cover image We Flew Over the Bridge: The Memoirs of Faith Ringgold

We Flew Over the Bridge: The Memoirs of Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold. Little Brown and Company, $29.45 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8212-2071-9

Contemporary artist and children's book author Ringgold (Tar Beach) chronicles her efforts as a black woman, born in 1930s Harlem, in fighting sexism and racism to make her mark in the world. Her socially conscious paintings (The Flag Is Bleeding, 1967; Die, 1967), story quilts (Who's Afraid of Aunt Jemima? 1983) and various sculptures, dolls, masks and live performances have all received favorable review attention. The artist has also enjoyed a long and varied teaching career. Unfortunately, this portrait is filled with contradictions that often undermine Ringgold's sincerity and prevent her from establishing an emotional bond with the reader. Though she lists her activist stance in support of rights and opportunities for African Americans and, more broadly, for all women, her narratives fail to convey the passion of her described convictions. Ringgold stresses the importance of ``family'' and ``values,'' but her unconventional marriage, living and child-rearing arrangements do not reflect her good intentions. The end result reads like the sanitized diary of a self-absorbed woman. (Nov.)