I saw the book , " Dreams from my Father : A Story of Race and Inheritance" by Barach Obama and immediately got interested, not knowing that he could be first black president of the United States.
The cover is not very attractive but the synopsis at the back cover made me go over the pages quickly , not stopping until I finished the book. What caught my attention is his being the first African American president of Harvard Law Review in 1991. It speaks of brilliance of mind overcoming race discrimination. The best thing of all is the biography is a good read and does not smack of a political campaign. Barach can really write and make the revelations develop slowly and clearly It reminded me of the book and television series ,"Roots" by Alex Haley.
Barach Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961 to Barach Obama Sr and Ann Dunham from Kansas, His parents met in University of Hawaii, where his impressive father was a scholar. His parents divorced when he was two years old. His father went back to Kenya but mystic stories about this magnificent man continue to haunt him. He grew up with his grandparents in Kansas until his mother met an Indonesian. Descriptions of the kampongs were vivid. I can almost imagine how Indonesia was when I saw it in 1986.His boyhood years were spread in Hawaii,Kansas and Indonesia exposing him to myriad cultures. A loving mother, ready to sacrifice for him, gave him the family that would mould one of the few elected US senators.
Like his father, he got a scholarship to pursue law in Harvard University, which is no mean feat. He became a civil rights lawyer and taught constitutional law.
Barach was searching for his identity. It shows the pain of being black. There was an incident when he avoided Coretta, the only other black girl in his class. They are being teased as a pair because of their color. An article about a black man who wanted to bleach his skin white but resulted in a terrible skin disease was deeply impressed in his mind. A good friend, Regina, who was black, wore colored contact lenses to dissimulate the beautiful black irises of her eyes. The struggle to fight against these insecurities made him mature. He called himself Barry - maybe in an effort to blend well in a white neighborhood.
The elder and younger Obama met just once before the elder Obama died. The elder Obama gave him glimpses of his beloved Kenya. The trip of Obama Sr. to the afterlife was a push for Obama Jr. to make a sentimental trip to Kenya. He found a very different culture - yet familiar. It was also a first meeting with his brothers and sisters.
This book is definitely an honest story of a brave man guiding his son to go back to his roots and values. I did not feel it was a campaign pitch. Barach Obama is a good writer. period