Louisiana Book News: 'Other People's Skin' looks at issues of skin color
Walking around in 'Other People's Skin'
Euleatha LeMoyne was not what her mother expected.
A descendant of LeMoyne brothers, founders of Louisiana, Euleatha's mother, Peaches, is proud of her light skin, setting her apart literally and socially from her dark-skinned neighbors. When Euleatha is born the shade of "scorched caking mud," Peaches faints at the sight of her.
So begins the heart-wrenching story by best-selling author Tracy Price-Thompson titled Other People's Skin, one of four novellas in a book of the same name that tackles the issues of skin color and hair among black women (Atria Books, $14).
TaRessa Stoval's advertising executive confronts prejudice from a black client who insists on a lighter-skinned model while NPR's Desiree Cooper dissects skin color issues in relationships. Elizabeth Atkins Bowman offers a woman who's "too white to be all the way black. Or too black to be all the way white."
But it's Price-Thompson story set in 1970s Louisiana that anchors the book. A winner of the 2002 Hurston/Wright Award for short fiction, it delivers a scorching testament to the prejudices that occur on both sides of the paper bag test. While Euleatha grows up with resentment from her mother and sister, her great-grandmother provides the love and wisdom she so desperately needs, including the ultimate lesson in which Euleatha must walk in other people's skins.
It's a marvelous collection that offers great fodder for discussion.