Wednesday, November 16, 2011
"Kissing Outside the Lines:" A Meltingpot Book Review
Hello Meltingpot Readers,
If you recall a while back, I mentioned I'd be reading and reviewing TV actress, Diane Farr's new book, Kissing Outside the Lines: A True Story of Love and Race and Happily Ever After. So, I read it. And it's taken me a moment to decide what I want to say about it. But now I know.
First, I want to say that Farr has penned a very readable and in some parts, quite hilarious book about her experience meeting and marrying her Korean-American husband. Farr has no problem laughing at herself and sharing some of her most embarrassing moments. For that reason alone, one immediately becomes engaged in the story. In addition, I applaud her efforts at sharing her experience as a White woman marrying into a Korean family and sharing the stories of other interracial and/or intercultural couples. As a member of a mixie tribe myself, I love hearing how other people are living the life.
But here's the problem with the book. Farr's premise that she's shedding light on a topic that remains hidden in the 21st century -- that topic being that people don't want their kids to marry someone outside of their race -- is old news. In the clip below from the Today Show, Farr says about her reasons for writing the book, "[This] is the last prejudice we don't talk about." In other words, after being shunned by her Korean husband's family because she is White, Farr realized that people are secretly prejudiced and it was up to her to tell the world about it.
Sorry to say, Ms. Farr, but it is only because you have pretty much lived your life without being judged by the color of your skin (except for an incident in elementary school where it seems Farr was beat up for being half Italian) that you are shocked by the racism that people all over the world still exhibit.
So, back to the book. It was hard for me to stay engaged in the story, despite Farr's gift for the gab, because I was kind of going 'duh' throughout the whole thing. And because after awhile, I wanted to shake Farr and say, "They (her Korean in-laws) don't dislike you because you're White, they dislike you because you're not Korean!" That's a whole different ball of wax. I think this book could have been saved if Farr had simply decided to write a cute little memoir about integrating her new Korean family, instead of trying to tell the rest of us what we already know about interracial relationships. They're complicated. Some people are mean. And despite the obstacles, sometimes people can live happily ever after.
The Meltingpot grade: Nice Try
Has anybody else read Kissing Outside the Lines? I'd love to hear your opinion.