The Color of Character


Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
490 Pages
Reviewed on 12/09/2015
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Author Biography

The Color of Character is the first book by author Glen Shuld, who took 10 years to collect his stories and memories to build this historical fiction novel.

Glen Shuld is a graduate of Northwestern University and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management where he earned his master's degree. After growing up in a progressive home in Evanston, Illinois, he went on to work in marketing management at a Fortune 500 company for many years, and taught as an adjunct professor for the University of Chicago's Graham School of Continuing Education.

Currently, Shuld resides with his life-partner in Chicago, and is an owner of a commercial real estate investment company. He actively supports a number of social justice organizations, as well as animal and environmental protection agencies.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Fiza Pathan for Readers' Favorite

The Color of Character by accomplished author Glen Shuld is a gem in the history of a certain part of the 20th century, one that everyone around the world has come to recognize as very important in the integration process of schools in the 1960s and 1970s, especially after the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Like the author and his family in The Color of Character, we as global citizens wish for equality and brotherhood among people of all races. However, Glen Shuld brings up in his memoir many different ways we have dealt with the topic of racial discrimination and how exactly do we treat another person, be he or she from any section of society or race. The genius that lies behind the book is the fact that there are no races, religions, castes, and other denominations in the world; in the end there are only two types of people we come across in life - the good and the bad.

The Color of Character is a great book which intellectually discusses topics dominant in the USA of 1970, like racism, integration in schools, relationships, the Vietnam war, the psychedelic era, the Beatles and, most importantly, what is the character and conduct below the ‘color’ which lies within us. The characters in this book are unforgettable, especially Grandma Mae, Grandfather Leo, Ken, Mr. Wendell and Melva. There are a lot of sociological and contemporary history themes and topics to chew upon in this book with a bit of morality which doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Descriptions are crisp and beautiful to read. This book is a shining example of excellent literature required in our troubled times these days, which makes it a winner. This book deserves an award.

Gisela Dixon

The Color of Character by Glen Shuld is a thought-provoking social commentary on the issue of race relations in America. Written as a fictionalized account of life from the perspective of a young gay, Jewish man in the '60s and during the Civil movement era and after, the novel touches all aspects of racial and religious prejudice ingrained in society in many ways. The book starts off with the famous speech by Martin Luther King during which a young Glen Feigman is inspired and hopeful of an ideal, perfect future of racial harmony. However, his experiences as he is growing up in Chicago, his experiences in school, and with family and neighbors all show him otherwise: namely, that prejudice and racial discrimination is an unfortunate reality and needs a lot of work to overcome. His story, along with the social commentary, forms the plot of this book.

The Color of Character by Glen Shuld is written in an extremely straightforward, conversational, direct style which makes it an easy read. The most unique thing about The Color of Character is the fact that the author obviously cares about the race and discrimination issue, whether it is discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, religion, nationality, or race. I appreciated that and found the writing to be genuine and sincere. It is an honest attempt to discuss race and for this reason, definitely a good read for anyone.

Kim Anisi

We live in a world in which it often is difficult to fully let others see who you really are. The Color of Character by Glen Shuld is a novel that deals with this difficulty, and with the problems that arise when you are different from the majority. Glen, the main character, tells the reader about his life from childhood in the '70s to events in 2011. During his coming of age, he has to learn more about himself, his sexuality, the people around him, and the racial issues of that time. But is life in 2011 really so different from life in his younger years? Have people become more accepting of people of a different race, a different belief, a different sexuality?

While I am not like the main character of The Color of Character - I am neither male, nor Jewish, and also can't identify with some other aspects - I can relate to the experiences he's gone through. And I think many people who are different from the majority in one way or the other will find something to relate to in this novel. It takes a while to get to know Glen, each chapter reveals new bits and pieces of information about him, but there is also plenty of information about recent history and social issues. I found it rather interesting how everything was woven together in a very readable and entertaining story that not only made you forget time, but also made you think.

Tracy Slowiak

In a true to life, coming of age story that follows lead character, Glen Feigman, a man who was raised in a progressive, liberal, and Jewish family, as he becomes an adult and begins to question much of what he had held to be true, readers will have the opportunity to also critically think about and question their own beliefs about race and race relations in our country. The Color of Character by author Glen Shuld uses real life historical events to inform its readers, as well as Glen Feigman, the main character, in regards to Glen's changing beliefs about the causes and consequences of racial tensions and prejudices that many in our country deal with every day.

The Color of Character is a very interesting, creative and thought provoking read. Readers will be engaged from the very beginning with Glen's innocent hopes that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "I have a dream" speech will truly change the way all in our country look at racial issues to when, as an adult gay man, Glen sees things quite a bit differently when he witnesses some very violent interactions in the city he lives in, Chicago, all related to race relations. The author's use of historical documentation from a time span of over three decades is useful in explaining how and why his characters think and act as they do. Readers who enjoy historical fiction will certainly like The Color of Character. I can certainly endorse this very interesting read, and hope that author Glen Shuld will consider writing another such novel in the very near future!

Chris Fischer

Wow! Just, "Wow!" How's that for a review? Well, that's absolutely what I thought when I finished reading The Color of Character by debut author Glen Shuld. Following the story of our protagonist, Glen Feigman, a young Jewish man raised in a socially conscious home in which civil rights and social justice were always a concern, Glen truly believed that Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech would be the start of positive change for the country. Fast forward to the year 2011, when Glen has come out as a gay man and is living in Chicago. He and his mother see some of the violent attacks occurring with what seems like regularity, and it makes him truly question what he had once accepted as truth regarding race, character and acceptance.

This book was fantastic. Fan. Tas. Tic. Author Glen Shuld has done a great job in writing an entertaining story that deals with some very bleak and disheartening subject matter, that of race relations, tensions and divides in this country, and the story of one man's struggle to come to terms with this very subject matter. His story really grabbed me right from the start, and kept me reading through to the end. With references to racial tensions and prejudices from the 1970s through to the 2000s, the story provides a great historical framework for the protagonist's concerns. Any reader who loves to read a book that has a great story as well as a great deal of history should absolutely read The Color of Character. I'm pleased to recommend this book and am looking forward to reading more from author Glen Shuld in the future!