The Color of Water

Ruth keeps her past a secret to her kids . How is James affected by this ?

Why does James want to know so bad about his mothers past ? And how does not knowing affect him ? 

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James really struggles to find his identity. James is biracial and faces many challenges to find out who he is. Ruth keeps her past a secret and refuses to make distinctions about race, hence the title of the book. Consequently James often follows the wrong path in his quest for self-discovery and belonging.