Author Randi Pink offers something of a disclaimer with her debut novel.
“It’s ok to squirm in your seat when you’re flipping the page on this book,” says Pink. “It’s ok to feel uncomfortable. It’s ok to put it down a minute and catch your breath.”
That’s because her young adult book is a piercing tale examining race among teens. It’s called “Into White” and comes out Tuesday.
Randi Pink is a Birmingham native. (Full disclosure: Pink works at WBHM). Her story follows Toya, an African-American student at a predominately white high school in Alabama. She prays to become white and it happens. Pink, who is black, talked about the book with WBHM’s Andrew Yeager.
The inspiration for the book:
“Maybe around 13, 14, I started to question whether it would be a little bit easier to not look the way I look. I’m not exactly sure if I specifically wanted to be in any specific category, but I do know that my mind started to wander. I went to a predominately white school…It’s a shameful thought. Even as a 13, 14-year-old child, I knew that that’s not something I should have been considering. So I buried that.”
Concerns over how it would be received:
“That is something that I had to push down and push to the back of my mind. How is this thing going to be received? How am I going to be perceived as a black woman writing this? I had to hush up those voices if I was going to write something authentic…I knew that I was opening myself up for a fair amount of criticism. And I’m ok with that.”
What she wants to book to do:
“What I do want is for the book to initiate a conversation about the shrapnel we’re dealing with in this post-forced segregation society. What are the real effects psychologically on families, not just black families, all of us? And if it starts some conversation about that, then I’m good.”
An extended interview with Randi Pink: