Over Memorial break, I had the chance to meet two people. James McBride’s mother and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Yes, just like my fictional friends, I also believe I’ve conversed with real people who’ve been written about or written about themselves. How I would like to sit down for tea with both of them. And with both The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother and Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the writers completely capture the essence of the person… the magic of the person, certainly not an illusion of them.
Though this has been around for close to twenty years, I’ve only just read it and was sucked in in the first chapter. McBride shares the intimate details of his mother’s childhood through parenthood and alongside it narrates the story of his life. Yet, hers truly shines with a uniqueness that is just as apt as her description of God when asked by McBride, that God is the color of water in that he has no color. She is without description and the unraveling of it is skillfully executed.
Another skillful organization is in comparing Notorious BIG to Ruth Bader Ginsburg as Carmon and Knizhnik discuss. How could Tumblr make a pop icon out of the second female Supreme Court justice? It’s easy because Ginsburg is renegade. Using the theme of Notorious BIG’s songs and legacy readers see her power, her words, and her dedication to the law and fighting for equal rights. The variety of information is captivating, from her dissenting opinions (and notes on understanding them) along with images, and a chronology of her rise including plenty of quotes attributed to her. She embodies strength and it shows throughout the book.
In fact, both books focus on their inner strength and motivation to be better and make others better in the process. Both Ruth McBride Jordan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg not only share a name, but they share some magic too.