humorist and former model Wolff details her childhood growing up in an all-black Seattle neighborhood with a white father who wanted to be. I wrote a book review of “I’m Down” by Mishna Wolff. It’s a memoir about a super- white kid growing up in pre-gentrification Central District. A memoir by Mishna Wolff, I’m Down is one of the most eclectic and thought- provoking works to have been released in recent times. This text was published by.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — I’m Down by Mishna Wolff.

Mishna Wolff grew up in a poor black neighborhood with her single father, a white man who truly believed he was black. And so k early chi Mishna Wolff grew up mishan a poor black neighborhood with her single father, a white man who truly believed he was black. And so from early childhood on, her misnna began his crusade to make his downn daughter Down.

She was shy, uncool and painfully white. Hardcoverpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about I’m Downplease sign up.

See 2 questions about I’m Down…. Lists with This Book. Jul 26, Jennifer rated it it was amazing Shelves: I think that it was a very well-written book.

It made me laugh, and think, throughout the entire story. Some felt that the book’s message about race diminished as she talked more of class issues through her experiences. Often the two are intertwined simply because of the history of the nature of our relationship with each other and anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves. Re I think that it was a very well-written book. Reading previous reviews of the book made me a bit upset.

Why does it have to be “schtick” that her father acts this way? Why are people reading this as if none of it ever happened? There may be embellishments, but is it so absurd for a White man to “act Black” and have it be who he really is?

I wouldn’t describe her father as someone who wants to be Black, but as a man who wants to be himself and the him that he is happens to enjoy chicken gizzards. It’s not a ploy nor is it schtick, but it is who he is. Those who think so are the very people she mentions in the latter half of the book in my opinion. View all 3 wplff.

Mishna Wolff’s reading of the audiobook was very good and she’s really funny but I have to say that this audiobook has some of the worst sound I’ve ever heard on an audiobook. I had problems with this book that were personal but I really related to Mishna. Jun 22, Mike Lindgren bby it it was ok Shelves: It’s neither, but that shouldn’t stop Wolff, who was raised by a white single father in the black working-class town of Rainier Valley, Washington, from making hay with this slight but basically sweet-tempered memoir.

Wolff’s book has the contours of the classic coming-of-age tale, wherein the awkward and put-upon duckling triumphs over a series of endearing mishaps and eventually turns into a swan the marketing copy identifies Mlshna, ominously, as a “humorist and former model”. In Mishna Wolff’s case, a background of legitimately harrowing but otherwise unremarkable poverty was made distinctive by her father’s insistent adoption of all the hallmarks of urban African-American culture, including the flamboyant clothes, the jewelry, the aggressively ungrammatical argot and the emphasis on toughness and contempt for authority.

The result, according to Wolff, was a comical decade-long reverse-passing drama and a childhood marked by substantial identity confusion. Wolff mines this material for humor, but there’s something weird and unintentionally telling going on here. The author treats her father’s obsession as source material for rueful isn’t-this-crazy comedy, but a man repeatedly putting his two young daughters in considerable danger to prove his “blackness” is, in fact, a sad and desperate spectacle.


Other people understand this: John Belushi’s famous imitation of Joe Cocker got its sting from the pathos inherent in the lengths white men will go to in order to demonstrate that they have “soul. Most readers, however jaded, don’t think child abuse is funny. The element of I’m Down that, almost incidentally, carries real force is not the racial appropriation but rather the depiction of mihna poverty.

Wolff mentions off-handedly that she and her sister often lived for weeks on tapioca and watery corn bread; there’s a dlwn scene where the teenage author, who has unwittingly high-achieved herself into attendance at a posh private school, forces herself to share her classmates’ disdain for the school lunches that she, half-starving, secretly craves.

Wolff describes how she unapologetically latched onto her rich classmates in order to take advantage of their ski trips and European vacations and palatial beachfront homes full of sleek electronics and fully stocked kitchens, only to discard the same girls with woldf once they had served her purposes.

A more reflective writer would surely see how sad this is, but Wolff races ahead to the next set piece, like the comic pro she is. I’m Down is in many ways a catalogue of misplaced emphases and unintended literary effects the prose, for one thing, is flat and clumsy, and the humor feels strained in the way that stand-up routines transferred to the page usually dobut one doesn’t feel quite right blaming Mishna Wolff for this, exactly. One of the many irritating things about memoir as a genre is the way it makes special claims for itself, the way it seems to be criticism-proof.

With a novel, a dyspeptic critic, especially one not unnerved by the daunting middle-class minefields of race and parenthood, can simply dismiss the lot as so much ill-conceived garbage. Since a memoir’s power is ostensibly grounded in its truthfulness, however, it often feels that the only legitimate objection is to say, “this person’s life is not interesting.

I hope she doesn’t “cap” me. Sep 06, Margaret rated it it was ok. It’s hard to find the right words to describe this book. It seems to me that when the author was telling her “story” she picked out the worst things in her father to describe to show wolcf “black” he was.

His womanizing and lack of midhna ethic were not funny.

I’m Down (book) – Wikipedia

His attitude towards his daughters and how he let his women treat his daughters was not funny. Many of the things that black families are trying to overcome are hysterical to this author Now I do understand not fitting in with your community and being moved to different schools to be challenged and people’s attitudes toward you when this happens.

Now some parts of the book were funny, like her stint with the basketball teams and some of her other antics trying to fit in. But I didn’t find any of the book hysterical. Lucky it was a quick read!

I’m Down (book)

This was a book from my personal collection. Nov 22, Mishhna rated it it was amazing Shelves: When her parents divorce shortly after, she and her younger sister stay with their father while their mother deals with life as it is. With new wolrf chutzpah, she attains the friendships she desired as well as the confidence to gain a wokff more.

Finally making her way in school, she is again upheaved when she is sent to a different school for smarter kids. Wanting a better future, she decides, at 12 years of age, that scholarships are her ticket to the best college, but how?


Knowing her father got in via football, she sets her goal for bulking up to play. In the meantime, she joins a swim team and soon excels at the breaststroke.

Her father has remarried, his new wife supports them all with the addiction of her own two children and feels Mishna should be contributing more, monetarily and domestically. Arguments erupt, Mishna continues to subjugate herself, hoping to appease, and continues to fail. Realizing she can never be all, she leaves to live with her mother, finding a new peace and outlook on life. Wisdom enters with the realization that even rich kids have messed up lives and she needs to own her own, center herself, to attain any goals she holds.

Filled with much the same parents, sibling adoration, smack-yourself-in-the-head situations and financial deprivation, it is inspiring to see her win in the end.

Jun 22, Lillian rated it really liked it Shelves: I read this book cover to cover in one day. It kept me hooked throughout but left me with many questions. Mishna Wolff’s harrowing childhood was defined by her struggle to fit in–first, as the lone white kid in her predominantly African-American neighborhood and later, as the lone poor kid in the predominantly white, upper class school she tested into.

Wolff does a beautiful job capturing the vulnerability of being a kid; she makes the reader feel keenly the moments wllff painful embarrassment she I read this book cover to cover in one day.

Wolff does a beautiful job capturing the vulnerability of being a kid; she makes the reader feel keenly the moments of painful embarrassment she had to navigate. Although she depicts her childhood self somewhat deprecatingly, it’s hard not to admire this young girl’s inventiveness and grit. When a classmate asks why her lunch ticket is a different color than everyone else’s, she says that it’s because she’s allergic to raisins. I wish, though, that Wolff had delved deeper into her father’s psychology.

Her father, a charismatic man who seemed to fit utterly smoothly into the African-American community, still remains a mystery to me.

Wolff speculates little on where his intense need to be black came from or why he had so much trouble holding down a job. She alludes vaguely to her father’s threatening physical presence both she and her mom seemed to live in constant fear of himbut she never shines a clear light dowm this aspect of their relationship. In fact, she seems determined to “find the good” in all of her family members, even though her bt and her stepmom Yvonne treated her, on many occasions, horribly.

Wolff can’t seem to let go of her need to be daddy’s girl, and the book’s warm and fuzzy final scene struck me as, at best, overly bg. People think this book is funny? What on earth is the matter with those people? This book isn’t funny. It’s depressing as all get-out. And it’s not about racial identity, it’s about dodn neglect and massive dysfunction.

Goodness, the people who think this book is about racial identity have some seriously racist ideas about racial identity. Obviously, this author turned out ok. But good lord, reading about how she was “raised” made me want to go back in time, find her, and rescue her from those w People think this book is funny? But good lord, reading about how she was “raised” made me want to go back in time, find her, and rescue her from those weak, pathetic, selfish people wolfr did not deserve to be parents.

I might have tried to rescue one or two of her friends, as well.