The Book Keeper: A Memoir of Race, Love, and Legacy

The Book Keeper: A Memoir of Race, Love, and Legacy

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by Julia McKenzie Munemo

In a memoir that’s equal parts love story, investigation, and racial reckoning, Munemo unravels and interrogates her whiteness, a shocking secret, and her family’s history. 

When interracial romance novels written by her long-dead father landed on Julia McKenzie Munemo’s kitchen table, she—a white woman—had been married to a black man for six years and their first son was a toddler. Out of shame about her father’s secret career as a writer of “slavery porn,” she hid the books from herself, and from her growing mixed-race family, for more than a decade. But then, with police shootings of African American men more and more in the public eye, she realized that understanding her own legacy was the only way to begin to understand her country.

“A fiercely felt memoir about family shame and the transformative power of love even as it’s also an ongoing meditation on privilege and race in twenty-first-century America. This is a debut striking in its empathetic imagination, observational acuity, and emotional intelligence.” — Jim Shepard, author of Like You’d Understand, Anyway.