recently, i picked up another brooklyn by jacqueline woodson. i had been meaning to read more of her work every since brown girl dreaming came on my radar. i don’t know what i expected from the book because i always think of her as a YA writer. i don’t mean that i mean that as a bad thing but (thematically) YA books tend to read a certain way across the board (and i like that about them) but sometimes i just can’t deal with the (all that teenage) angst.
I do think this reads like a YA book (theme-wise) but I think that is the power and importance of this book. I didn’t not find the angst distracting because it was not the center of the story. I would venture to say, the themes and experiences (portrayed in the another brookyln) are at once singular and universal.
“I lifted my head to look up into the changing leaves, thinking how at some point, we were all headed home. At some point, all of this, everything and everyone, became memory.”
― Jacqueline Woodson, Another Brooklyn
honestly, the stories reminded me of my own lives stories. not just the details of the plot line but also the poetry of growing up in a neighborhood of color. a predominantly black neighborhood but apart of a larger mesh of people. this experience is not a given ( or necessary) but it is a rich point of origin that i would like to hear more stories from. i would also like to hear more stories from those black girls who grew up in the opposite experience, too. looking back, i have always thought my experience was the norm but not all black neighborhoods (or 90s neighborhoods) are/were alike, this we know. i would love to see how other people treat black girlhood.
in another brooklyn, the experience of making, keeping and losing childhood friends is theme that especially spoke to me. for me, there was something magical about coming of age, in my shabby texas neighborhood, with my close girlhood friends and living through good and hard things together but not really understanding most things expect in retrospect. i have learned so much about myself from those years but only now am i beginning to dig into that wisdom and pain.
This book was like a beautiful interweaving of dreams and nightmares that reminded me my of own experiences but also gave me new insights to ponder. though woodson and i grew up in different times and different places (and even different religions) i related so much to the heart of this book. that commonality was/isheartbreaking but refreshing in many ways.
also, in many ways, (lol) this reads like a reading response but goodness, i am not going for a literary criticism award, so it will be okay.
i also read: lady cop makes trouble: which honestly was not as fun to read as the first book in the series.
and how painting hold me on the earth: which was one of my favorite books of the year (so far). i may muster up enough mojo to write a post on it because it really deserves a spotlight.