Book Review: Another Brooklyn
About the book:
The acclaimed New York Times bestselling and National Book Award–winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming delivers her first adult novel in twenty years.
Running into a long-ago friend sets memory 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.
Like Louise Meriwether’s Daddy Was a Number Runner and Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina, Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn heartbreakingly illuminates the formative time when childhood gives way to adulthood—the promise and peril of growing up—and exquisitely renders a powerful, indelible, and fleeting friendship that united four young lives.
My review: 3 stars.
I listened to the author’s critically acclaimed memoir Brown Girl Dreaming over the winter during my morning commutes to work and really enjoyed it.
Another Brooklyn is fiction and has some basis in the author’s own life. I liked the look at 1970s Brooklyn through the lens of four girls and their dreams of their adult life. This coming of age story made me think of another tale set in the same place– A Tree Grows in Brooklyn– though a totally different time, scenario, and even style of writing. But it captures that moment in time when you’re a teenager and learning about the tough things in the world like race and money, while still having some innocence left.
It’s a short, unique book that I read in a weekend ( probably would have been in one sitting had I not had other things going on that weekend). The poetic quality of the writing helps to soften some of the more tough elements of the time and girls’ life, but no less powerful.
I think the only reason I gave this 3 stars is because I wanted more of the character development and inner thinking, which the lyrical writing of the book doesn’t quite allow. There also is a few shifts in chronology that were a bit confusing and unclear to me. If I hadn’t previously read Brown Girl Dreaming ( based on a rec from a blog reader friend), I may not have opted to read this title because it falls outside my normal reading interests, but it’s always good to break habits too!
I enjoyed this interview with the author about the book and its various themes.
As part of the TLC Book Tour of this book, I was provided an advanced copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.