Sample text for The house you pass on the way / Jacqueline Woodson.

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Counter   An Excerpt from The House You Pass on the Way

        Her father had married a white woman. That's how Sweet Gum people had
        talked about it, talked about her mother. Not to their faces, but it got
        back to them. The whole family did well at hiding the sting of townspeople's
        words. It was not what they whispered that stung. But how they
        whispered. Yes, Mama was white and that made all of them--Charlie Horse
        and Dotti and Battle, Hope and Staggerlee--part white. The only mixed-race
        family in Sweet Gum, maybe in all of Calmuth County. No, it wasn't
people said, for that part was true. But Mama was more than
        ìwhite.î She was Mama, quiet and easygoing. She kept to herself. When
        she smiled, her whole face brightened, and tiny dimples showed at the
        edge of her lips. Why was white the word that hung on people's
        lips? At school, when the kids talked about her mama, they whispered the
        word or said, "You're mama's white!" and it sounded loud and
        ugly, like something was wrong with Mama. And if something was wrong with
        Mama, then that meant that something was wrong with all of them. . . .

        And when people asked her what it felt like to be both black and white,
        she didn't have an answer for them. Most times, she just shrugged and
        looked away or kicked her hiking boot across the ground and mumbled something
        like "fine." Her family had never talked about it, the way they hadn't
        talked about a lot of things lately.


Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Cousins Fiction, Racially mixed people Fiction, Interracial marriage Fiction, African Americans Fiction, Lesbians Fiction, Homosexuality Fiction