RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe triumph of the book -- and of their lives -- is that race and religion are transcended in these interwoven histories by family love, the sheer force of a mother\'s will and her unshakable insistence that only two things really mattered: school and church ... But only as an adult did James McBride convince his mother -- now Ruth McBride Jordan -- to tell the story of Rachel Shilsky, to describe her past. And it is her voice -- unique, incisive, at once unsparing and ironic -- that is dominant in this paired history, and its richest contribution ... The two stories, son\'s and mother\'s, beautifully juxtaposed, strike a graceful note at a time (we are constantly told) of racial polarization. Together, I think, they give new meaning to some tired phrases. Try \'multicultural\' and, even more, \'family values.\'