The book Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier is an interesting book. It is told as a autobiography. It is written by the man the book is about. The famous actor Sidney Poitier. It has been one of Oprah Winfrey’s Book of the Month. Whenever I have seen Mr. Poitier on television, or in his movies, he has always been a very compelling character. He seems to be very interesting, and knowledgeable. Even so, this book was neither of those things. His writing is rather bland, and goes on and on about basically the same subject for many pages.
In a nutshell, the book reveals a story about a very poor man from the Caribbean. Born dirt poor monetarily, but rich in family. He learns a great work ethic from his father, and mother. He also learns a lot of lessons on life from his father. He decides he wants a better life, and heads off to America. He does this during a very tenuous time in American history. A time when it is very difficult for blacks to become anything, let alone well known actor. He is set on a mission, that he never strays from. He lands in Florida, where some family lives, he does not like it. So he moves further north, but not far enough. He is in Atlanta, Georgia, were prejudice is rampant, at the time. So he decides, quite smartly, to continue much farther north, into New York. Here he hears it is not as prejudice against colored people. Even though, of course, he still has his hill to climb. As we all know he is very intelligent and a wonderful actor, so he gets involved in this activity. Only after many other jobs, including dish washer. He continues to tell his story until the end, where he is now an accomplished actor. All throughout he talks about his father, and mother, and the lessons he learned from them back in the slums of the Caribbean.
While this is a compelling book on how anyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and become whatever you wish in this life. I feel it was not really written very compellingly. It dragged on quite a bit, and probably could have been written in an even shorter text than is presented in this book. The story is great, the writing, not so much.
I was surprised as I expected this book to be very interesting. I often found myself thinking of skipping ahead, and sometimes even thinking about things other than what I was reading. This was a disappointment. I guess it just goes to show, we all can not do EVERYTHING. While Sidney Poitier is a great man and actor, I believe his writing leaves a lot to be desired.