At Mama's Knee

5 CDs. 6 hrs. Recorded Bks. May 2017. ISBN 9781541402980. $29.99. digital download. MEMOIR
In her latest book, Ryan, a 30-year journalism veteran and respected White House correspondent, leaves the reader wanting more but at the same time wanting less. A follow-up to The Presidency in Black and White, this work weaves vignettes of mothers and their children with the single thread of how mothers have shaped the race conversation in America. She includes stories of the usual newsmakers—DC politicians and advisors, celebrities and public figures —with mothers who were pushed into the spotlight after their sons were killed in race-related events. As she jumps from tale to tale, Ryan sometimes repeats herself. The book would have been stronger if Ryan had shared more of her own powerful story: the influence of her late mother, the support of her extended family, and her efforts to balance raising two young girls as a single mom with her fast-paced, demanding job. Narrator Mia Ellis's smooth and soothing voice helps paint the pictures of all those featured, but some choppy edits and abrupt transitions hamper the rhythm of her narration.
VERDICT Entertaining and educational, but it's more fluff than substance.
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