I’ve been meaning to read Jacqueline Woodson for a very long time. Her memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, has been sitting on my shelf, waiting for me to get around to it, for years. I’m very grateful that this book was on sale, and that I decided to pick it up one day because of the cover and its low page count. I’d been vaguely interested for a while, had heard good things, but didn’t really have any expectations. Which just made it even better.
This book is incredibly easy to read, language-wise, and will hook you right away. It is the first book in a long while that has made it effortless to dive into another world, and difficult to re-surface from it.
It’s not a complex story – a woman sees a childhood friend on the train one day, and takes us with her as she dives into her memories. She slowly unwinds the stories of her three best friends, of her brother and father, and of her mother, mysteriously missing from her life at an early age. She also shows us the neighbourhood in which she lives – the poverty, the addiction, and the things its residents must do to survive. And yet it isn’t a depressing read. It’s dark, sure, but it is also light and full of love. It shows us how nothing lasts forever, but that the impact of the people and experiences in our pasts last well beyond their ends.
What I loved most about this book was the writing. At times it was near poetry, and there were so many lines I tabbed and went back to. It made the story flow effortlessly across the pages, and reading it was incredibly smooth.
I wasn’t sure while reading if this book was young adult or adult, and I think it straddles that line. It did deal with some dark subjects, but it didn’t go into detail. Some things it alluded to but didn’t state outright, allowing the reader to fill in the blanks with their own understanding. This is one of the best ways to engage young and adult readers in the same story because it allows each to fill in the blanks to their own level of experience. I understand why it’s not classified as young adult, because it is more mature than a lot of the young adult books I’ve read. That said, I don’t think it is too mature for youngish audiences. It’s about young girls, and their experiences are shared by thousands of teens, so saying they shouldn’t read about these topics is a little ridiculous. I would have read this in my mid to late teens (and it wouldn’t have been near as mature as a lot of the adult books I read at that time). So if you’re unsure as to whether you can read this if you’re a reader of Woodson’s books for young adult readers, I’d say you probably can, just be aware that it does deal with issues such as death, addiction and abuse.
This book is a very quick read – even with my current slow reading pace, this took me 24 hours to get through. There’s not a lot of text to a page, and there aren’t that many pages. But it’s a book that will stay with you, and that will give you plenty to think about long after you’ve finished it. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys character-focused books, beautiful turns of phrase and exploration of pain and love. It’s a wonderful book; I can’t praise it enough.
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. – Goodreads
Book Title: Another Brooklyn
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Published By: Amistad
Released: August 9, 2016
Date Read: January 28-29, 2018
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.86 (18,183 ratings)