Another Brooklyn

Another Brooklyn

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 bel...

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Title:Another Brooklyn
Author:Jacqueline Woodson
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Another Brooklyn Reviews

  • Will Byrnes

    A forest grows in Bushwick. At 35, August, a worldly anthropologist, back in New York City to bury her father, recalls her growing up years. In Tennessee, when she was eight, her mother, was unable to cope with news of her brother’s death in Viet Nam. She per

    A forest grows in Bushwick. At 35, August, a worldly anthropologist, back in New York City to bury her father, recalls her growing up years. In Tennessee, when she was eight, her mother, was unable to cope with news of her brother’s death in Viet Nam. She persisted in talking to her lost, beloved sibling as if he were still present. When dad finally replants August and her little brother in the county of Kings, his home town, a new life sprouts for them. We see through August’s eyes what life was like for a young black girl in 1970s Brooklyn. From white flight to the drug epidemic, from DJ parties in the park to dangerous sorts, interested in drugs and young girls, from blackouts and looting to the influence of the Nation of Islam, from innocence to awakening sexuality, from finding friends to seeing the world slowly opening to reveal diverse paths, many dangers, and some ways through. A core element of the story is August coming to grips with her absent, Godot-like mother. The bulk of her story, as it might for most of us, centers on her friends.

    Time shifts back and forth. August is 8, then 15 then 11. Woodson uses front page touchstones to place us, and August, in time. Son of Sam, the blackout of 1977, Biafran starvelings, and popular entertainment.

    The dreams the girls nurture come face to face with the roots from which they grow. Possibilities appear. And impediments. Can their friendship survive the winds that push and pull them in diverse directions as they branch out?

    Memory is a refrain here, a blues chorus. Not sure I agree with Woodson’s take, or is it August‘s take on where tragedy lies, (

    ) but it is an interesting take nonetheless.

    - from NPR

    References to how other cultures deal with death pepper the narrative, a way of illuminating how August, her family and friends cope with loss. It is moving and effective. There is a lyricism, a musicality to Woodson’s writing, her language flowing and floating, rhythmic, poetic, reading like it was meant to be read aloud. Stunning lines wait around every bend, insightful, beautiful, polished to a fine gleam.

    Her books for young audiences have gained her considerable acclaim.

    won Woodson a 2014 National Book Award. She has received a lifetime achievement award for her YA writing. She won a Coretta Scott King award in 2001 for

    , and several Newbery awards. I would not be at all surprised to see this book as well up for a slew of awards. While

    is definitely intended for adult readers, her YA writing DNA manifests in the physical structure, the short sentences, with big space between them. And the size.

    is not a long book. On the one hand, you will rip through it in no time, the first time, a drive through. You may take a bit longer the second time, recognizing that this is a treat to be savored, and linger a while, maybe wander through on a bike. It will turn out the same, but you may notice more store windows as you pedal down these streets, or living things, a beech here, a maple there. City-like, there is a lot compressed into a small space. You might even stroll through for a third look-see, picking up some bits and pieces unseen on previous readings. Not sayin’ ya have to, but if you get the urge I would go with it.

    There are some tough life experiences on display here, but we know that August makes it through. An important element of the story is hope. Talent may not

    shine a light to a better future but sometimes it can. Intelligence may not always be seen, appreciated or nurtured. But sometimes it is. Hard times and personal loss are definitely painful, but maybe they are part of the compost of our lives. While the streets of her world may have been named for trees of a long gone sylvan past,

    , (the name Bushwick, by the way, comes from

    , which means “little town in the woods”), lives still grow there, tall and strong. August is a mighty oak. Her story of growing is lyrical, poetic, and moving.

    may not take much time to read, once, twice, or even more times. But as little time as it will take you to let this one in, it will plant a seed in your memory, another in your heart and grow there for a very long time.

    Publication date – 8/9/2016

    Review posted – 6/17/2016

    =============================

    Links to the author’s

    ,

    ,

    , and

    pages

    September 15, 2016 -

    is named to the long list for the

    . Congratulations!

    October 6, 2016 -

    is named to the short list for the

    - Brava!

    November 23, 2016 -

    is named to the NY Times list of

    of 2016

    November 25, 2017 - NY Times -

    - Woodson article remembering being fifteen and discovering the excitement of Manhattan.

  • Cheri

    “I know now that what is tragic isn’t the moment. It is the memory.”

    August returns to New York for her father’s funeral, which sends her mind spinning back to those years, so long ago.

    “The green of Tennessee faded quickly into the foreign world of Brooklyn, heat rising from cement. I thought of my mother often, lifting my hand to stroke my own check, imagining her beside me, explaining this newness, the fast pace of it, the impenetrable gray of it. When my brother cried, I shushed him, telling

    “I know now that what is tragic isn’t the moment. It is the memory.”

    August returns to New York for her father’s funeral, which sends her mind spinning back to those years, so long ago.

    “The green of Tennessee faded quickly into the foreign world of Brooklyn, heat rising from cement. I thought of my mother often, lifting my hand to stroke my own check, imagining her beside me, explaining this newness, the fast pace of it, the impenetrable gray of it. When my brother cried, I shushed him, telling him not to worry. She’s coming soon, I said, trying to echo her. She’s coming tomorrow. And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.”

    Life in 1970’s Brooklyn, seen again through her eyes, now 35, but her heart only knows them as the streets where she learned the value of friendship. Friends with girls, the ones her mother had always warned her against. Girls were not to be trusted, but August knew they were the ones who saw her. The ones she told about her first kiss, Sylvia, Angela and Gigi.

    Her father had his newfound faith, her brother, too. She danced in and out with her faith, at home it became her way, but out in the world with Gig, Sylvia and Angela, she was just a girl. A girl with boundaries, but a girl, still open to the world and all it had to offer.

    They dreamed together, ran together, listened together. Their dream worlds collided with the real world. Children being taken away by a strange woman from the apartment downstairs. Babies being made. Blackouts and lootings. A woman found dead on a winter’s rooftop. Like our memories, they travel through time, jumping here and there, and always there is music.

    I’ve only recently read “Brown Girl Dreaming” by Woodson, for which she won a National Book Award. It’s no wonder that her writing has garnered so many awards, recognitions, her voice as a writer is so magical it has the ability to transport you back in time and walk those streets with her. I could hear the music, see the groups of girls giggling, huddled together. She has a gift for writing that makes everything sound as if it were a poem you heard in a dream. Lovely, lyrical, but unlike a dream, it stays with you. And what a treat that is.

    “’Hope’ is the thing with feathers,” wrote Emily Dickinson, and this book is filled with hope. It is not hopeless, it sees more of what life offers than what life is missing, it never loses sight of the possibility of a better future, and gratitude for life, with all its pain and problems.

    Highly recommended.

  • Elyse Walters

    Audiobook.....

    I'm guessing 99.9% of audiobook listeners will instantly connect with the narrator's delivery.

    I was fully captivated by this story - BEAUTIFULLY written!!!!!!!

    .....makes me think of the relationship between YING and YANG. Neither Ying or Yang are absolute. It's also not static. It flows with time... which is how I see the context for this story.

    Beauty and tragedy are interchangeable throughout. Scene after scene is so easily remembered -- that we could almost rewind an invisib

    Audiobook.....

    I'm guessing 99.9% of audiobook listeners will instantly connect with the narrator's delivery.

    I was fully captivated by this story - BEAUTIFULLY written!!!!!!!

    .....makes me think of the relationship between YING and YANG. Neither Ying or Yang are absolute. It's also not static. It flows with time... which is how I see the context for this story.

    Beauty and tragedy are interchangeable throughout. Scene after scene is so easily remembered -- that we could almost rewind an invisible audiobook and play it back word for word.

    But between those words and scenes is mystery. And that's where we - the readers - comes into play. Our thoughts are respected - so brilliant the way the author writes to include readers interpretation. I found myself drawing conclusions about the different characters.

    How do we get from white Go-Go boots to 'kids' taking bets if the heroin street addicts are going to fall over?

    How do we begin to understand that the girl who is singing in choir is having a penis rubbed against her ass by the priest?

    And how the heck does 1 father protect his children from the dangers of the city? AND.....the confusion and loss from the mother they once remembered?

    One of the best 'slim books' I've read in a long time!!!!

  • Larry H

    Wow, this book was absolutely exquisite and powerfully emotional.

    "Sylvia, Angela, Gigi, August. We were four girls together, amazingly beautiful and terrifyingly alone."

    is a memory poem of sorts, a lamentation on lost youth and the intensity of adolescent friendships which burn with an intense heat for a period of time, only to leave behind the ashes of longing, anger, and regret.

    Seeing an old friend on the subway brings August face-to-face with her memories. She remembers gro

    Wow, this book was absolutely exquisite and powerfully emotional.

    "Sylvia, Angela, Gigi, August. We were four girls together, amazingly beautiful and terrifyingly alone."

    is a memory poem of sorts, a lamentation on lost youth and the intensity of adolescent friendships which burn with an intense heat for a period of time, only to leave behind the ashes of longing, anger, and regret.

    Seeing an old friend on the subway brings August face-to-face with her memories. She remembers growing up in Brooklyn in the 1970s after her father brought her and her younger brother from their home in Tennessee. She remembers longing for their troubled mother to join them, remembers how sheltered her father kept them for a while, not allowing them to leave their small apartment. But most of all she remembers watching Sylvia, Angela, and Gigi as they walked down the street, jumped rope, and appeared inseparable, possessing a bond August so desperately desired.

    "I was eleven, the idea of two identical digits in my age still new and spectacular and heartbreaking. The girls must have felt this. They must have known. Where had ten, nine, eight, and seven gone? And now the four of us were standing together for the first time. It must have felt like a beginning, an anchoring."

    August recalls how the four girls came from disparate ethnic and economic backgrounds yet dealt with the same things—fear of the junkies and the perverts and the creeps who stared at them, wanting them as they matured; wanting to be desired by their boyfriends yet fearful of giving them what they really wanted; and wanting desperately for their dreams to come true, whether they were of stardom, of money, or of a family unit made whole once more. She recounts the way her father struggled, only to find peace as a Muslim, a peace he tried to impart to his children.

    The book reflects the changing demographics of the Brooklyn August remembers, one which saw the white people fleeing for Manhattan and the suburbs as increasing numbers of people from all over the world, people with less and less money, moved in. The book also reflects the veterans returning from Vietnam with drug addiction, the murders of young African-American girls all over Brooklyn, the sighs of relief after the Son of Sam held New York in his grip.

    Jacqueline Woodson's prose is absolutely luminous in this book. I would read and re-read sentences and paragraphs, and find myself in awe of the language and imagery she used. She let me loose both in the story and in my own memories, as I remembered those friendships, that longing to fit in and be part of a group, to feel both powerful and helpless simultaneously.

    This is a short book that has a lot of weight and depth to it. I haven't ever read anything Woodson has written, but she truly dazzled me. I know I'm a little late to the party on this one, but I'm glad I showed up, because this is a book I would regret having missed.

    See all of my reviews at

    .

  • Diane S ☔

    Brown girl dreaming was the first book I read of Woodsons, also the first book I read in the poetry, prose style of writing in which that book was written. I found that book incredibly touching and though this book is written as a narrative, I found this one equally touching. This author has a way of expression that is recognizably hers, her words flow, almost like music on a page, beautiful music.

    Another young girl, named August, but this time she leaves the South with her father and younger b

    Brown girl dreaming was the first book I read of Woodsons, also the first book I read in the poetry, prose style of writing in which that book was written. I found that book incredibly touching and though this book is written as a narrative, I found this one equally touching. This author has a way of expression that is recognizably hers, her words flow, almost like music on a page, beautiful music.

    Another young girl, named August, but this time she leaves the South with her father and younger brother. They come. to Brooklyn, live in an apartment building where they struggle to adjust without their mother. For the longest time we are only treated to glimpses of exactly what happened to her. August, will be greatly aided by the friendship of three other girls. Together they will weather the pre teen years, the storm that is the teenage years and each will experience losses that will irrevocably change them in different ways. Young friendships, hopes and dreams, drugs, white flight, the Muslim religion, sexuality and its consequences are all explored in this short novel. August is a wonderful narrator, her joy, pain and anguish shine through her thoughts and words as she fights to understand the world she inhabits as a young black youth.

    Stirring, and wonderfully written, this is another unforgettable story written by this amazing author.

  • Angela M

    4.5 stars .

    I read Jacqueline Woodson's profile and want to tell her what her fifth grade teacher told her about a story she wrote, "This is really good" , but it's not enough. I want to tell her how gorgeous her writing is, how I saw Brooklyn in the 1970's - that place and time through her writing as if I was there , how I kept rereading sentences because I wanted to read them again .

    August returns to Brooklyn as an adult for her father's funeral and through flashbacks, reminiscences, a stream

    4.5 stars .

    I read Jacqueline Woodson's profile and want to tell her what her fifth grade teacher told her about a story she wrote, "This is really good" , but it's not enough. I want to tell her how gorgeous her writing is, how I saw Brooklyn in the 1970's - that place and time through her writing as if I was there , how I kept rereading sentences because I wanted to read them again .

    August returns to Brooklyn as an adult for her father's funeral and through flashbacks, reminiscences, a stream of consciousness in a way, somehow you know what it's like to be 9 or 10 or 11 or 12 year old black girl, then a teenager in Brooklyn, NY wondering where her mother is and why she didn't follow her and her father and her brother from Tennessee. There are the girl friends who held each other up as they faced their teen dilemmas each day , their individual burdens in their home life and worse against the sexual predators, drug addicts in the hallways and streets . At times she draws us back to the present as a worldly anthropologist studying how different cultures deal with death, to the places she's been.

    There is just so much here in this relatively short novel - the era, the place , what it meant to be a black girl growing up in this time and how one copes with individual loss , how memory shapes us. The greatest compliment I think I can give is to say that Woodson was born to write. I was so taken with her writing that I have already started to read Brown Girl Dreaming which has been waiting on my kindle for way too long .

    Thanks to Amistad/ HarperCollins and a Edelweiss.

  • Roxane

    This gorgeous novel is a poem. It is a love letter to black girlhood.

  • Brina

    Jacqueline Woodson is known for her award winning young adult and middle grade children's novels, most recently Brown Girl Dreaming. I saw many friends give high marks to her first adult novel, so I decided to read Another Brooklyn, a coming of age account of four girls growing up in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn during the 1970s.

    August has returned to Brooklyn after twenty years as an anthropologist as her father is dying of liver cancer. After his funeral, she takes the train back to his a

    Jacqueline Woodson is known for her award winning young adult and middle grade children's novels, most recently Brown Girl Dreaming. I saw many friends give high marks to her first adult novel, so I decided to read Another Brooklyn, a coming of age account of four girls growing up in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn during the 1970s.

    August has returned to Brooklyn after twenty years as an anthropologist as her father is dying of liver cancer. After his funeral, she takes the train back to his apartment and sees her girlhood friend Sylvia, and all of the memories come flooding back. August's father moves her and her brother from Sweetgrove, Tennessee to Brooklyn following her mother's suicide. August is eight, her brother is four, and her father has told them that their mother will be joining them "tomorrow or tomorrow or tomorrow". Even though her urn of ashes is in a prominent place in their apartment, August does not realize that her mother is actually dead. So begins her sheltered, nearly impoverished city life.

    Two years later, when her father finds G-D in the form of Islam and allows his children to explore the world, August finds her best brown girl friends in Angela, Gigi, and Sylvia. Angela and Gigi come from fractured families and Sylvia has overbearing parents who want her to go to law school. The four girls together navigate growing up in a city experiencing white flight. Society does not give these brown girls a chance to succeed and they are forced to make it out of Brooklyn on their own.

    Woodson's prose reads quickly like flowing poetry. You hardly know that you are reading a novel but a ballad about the African American city experience in the 1970s. A game of double Dutch or a DJ blasting music is a song, not mere words. The book is a mere 170 pages but contains many adult topics and is not appropriate for younger readers used to reading Woodson's beautiful novels.

    Another Brooklyn is a book about childhood memories, resilience, hope, and a winding path toward adulthood. In her post-script Woodson writes how she developed her distinct characters and how it was ironic who survived the ghetto and who did not. I read this novel in one sitting because it was a beautiful coming of age story. It was a moving account and I hope that Woodson chooses to write more adult novels.

  • Emily May

    2 1/2 stars. I liked parts of this, but after all the gushing praise the book has received, I was just kind of...

    .

    is a short book split between the present, in which August has returned to Brooklyn after her father's death, and the 1970s, in which she grew up. Meeting an old friend in the present triggers childhood m

    2 1/2 stars. I liked parts of this, but after all the gushing praise the book has received, I was just kind of...

    .

    is a short book split between the present, in which August has returned to Brooklyn after her father's death, and the 1970s, in which she grew up. Meeting an old friend in the present triggers childhood memories for August and we are taken back on a coming-of-age journey through friendship, loss and abuse.

    The narrative is

    . I actually found it very hard to be pulled into the story or care about the characters. I feel like fans of purple prose and cold narratives such as Cline's

    will enjoy this more. It's definitely not quite as bad as that, but it had a similar feel to it. I personally prefer simple words that craft a perfect scene over flowery words that don't really say much - storytelling, rather than just pretty writing.

    I guess I just don't feel like this book was as deep as it tried to be. It was hard to not roll my eyes at some of the sentence choices, especially in the dialogue:

    No one talks like that! If I told one of my friends that they looked "lost and beautiful" when we first met, they'd tell me that was because it was Freshers week at university and the VKs were buy one get one free.

    So I found it hard to believe in and take seriously. And it was all just so...

    . It read like emo poetry. Both in the girls' weirdass dialogue and in, oh noes, the

    . Dum dum dum.

    Look, I'm sorry, but it felt so silly. I write about feminism, sexism and rape culture all the time, in reviews, essays, and when I'm just pissed at some misogynist on youtube. But I just think it's all a bit ludicrous in this book. It seems like literally every shopkeeper, priest and adult male is trying to get their hands down the girls' pants. It kind of makes a mockery of a very serious issue.

    . Also, my favourite piece of writing is from the blurb - well done, blurb writer:

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