I picked this up as a freebie from the publisher at the 2017 MLA convention. The main reason I picked it up was the raves that Woodson got from a panel about YA literature and race (which was literally the best panel I went to during that convention).
Incidentally, this book has also been chosen for One Book, One Philadelphia.
Another Brooklyn is about, well, death, life, poetry, and girlhood.
August is called back to Brooklyn for her father’s death. The story opens shortly after his funeral, and Woodson writes a wonderful scene of two siblings who are different but who love each other and can tease though the differences. On a subway ride, August sees a woman from her past and remembers her girlhood in Brooklyn.
Her girlhood is adjusting to New York after moving from Tennessee. Part of the story is adjusting a different environment and different type of life, once her father decides to convert. She also adjusts to the changes in her body and how the people, in particular the males, around her react to that. Her family is struggling financial at time when there is white flight in Brooklyn. Part of what we see is how poverty and harassment do effect people’s live. But that is the charm of the book, it is simple a section of life that does not get much coverage in the media.
The book isn’t really for very young children, for rape and sex are addressed. In some points, somewhat graphically, in others clearly. Additionally, Woodson’s style might not be to everyone’s taste. She writes in a prose poetry style. In fact, my edition sets the prose up in an almost poetry style. This means you will either love her style or it just will not be for you.
|Short vignettes out of the life of August as she adjusts to moving to Brooklyn from Tennessee. She tells of herself and her three friends as they grow up and grow apart.
I am not sure what I feel about this book. It is an interesting writing style. I liked the short vignette style but do not feel I got the whole tale of what was happening. I was glad I read this for book club as I had questions on how life turned out for some of the girls.
I will read more of her
This is an interesting book for me to review. I don't usually read poetry and this wasn't on my radar at all, but I ended up reading it for a Goodreads group and I'm so glad that I did.
BROWN GIRL DREAMING is a memoir written in verse. The poems take you through a story of a young girl growing up from being born in Ohio, to moving to South Carolina, and eventually moving to New York City. The thing that makes this story unique is the fact that she grew up in the '60's and 70's so her experiences were much different based on her location.
I felt a kinship to this young Jacqueline as I was reading her story. There were a lot of things that I could relate to, no matter that her and my experiences were happening about 15 years apart. But there are things all brown girls go through no matter the time. I chuckled when reading "hair night". Everyone knows about the sizzle of that hot comb. I was wistful when reading "stevie and me" and I think about the first book I read that had a person of color as the main character, and how it affected me (mine wasn't fiction though, it was a book about Wilma Rudolph for young readers). I also think about the stupid things I thought about doing that could have changed the course of my life forever if not for the fact that I had family who was involved and willing to stop me and make think. In Ms. Woodson's "graffiti", she had spray paint, but it really could have been anything. And of course there is the "fabric store" where every brown girl can sympathize with Jaqueline's grandmother for now wanting to go into the store where there employee follows all the black people around to make sure they don't steal anything. She chooses to go to the fabric store instead.
Then there were things that I only heard about. Like in "what everybody knows now", she talks about how the laws of changed but the attitudes of segregation have not in Greenville, South Carolina. It must have been so hard for her to go from New York to SC with those vastly different attitudes. The mixed messages that these kids had to adapt to is unreal, but I look at how some things haven't change. I think about the fear that I have for my own children especially my son as he gets older, and the stereotypes that he is going to have to still endure. The fear that I have that one day he may be stopped by police and never come home again.
Ultimately, BROWN GIRL DREAMING was beautifully written and touched me so deeply, I know that I will be thinking about the story and revisiting it for a long time. I am going to make sure that it's a book that my daughter reads very soon, and probably force my son to read it as well (I'll convince him that it's not just about an "icky" girl). I would recommend this book for everyone, it's poignant but funny at times, sad too. And I believe that everyone will be able to find some like experiences to her story as well.
This is a new author for me, but she's definitely on my radar now. I will be looking for more of her work.
I love Jacqueline Woodson's books. I've read quite a few of them now and I absolutely love them. Another Brooklyn is no exception. What pulled me in to this book the most was it's setting and writing.
I grew up near Brooklyn and I always love reading books that take place in New York because it brings me back to a time where I went to these places often. The way Woodson described the tall, red brick buildings brought back so many memories... and that's the main theme of this book: Memories. What we go through in life and how we react, how we remember those events and the impact it makes. Just... so many experiences that make us who we are. I love this book.
The writing was especially gorgeous! It's lyrical, almost as if you're reading spoken word poetry. I was transported to Brooklyn, my home. I could envision the streets, the people, the bodegas, everything. How I miss home.
The characters were interesting. Each living their own lives and storing their own memories. I loved reading about what they went through and felt for them whenever they had to deal with hardships because of discrimination. How people never wanted to give them a chance at life because these girls were black. It's a heartbreaking tale that racism once again plays a hand in. But the message where we must keep going even if everything seems hopeless, is what makes this book beautiful to me.
It's not a happy read. But it's an important one. It's a book I think everyone should read if only to understand what it means to live and to hope and to strive... even if memories remind us of how cruel the world can be.