Caille Millner: The Golden Road Notes on My Gentrification



Ive I m not sure that happened here In the nd I m glad I read it I m going to recommend it to friends and then I am going to consider writing my own memoir cause I have had a lot of crazy ish go down and if Millner can write a memoir then I damn sure can too Kinda boring Meandered I haven t said that about a book in a long time It gets the An Officer and a Spy extra star because the takeaway was identity narratives Something I will probably carry with me and my ideas of writing and self for the rest of my life I stopped halfway through though because I couldn t take the dipping in and out of time frames with seemingly little relation to the original paragraph orven premise of the bookBut identity narratives Killer concept A memoir of a young African American woman growing up in a predominantly Latino San Jose California neighborhood I just finished this book and found the last 13 to be bizarre It wandered and jumped around to the point that I wanted to stop reading it but the first 23 were full of interesting observations This book was written by someone only two years older than me who also grew up in the Bay Area specifically San Jose and was one of a handful of Black students at an all girls high school The similarities betwwen myself and the author Fates (Fates, end there I could not relate AT ALL to the author s bitter often ranting diatribe against people I had to return this book to the library before I could reach the bitternd and doubt t At first I couldn t place the slight feeling of repulsion I felt when beginning this book Around the 50th page I realized that the sort of mental cringing I was Recipe for Temptation (Madewood Brothers, experiencing was most similar to the unpleasant start I always have when I put headphones on during my radio show and hear how my voice sounds to other people This book is about having black parents who came to California andducated themselves and thus placed you in a yucky suburban landscape you hate than is necessary mostly because you have no idea what you re missing that s worse and because you ve read a lot of books that are about people and places that seem to be better If you turn to the back of the book jacket you ll see a picture of Caillie Millner hair in a bun demure blouse and one of those smiles that probably doesn t like to get captured on film much at least not by strangers Ack Basically she s me But pale black instead of pale brown Obviously there are differences between the author and I her travels her Harvard degree her xperience with drugs I think if you mush my adolescence together with my oldest brother s you ll come ven closer to the narrative trace of this book Nevertheless I ve never read a story about passing that I identified so much with Or had the feeling of blushing at the precociousness of someone OBaby else s writing as if it were my own slightly undercooked outrage or my reflections on my youth while still basically young and therefore still not tempered with any great deal of wisdomThat doesn t make this a great book worthy of five stars maybe but I don t care because there are things about being a nerdy almost white girl in America that I ve never read anyonelse write so well and I can t do any better so there you go A bit too self absorbed and uite pompous in her style of writing the word insufferable kept coming to mind as I read this book I was hoping to gain some insight into what it s like to grow up in a world in which you feel unmoored from a particular racial identitybackgroundtribe but instead of getting that I got a rambling diatribe from someone who seemed to be looking to pick a fight with Nerds everyone over almostverything There were some gems in this book such I was interested to read this book since I grew up in San Jose knew her father Zack (Areion Fury MC etc The book was a disappointment While she does acknowledge her own advantage in life growing up in Almaden Valley going to Harvard she appears to like the sound of her own voice The fact that she has an aversion to uotation marks made it difficult for me to follow the voice The book moved around too much and didn txplore fully any aspect of her life I really Shadow on the Crown (The Emma of Normandy Trilogy, enjoyed the family aspect wish the book would havexplored that I could have done without the strange friends drugs ContamiNation etc I learned that she I went to the same high school 15 years apart We did not have the samexperience she claimed racism at the school which wouldn t surprise me the administration shut her down I wish she would have discussed of her Taxi ins Glück eating disorder and her personal relationships including her family The section on her time in South Africa went no where that is basically where the booknde. Gets on the playing field Throughout The Golden Road Millner navigates from one world to the other with breathtaking ase always the outsider but always genuinely struggling for mpathy and connection The result is a book that tours the landscapes of possibility carved by race class and culture for young Americans and reckons with the prevailing fantasies and realities of internal immigration and gentrification through the prism of her own Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas experiences withlectrifying freshness and lucidity This is that rare thing a memoir that transcends its author's personal xperiences to say something important and new about the broader culture without losing traction with the human story that gives it its astonishing power.

Let me start by saying I do not trust Caille Millner It is not fair to begin reading a book this way I know however the initial xpenditure of 25 dollars on a book will tell you I am open mindedI have lived in San Jose my ntire life as a Mexican American Chicana is the word Millner uses although I find that to not describe the kind of Mexican I am I went to high school and community college here and both institutions share this city s name My brief time away from the 95112 and 95116 zip codes was for college just 30 minutes away so you see I have never been far Perhaps this is a negative thing this proximity forming my view too tight and focused Perhaps being so Mexican makes me acknowledge it ven less because it is simply a fact of genetics and birthrightI did not ask for this I do see stereotypes come alive I wonder about public school Not Without a Fight education and urban blight because I have lived this life and to this day have ventured only intellectually as a means ofscape from so called destiny My future is still yet to be setMillner focuses on the Mexican American culture because growing up in San Jose it was all around her so much that her brother identified himself practically as Mexican American There is one short story she tells us about a boy named Jaime a Mexican immigrant Jaime was invited to the Lake Tahoe for the weekend by the richest boy in middle school Later on that boy reflected that his father had stated that Jaime was speaking so openly and Garden Bouquets and Beyond excitedly with the waitstaff apparently a taboo because he would most definitely be working at a place like that himself Poor little Jaime what was he thinking hanging around with the richest boy and going to Tahoe with him too boot I find it hard to believe that in middle school Millner and the rich boyven had this discussion where he divulged his familial feelings towards Mexicans in such a way But again that could just be my distrustIt is rare to see a literary memoir come about from San Jose and The Unseen Wonder even rarer for that writer to be a peer a young woman and lifelong writer I initially heard of Millner from the article about her in Metro I knew I would read this book because of its rarity and because of my interest in personal stories specifically literary Millner is a light skinned black girl witharly identity issues that she worked out through academic success and most notably the written wordI have often considered the idea of race at first from a radical perspective and now with uncertainty I do not trust people s intellectualization of race because of its multifaceted nature I The Management Bible enjoy the concept and comfort that intellectual rationalization brings to those who choose to go that route But I know from lifelongxperience that you cannot and will not reach out to those people you speak of through intellectual thought It is condescending and just like the investment banker Millner cries about during her first years at Harvard it misses the Zu schnell entire pointMy proximity to San Jose to being Mexican and my heightened sensitivity to subtle racist slights might be my downfall I am going to visit my father who takes care of my grandmother who is 95 years old and spent her life out in the fields We do not talk about race because we know My father has told me anecdotal stories of times when the slights were not slights but rather straight up obvious hate We don t trust the media or politicians we do believe that we must take things into out own hands because no one is going to fix us the poverty and self doubt we must make those strides on our own and on our own timeMillner speaks from a sweet almost fictional place that I hope can be a dream for all young women of color It is from this ivory tower that Millner wrote this book not to la lucha orast San Jose and not to those cholos driving down Santa Clara in lowriders but to gain the respect of her pretentious father as well as her partners in academia at Harvard A coming of age memoir of a gifted young writer struggling with issues of cultural identity and social perception with a theme of the impact of gentrification running through a series of life Sleepless (Bird of Stone, experiencess in San Jose San Francisco London New York and South Africa and at places as diverse as Harvard a Muslim neighborhood a Catholic girls school and a lowriders cruising nightOne of the strengths of the work beyond the forementionedlouence is the author s ability to realistically present what she was truly feeling and believing in the past and draw us in to identify with her perspective and then later in the work to step back and have us reassess the same situation again. An xtraordinary young writer's search for authenticity among the various communities of identity black Latino techno utopian Ivy League activist competing for her allegiance ach with its distinct allures and perils California saved Caille Millner's parents or at least saved them from lives of poverty and oppression as black Americans growing up in racially benighted backwaters It provided them with a free ducation and opportunities for advancement into the solid middle class and ven beyond But it did its damage too and to the young Caille Millner as well growing up in a Latino neighborhood in San Jose relocating to affluent but uietly hostile white bread Silicon Valley suburbs being transformed out of all rec.

With the new insights and deeper understanding for the complex motiviations of others that devloping maturity and reflection can sometimes bring It is at core a reminder of how hard it is to grow up and the value of always being prepared for the possibility that Invisible (The Curse of Avalon empathy something that takes work to get right can lead to acknowledgement ofven greater suffering and pain for others in the world yet can at the same time help the lone individual make truly meaningful and positive connections This is an interesting book to read in conjunction with What We Are by Peter Nathaniel Malae The latter is a novel and set a bit later in time although there is some overlap Both however speak to growing up in the multicultural diversity of the Silicon Valley in the last uarter of the 20th century As this is my home I know many of the places well that Millner describes in the book and though my race gender and age make me very different from her I can nevertheless appreciate the power she has to describe people places and behaviors I recognize and know An Yummy Supper extremely curious book Started off as Ixpected and then completely changed course I d be curious to read other things by her She does have an unusual striking style My review is probably helpful than the star rating I immediately wanted to read The Golden Road sensing it would bare similarities to my xperiences as a person of color in predominantly white schools I am slightly disappointed by the memoir Having lived a similar xperience I felt certain aspects of the narrative were not fully xamined We learn most of the truths in the memoir because Millner tells them to us not because we re shown And because most of the reviews seem to be wriiten by people of color who didn t attend independent schools in the 90s or are white they don t understand the nuances in the same way One reviewer described Millner as a participant observer but that s also a way to suggest Millner hasn t been an active heroine in her own lifeMillner s story is a bildungsroman that is what makes it interesting What Millner captures most realistically is the social isolation confusion neuroticism and inauthenticity of middle class life in the 90s Millner does position herself as the participant observer as opposed to the full center of a self created universe Her own story of confusion is interesting to me than her trying to understand the struggle of others or ven the larger dialogue about race in the USMillner repeatedly refers to an ating disorder but seems reluctant to fully deconstruct her own illness and the commentary it makes on control and alienation Millner misses her opportunity to talk about an xperience solidly her own that speaks to her isolation the middle class values she interrogates and race and gender Likewise Millner dances around the role of depression in her teenage years We as readers miss out on a great deal with these omissions It s hard to write a memoir when there are still things one does not wish to lay bareI found her discussion of growing up in a Latino neighborhood highly Evolution, Me Other Freaks of Nature engaging as was her honest admission that she still harbors anger toward Latinos Here s what I wasxpecting from the memoir1 A deeper discussion of body politics 2 Millner understands her privilege in relation to others deprivation That s not the same as self reflection3 I don t know how she made it through high school or college without some comment about her hair That is a rite of passage for girls of color in private school4 A fuller discussion of sexual politics Millner speaks about how she has fallen in love yet again but never Lara and the Gray Mare (Hoofbeats: Lara and the Gray Mare, establishes why she has the pattern of falling in love soasily This could have been a great place to talk about seeking belonging through men and what it means when it s men you need to feel claimed Millner mentions that she is irritated by the Black community at Harvard s Trajan exclusion of Black gay men but doesn t talk about what she did tongage those who are Bunnys Book Club Goes to School exlcuded Millner also talks about a former friend Hans who sexually assaults her friend Millner s reaction is oddly distant 5 There are a couple of histrionic moments at thend of the novel which seem out of place 6 She doesn t use she paraphrases what is said and because she uses her own language The Peculiar Pig everyone sounds like her Maybe this is the problem I m trying to put Millner in a box have her speak directly to me My defense My ownxperience calls back to me alerting me to somewhat hollow notes I applaud Millner for telling her own uniue story it is a story tied to time and place Sometimes that produces a universal narrat. Ognition by boom times and then fleeing to a succession of utopian communities that in the Cherry Ingram end proved to be no less messy than the places she left behind The Golden Road is Caille Millner's frankly wonderful memoir of coming of age in a world in which the need for a stable identity and the need tombrace radical change all too often collide with conseuences at times hilarious and at times devastating Caille Millner is The Mermaids Shoes eually familiar with the high stress world of teenage strivers' gaming the system obsessed with college choice and the world nearby geographically but impossibly far away by any other measure of kids trapped in anntrenched underclass who don't have the first idea what that game ven is or how one.

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