Monday, January 16, 2017

Another Brooklyn

Another Brooklyn. Jacqueline Woodson. 2016. 177 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: For a long time, my mother wasn't dead yet.

Premise/plot: August, the heroine of the novel, reflects soulfully about growing up in the seventies in Brooklyn. Much of the plot revolves around her friendship with three other girls: Sylvia, Gigi, and Angela. Her father and younger brother are Muslim, but, August, well, her beliefs tend to float where the wind takes her. And her faith isn't the only thing a bit on the fluid side.

My thoughts: Dare I say this one is an odd book? What I mean is that it isn't necessarily a straight-forward book with a reliable narrator. The narrator seems to have the reliability of a dream. Just when things seem to be taking shape and going somewhere--things shift and change and you'll find yourself having to start again with the whole making sense of the world. Is August lost or found? When will August come to terms and make peace with who she is and what she wants and what she needs?

Personally, I did not care for this one as much as I'd hoped. I don't blame the book. Not really. I keep wanting YA books to be clean enough for me to read and actually enjoy. This one was just a bit too graphic for me. I'm not saying it's too graphic for other readers--for teen readers or adults--just for myself.

What kept me reading was the fact that it was at times quite lovely.
"That year, every song was telling some part of our story." (69)
"Where would we be now if we had known there was a melody to our madness? Because even though Sylvia, Angela, Gigi and I came together like a jazz improv--half notes tentatively moving toward one another until the ensemble found its footing and the music felt like it had always been playing--we didn't have jazz to know this was who we were. We had the Top 40 music of the 1970s trying to tell our story. It never quite figured us out." (2) 

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Kailana said...

I meant to get to this last year and didn't. Maybe this year!

Cee Arr @ Dora Reads said...

I think this one's actually marketed as an adult novel, which might be why you found it too graphic for YA