Official Review: It's a White Life by Jim Trebbien

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CatInTheHat
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Official Review: It's a White Life by Jim Trebbien

Post by CatInTheHat » 29 Dec 2018, 15:38

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "It's a White Life" by Jim Trebbien.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Jim Trebbien’s dedication, “Dedicated to all of the people who believe everyone should have equal opportunities in life,” in many ways describes the essence of It’s a White Life. Author Jim Trebbien shares the experiences of a mentor/mentee relationship he had with Cameron Johnson, which takes place during the past decade of modern America.

Jim was raised on a farm in Iowa and is a dean at a community college at the time this story takes place. Cameron grew up in the projects in Omaha, Nebraska and is now a student at the community college Jim works at. Jim is a white male nearing his retirement years; Cameron is an African-American college student in his mid-twenties. These distinctions are integral to the story. The two men developed far more than the mentor/mentee relationship that they initially signed on for, as they discovered both many similarities and differences in their lives. Discover what they found out about themselves and life in their journey together.

The author presents his discoveries primarily through stories, with each man sharing experiences and thoughts from their past. Additionally, Jim provides his observations on the contrasts as well as their similarities. Many themes are covered, including family, legal issues, discrimination, and religion. The author tackles the many themes in an engaging manner, keeping his readers wanting more.

In many ways, the men are similar to each other. Both men grew up in close-knit families that are very supportive of them. They view themselves as born-again Christians and are very active in their churches. Both men are in loving marriages and place high importance on family life.

Early in the book, we hear one of the more shocking contrasts in how the two men were treated after each of their first wives falsely accused them of physical abuse. Jim’s background did not prepare him for Cameron’s experiences, especially with law enforcement. For example, Cameron shared that he and his friends would often get pulled over for “being black.” Jim gets to learn first-hand later on as to just how scary it is to be pulled over with someone who is black. It also makes Jim think of all the things that should have gotten him into trouble with the law but didn’t. The subject of guns comes up at various times in their childhood backgrounds: Jim hunted with his brother and father, while Cameron watched bad people shooting each other while playing outside. What Jim recognizes in himself by the end of the book is in many ways a stunning sociological perspective on life as a white man.

I rate It’s a White Life 3 out of 4 stars. It provides a hands-on reflective look at the reality of white privilege in the United States in an incredibly engaging manner. I particularly enjoyed the way the stories were presented as it helped me to get to know both Cameron and Jim. The only reason it is not worthy of 4-stars is the numerous grammar errors that would have been picked up with better editing. Outside of the editing issues, there wasn't anything I outright disliked in the book. This book would appeal to people who want to know more about racism in the United States while engaging with real people instead of stereotypes.

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It's a White Life
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Post by Cecilia_L » 30 Dec 2018, 18:49

This book sounds relevant and intriguing. Thanks for the excellent review.

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Post by Alicia09 » 30 Dec 2018, 20:41

Race is always a difficult subject to discuss, because unfortunately, some people still experience discrimination. Yet I think that as a non fiction book, this story can help bring those issues out in the open through real interactions. It seems as if the author did a good job of describing how people of different races are treated differently, without stereotyping anyone.
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Post by Jessacardinal » 30 Dec 2018, 23:01

Your review definitely makes me want to read this book. It sounds like this story would make a phenomenal movie!

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Post by melissah30 » 31 Dec 2018, 02:23

This book sounds like an excellent way to examine how white privilege affects us in ways that we take for granted! It seems like a great read and I should definitely try it out!
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Post by stevenkay » 31 Dec 2018, 03:23

Interesting title interesting reflection of colour and privilege, and opportunity. It sounds realistic and more of the daily life . I want to dig in more so I can hear the nitgrities involved

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Post by kandscreeley » 31 Dec 2018, 08:33

It provides a hands-on reflective look at the reality of white privilege in the United States in an incredibly engaging manner.
That sentence makes the whole book very intriguing despite the numerous grammatical errors. Still, I've got so many books on my to read list, and this one is just not striking a chord with me at the moment. I'll keep it in mind for the future, though. Thanks!
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Post by C-Extra22 » 01 Jan 2019, 07:53

I would love to read each man's stories about his past. Thanks.

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Post by CatInTheHat » 01 Jan 2019, 13:49

Alicia09 wrote:
30 Dec 2018, 20:41
Race is always a difficult subject to discuss, because unfortunately, some people still experience discrimination. Yet I think that as a non fiction book, this story can help bring those issues out in the open through real interactions. It seems as if the author did a good job of describing how people of different races are treated differently, without stereotyping anyone.
You are right that it's hard to talk about. More than anything, the author listened as much of what we learn about Cameron's experiences are in his own words.
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Post by CatInTheHat » 01 Jan 2019, 13:51

melissah30 wrote:
31 Dec 2018, 02:23
This book sounds like an excellent way to examine how white privilege affects us in ways that we take for granted! It seems like a great read and I should definitely try it out!
There are so many ways that those of us who are white don't even realize is truly a privilege.
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Post by CatInTheHat » 01 Jan 2019, 13:52

kandscreeley wrote:
31 Dec 2018, 08:33
It provides a hands-on reflective look at the reality of white privilege in the United States in an incredibly engaging manner.
That sentence makes the whole book very intriguing despite the numerous grammatical errors. Still, I've got so many books on my to read list, and this one is just not striking a chord with me at the moment. I'll keep it in mind for the future, though. Thanks!
Definitely intriguing and so personal.
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Post by kdstrack » 01 Jan 2019, 16:40

Your description of Cameron and John's relationship makes me want to read this book. I agree that the errors are frustrating. It still sounds like a compelling story. Thanks for your review.

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Post by shaid01724 » 01 Jan 2019, 22:29

This book has been read by Khobi Anand and learned a lot about the life of man. The real book is a very realistic book.

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Post by Helen_Combe » 02 Jan 2019, 16:34

Great review, it sounds like a book that covers important issues. Such a pity that so many books are let down by their editing.
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Post by gen_g » 02 Jan 2019, 23:11

The book sounds like an inspiring read, but like you mentioned, it is a pity about the editing. I'm interested in this issue, and I will pick this up after it goes for editing. Thanks for the review!

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