top of page
  • Writer's picturewhatkatereadnext

REVIEW: Another Brooklyn By Jacqueline Woodson

I received Jacqueline Woodson's Another Brooklyn as part of the #diversitybookchain that I'm part of on Instagram, and I am so glad that I was given the opportunity to read this book. I absolutely fell in love with it. Another Brooklyn is a short novel (only 175 pages!) but every page, every word, sings with raw emotion, friendship, and poetic abandon.

The book follows the story of four girls, August, Sylvia, Angela, and Gigi, growing up in 1970s Brooklyn. We follow their friendships as they come-of-age as Black women in 1970s America, where the streets of Brooklyn hold danger around every street corner. We hear their youthful hopes and dreams, their worst fears and nightmares. We follow their journeys, both separately and together, in a story that reveals the heart-breaking facts of life and the solidarity of female friendship.

Another Brooklyn is a love letter to youth, a love letter to the dazzling futures the girls once dreamed of, a love letter to their strength and brilliance. Another Brooklyn is a break-up letter to the lives they once lead, to the girls they once surrounded themselves with, the dreams they once had. The book is written like a long poem, like snippets of memory that August retrospectively recalls upon. August remembers the very best and the very worst of those times, and through writing these snippets of memory as poetry shows the journey that lead her to where she is today. I loved how quickly this book can be digested, but also wanted to linger on every page and the images that are evoked by the language.

I particularly loved the group friendship between the four girls, I could feel the gravitational pull between them, how at the very core of their individualities was each other. Girlhood is in their DNA, and the dynamics within the group are a joy to read and learn about. By telling the stories of these Black girls growing up in 1970s Brooklyn, Woodson takes us to a very specific time and place within these women's lives, and how these experiences made them and changed them. The love shared between the girls is so raw and honest. I rooted for every single one of them, I felt everything with them, I hoped for their futures and wished away their pasts.

Because this book is so short, I don't want to spoil too much, so I'll stop here. This book truly speaks for itself with its mesmerising writing about female solidarity and friendship. I couldn't recommend this book more.

Here are a few of my favourite quotes from the novel, to give you a taste of the writing:

  • "When we had finally become friends, when the four of us trusted each other enough to let the world surrounding us into our words, we whispered secrets, pressed side by side by side or sitting cross-legged in our newly tight circle. We opened our mouths and let the stories that had burned nearly to ash in our bellies finally live outside of us." Pg. 56

  • "We had blades inside our knee-socks and were growing our nails long. We were learning to walk the Brooklyn streets as though we had always belonged to them - our voices loud, our laughter louder. But Brooklyn had longer nails and sharper blades. Any strung-out solider or ashy-kneed child could have told us this." Pg. 61

  • "We lived inside our backstories. The memory of a nightmare stitched down my brother's arm. My mother with a knife beneath her pillow. A white devil we could not see, already inside our bodies, slowly being digested. And finally, Sister Loretta, dressed like a wingless Flying Nun, swooping down to save us." Pg. 93

  • "On a different planet we could have been Lois Lane or Tarzan's Jane or Mary Tyler Moore or Marlo Thomas[...]but we were young. and we were on earth, heading home for Brooklyn." Pg. 119

  • "When you're fifteen, pain skips over reason, aims right for marrow." Pg. 149

Hopefully see you next time,

Kate x

374 views0 comments


bottom of page