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Seeking Forgiveness


Loved it! 😍

A powerful story about a white mother trying to save her Black son from racist accusations. During a long night, she recalls her mistakes.

This memoir is told over the course of a single night as a white mother, Rachel, waits at a police station for word on why her Black son, Miles, has been arrested. During this dark night of the soul, she looks back over the mistakes she's made in parenting a Black child in a white world--and prays that none have been egregious enough to leave her son mortally wounded.

I am not sure if this is a novel or a memoir, as the author lists her last name as Rachel and says in her bio that she lives with her husband and son, while in the book, her husband is a lout who takes little interest in the boy they adopt and eventually leaves them. Either the way, the story is engagingly written and held my interest, though it was frustrating not to know if the book was a true story, particularly as the ending was tied up with incidents that seemed so neat and dramatized that I wondered if they had been fictionalized.

Still, all of the incidents Rachel recalls along the way seem horrifyingly real, from a dental receptionist who won't let her son see the orthodontist unless she can produce papers proving she is his mother, to her son being the only Black boy in many settings and often targeted for his race by children and adults, to an ignorant woman in a supermarket asking if she has any "real children." Miles' slow realization that he is different in a way that makes people like him less and treat him less fairly is heartbreaking. Many of the questions Rachel raises about whether white people should adopt Black children, who may then always feel like an outsider in their own lives, have no answer beyond the prayer that the love of a family is better than leaving Black children with no family.

I found myself annoyed at how long it took for Rachel and thus the reader to find out what had happened that had landed Miles behind bars. Rachel's decision to call a racist uncle to help her find a lawyer also seems questionable to me. But the ending, wrapped up with Miles' release into his mother's arms, is a fairy tale I wish was more often the ending of Black boys' stories.

Reviewed by

Hi there -- I'm a published poet whose debut collection was published last year and whose fiction and non-fiction has been published in literary magazines and anthologies for years. This year I also became a Reedsy editor and am proud to have received all five-star reviews from my editing clients.

Chapter 1

About the author

Lea Rachel is the author of The Other Shakespeare, The Coloured Shakespeare, I Promise, and a number of short story collections. She teaches at the University of Missouri, St. Louis and lives in St. Louis with her husband and son. view profile

Published on October 18, 2022

60000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Women's Fiction

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