Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Book Review: Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: Another Brooklyn
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Publisher: Amistad
Pages: Hardcover; 192
Release Date: August 9, 2016
Source: TLC Book Tours
Genre: Historical Fiction

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Anyone looking for a gorgeously written look at the streets of 1970's Brooklyn.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes
Running into a long-ago friend sets memories from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything—until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant—a part of a future that belonged to them.

But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion.

This isn't just a novel, it's a love letter to girlhood. Specifically, it's a gorgeously crafted, prose style, love letter to growing up as a black girl in 1970's Brooklyn. Anyone who has read Jacqueline Woodson's writing, knows that she has a knack for transporting her readers straight to wherever her story is set. In this case, that's even truer than before. Through August's memories, through the snippets that she deigns to share with us, the reader is transported straight back to her childhood in a place that wasn't quite home. A place where the mean streets chewed people up, and spit them back out. Unfortunately, not always whole. You can feel this place, this time, pulsing on the page. Another Brooklyn is stunning, and even that compliment is an understatement.

August allows the reader to follow her back to a time and place where friendship was the only thing keeping her whole. Woodson manages to bring these four girls, and their separate home situations, to life in vivid color. I didn't think it was possible to accomplish that in such a short amount of pages. I was wrong. Each one of these girls is hiding their true self from the others, in the hope that it will allow them to escape into one another for a while. Hoping it will allow them to fade into a group that provides its own kind of family. As those true selves came to light, and I was treated to a glimpse at why these girls needed one another so deeply, my heart broke into pieces. The whole world, at least as they knew it, was against them. Their bravery, as thin a shield as it may have been, was commendable.

If I had one small complaint, it would be that this book simply isn't long enough. I know that seems trivial, since Woodson is clearly capable of weaving a perfect story in this small amount of pages. However I missed these girls after the story was over. I wanted to hear more about their pasts. To live their stories. To be able to fully mourn the ones who didn't make it. I'd have read 400 pages of this, and not even batted an eyelash. That's the kind of writer that Jacqueline Woodson is, and why you should pay attention.  So yes, in case it wasn't obvious, you should read this. It absolutely deserves your time.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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