Monday, January 11, 2016

I’m Down by Mishna Wolff

Looking Back with Laughter (Humorous Memoir)

I'm Down by Mishna Wolff is a humorous memoir about a girl growing up in a poor, black neighborhood with a father who seems to believe he was black.  At an early age Mishna, who is bright and scored high on proficiency exams, is sent to a school for gifted, rich students. Now Mishna must find a balance between both worlds: one filled with studying, skiing, and European vacations, the other filled with “capping,” slam charades, and Value Village.  

In this book, Wolff recounts her unusual, sometimes awkward and sad childhood with hilarious, keen insight.  Weaving her wit through a net of issues, she exposes racial and social attitudes, parenting styles, and the struggles of growing up through a wildly funny narrative.  I found it highly entertaining and had a hard time putting it down.

This was a book club selection and my members also really enjoyed the book.  We had a good discussion about Mishna's father who was at times negligent, at times coldly insensitive, and yet also caring and involved. Her upbringing was definitely out of the norm, but who's to say what's normal anyway?  Small portions of it reminded us of the unusual childhood in Jeanette Wall's The Glass Castle.   It was mentioned that this was not a book most of the book club members would have chosen on their own, but were glad they read it.  

I'm lucky to have the opportunity to belong to a book club. We enjoy each other's company, and of course, it's great to bounce our ideas about books off each other.  If you don't belong to a book club, you can join online discussions through sites such as  You can also follow along with our club and send in your thoughts.  

Our next selection is Brooklyn  by Colm Toibin which we'll be reviewing on February 21 and posting the following day.   Come join us!

Happy Reading,


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