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The Women of Brewster Place: A Novel in Seven Stories

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  14,761 Ratings  ·  445 Reviews
The women of Brewster Place are "hard-edged, soft-centered, brutally demanding, and easily pleased". In their stories, Gloria Naylor has created a community of women that has touched thousands of readers across the country. Now the basis for a November 1988, ABC-TV, three-hour movie, starring Oprah Winfrey.

Alternate Cover Edition of ISBN #014006690X
Paperback, 192 pages
Published 1983 by Penguin (first published 1982)
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Nidhi Singh
Sep 30, 2011 Nidhi Singh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

They came together, propositioned, bargained, and slowly worked out the consummation of their respective desires.

Naylor’s construction of Brewster Place’s beginnings seems like a plaintive evocation of a story that already lives in the crevices of a bygone past. Or the tale of someone who has lived their years and finally taken respite to talk of their unholy beginning that was marked for a cramped existence in this world. They gradually established their space and mellowed into an old age. Gra
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Shannon
Jan 18, 2014 Shannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, short-stories
This short story collection had all the makings of a book that I should not like. So I'm still trying to figure out how it ended up on my list of best short story collections.

The first story contained no less than ten clichés. And every story after that had something that I could see coming from pages away. I was literally thinking, please don't let this play out the way I think it's going to play out. And it always did.

I have never been, nor will I ever be, on the men-ain't-shit bandwagon. Ne
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Debbie
Feb 18, 2012 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Addition to review added at bottom.
The Women of Brewster Place is absolutely phenomenal!


Of course it's phenomenal because Gloria Naylor wrote it and her writing is nothing short of amazing. This is an absolutely perfect read for me. I didn't rush through it because I wanted to enjoy it. When I grow up, I want to write like Gloria. Her stories are enthralling. Her writing style is so figurative and spot on your mind immediately has these vivid images of who these characters are how they flow w
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Rincey
Aug 17, 2015 Rincey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh man, those last few stories though.
Mel Bossa
A candid and beautiful novel told in seven stories. A celebration of women's strengths and struggles as they love, reminisce, hope, envy, hate, deny, anger, and rejoice in the confines of the thin walls of Brewster Place.

There is a key scene in this novel when a woman loses her child and is cleansed and comforted by an older woman the morning of the baby's funeral. It was one of those poignant and lucid pieces of writing one remembers forever.

There's a raw, almost amateurish feel to this novel
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Lauren
The Women of Brewster Place is a powerful collection of intertwining stories surrounding the women who live in an urban housing development. Through seven lives we see decades of history - what brought them to the Place, coming north (the city isn't expressly named, but a few geographical clues in the text make the reader think it is New York) looking for opportunity, love, acceptance and social action.

Exploring the nature of relationships between friends:
Sometimes being a friend means master
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Ana
Oct 17, 2011 Ana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a nice little read, I see the T.V. movie did not stray too far from the book with the ecception of the ending. The book presented a good range of different kinds of women and how they interacted directly with one another. What I loved most about Gloria Naylor's writing of this book was her ability to inject humor in just the right places and timed just perfectly. I recommend this book for a nice weekend read.
kisha
Rating this book was hard for me because I had so many opinions (some even which contradict itself). I was leaning more towards 2 stars for several reasons. For me, this book was a little too simplistically written. I like more of a challenge. I didn't like that it was written in seven stories. I couln't tell at first rather they were supposed to be short stories or if they would tie together at the end. That was a bit confusing at first.

Also, it was very feminist. I'm not big, as Morrison says
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Nora
Read this one for school a couple years back. Goodness, this was one of the most depressing things I have ever read EVER. It follows the stories of several black women and their journeys toward self discovery. What I did like was our main character, Mattie Michaels. She was strong and loving. She took care of herself and her son all by herself at such a young age. Though she did make a pretty dumb decision in the beginning of the book, overall she was the voice of wisdom and reason for the rest ...more
Hazie
Sep 09, 2010 Hazie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Women of Brewster Place was an intersting novel to read. It represented the life of women today and then and the struggles many of them faced and still are facing. Gloria takes each woman and places them in the same home, Brewster Place. This place was not a pretty one; it was broken down, tiny, clustered, dirty, and dangerous. Brewster Place is last resort for many people and/or the only affordable place at the time. Each woman have a story. They all have a story to tell in where it explain ...more
Miss Fabularian
Feb 23, 2009 Miss Fabularian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how many times I have read this, and to be honest I do not care. Mother Naylor passed away on October 3 and I read this book again, crying all the way through it. To read more of this review click here
Bryan Alexander
I read The Women of Brewster Place for a very particular reason. My son, 17, was reading it for his high school English class, and was deeply affected by the book. He found it enormously depressing, like many of the books he's had to read. I'd known of Brewster Place for years, but hadn't read it, and, as a recovering English professor, decided to remedy that while helping my son think through the novel.

He was right. It is a massively sad novel.

The Women of Brewster Place is about what the title
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Gary
Sep 01, 2015 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults, teenagers
Recommended to Gary by: N/a
I bought this book in a second hand book shop and did not get around to reading it for several years - big mistake!
It is difficult to imagine this is a first novel, as Ms Naylor has written a story that is happy, sad, poignant, moving, disturbing and thought provoking. The characters feel very real and one can empathise with them all: even the nasty ones to an extent.
The protagonists live in a run down apartment block in a dead end street, cut off from the nicer parts of town by an enormous wall
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Stasia
Sep 25, 2012 Stasia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 05-short-stories
I really like that this is a novel told in seven short stories, each focused on a different women but with the overlap that comes of them all living and interacting in the same place. That structure, where related things come together piecemeal to form a whole, is really appealing to me. I also like the women of the story, who all have their own struggles with various form of oppression, violence, you name it but manage to stay distinct and interesting characters.

It's a little odd to me how basi
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Ernest
Sep 09, 2010 Ernest rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Women of Brewster Place is an touching collection of stories about six ladies that all deal with abandonment issues of either men, friends, family and abuse. For centuries women has always been secound class citizens to men and or less superior and in this novel Gloria Naylor depicts the issue at hand. Brewster Place is a run away home for women who want to escape from the harsh realities of home in hopes of a better more effecient life. In one of the six stories told in this novel Mattie is ...more
Danielle Franco-Malone
I seriously loved this book of interconnected short stories about women whose lives eventually bring them to the same low income housing development. One of the best books about race I've read. Sometimes I am disinclined to embrace books that are a series of chopped up short stories, as they can lack the continuing narrative that makes a book really compelling, but this was totally an exception. Each short story was so poignant and beautifully written, and I appreciated how the characters featur ...more
Nakia
Nov 11, 2015 Nakia rated it it was amazing
Wonderful writing. My third time reading it and it is just as memorable.

Check out my gushing review on my site a few years ago: Black Woman Writer Warrior Reading List
Chris Blocker
Aug 09, 2009 Chris Blocker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 10-star-reviews
A gorgeous novel with compelling characters and several interesting plot lines. I enjoyed most how Naylor effectively utilized symbols which could very easily have been cliche.
Tawanda
Sep 17, 2013 Tawanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I should stop saying I don't like short stories. Edwidge, Junot and now Gloria are making a liar out of me.
Sarah
Oct 26, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ooh SO good. the writing the voice the imagery and word choice. been a while since I tasted such powerful and vivid writing. pretty sobering and gut wrenching stories, though.
Sasha
The late Gloria Naylor’s debut novel is just So. Damn. Good. Following the lives of seven African-American women living in the same inner-city housing complex, their stories are stark and beautiful and raw and tender. Each woman’s tale reads like its own short story, however, they are all intricately woven throughout the novel. Naylor’s writing evokes vivid images of each woman and their lives, and leads you down a path you can’t come back from.
Ruthiella
Dec 13, 2016 Ruthiella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
The sub-title of this book is “A Novel in Seven Stories”. Each vignette tells how the featured female character(s) came to live at Brewster Place (I never worked out what city it was set it, maybe New York?), a run-down cul-de-sac in a large city. For me, the strongest chapter was the first, featuring Mattie Michael. And what this book lacks in plot and novelty, it makes up for in in characterization; I could see every woman described, how she spoke, what she looked like, how she carried herself ...more
Angelica
Oct 29, 2008 Angelica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor was an amazing novel. The concept of seven women from different walks of life all coming together in one neighborhood worked out to be a very good story.It is also amazing how Naylor ties every short story back to the rest.She shows off a very sophisticated writing style. She had characters like Mattie, who ended up in Brewster Place after she got pregnant and Ceil,who lived in Brewster all her life because she was raised by her grandmother.The author ...more
Idza
Feb 06, 2013 Idza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(2017 re-read review:
I went back to Gloria Naylor's books because she left us last year, and when I learnt about her death, I knew I had to revisit The Women Of Brewster Place. I gifted a friend the copy I read in my first year of uni and because sometimes the world works in mysterious, fantastic ways, I managed to pick up another copy of the book on the streets of Nairobi (The lesson here is: do not gift some of your favorite books to people.)

And onto the book itself: I mean, what else to say e
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Andrea
Feb 03, 2013 Andrea rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This novel is a bit of a blast from the(none too distant) past. It is so thorougly wedded to time and place(s) that reading it today feels slightly jarring in places. (Say what? A couple of gay women living together ignites outraged gossip and scandal?) But then, we're talking about the very early 80's, and things were different then, and even a hell of a lot worse in the post-war period of Mattie's tale.

With that in mind, these women's stories are tinged with a purplish hue (as in Alice Walker'
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Jamya Cannon
Dec 04, 2012 Jamya Cannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This book had a lot of moral values that were in between the lines of the story. There were several stories put together. One was of a woman named Mattie Johnson who had a bad son and was in jail. She had given him everything growing up and he took her love and kindness as a way of not listening to her. He took everything into consideration. Another story was of a woman named Cora who had many kids. As a child she had many dolls and wanted real babies so she decided to have one at a very yo ...more
Shayne
Apr 28, 2013 Shayne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves
My purpose for reading this book was to see how the book differed from the movie. I’m glad I decided to give it a try. The book is always better. I absolutely found myself unable to put this book down at times. I absolutely loved Naylor’s style of writing, it was amazing. She is a magician with words.

I loved all of the characters but Mattie was my favorite. I found myself laughing out loud when Sophie was digging through the trash and found the chocolate chip cookie boxes of “The Two”.

This book
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Brie
Nov 05, 2011 Brie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've thought long and hard about rating this book and I really can't. On one hand I loved it. The stories of the women who lived in Brewster Place were engrossing. Seeing these very different women and how their lives brought them to Brewster Place and then how their lives became intermingled while living there is interesting. I guess what throws me is the tragedy of it all. The struggle these women undergo, the hardships they are faced with - it was all too real. The closing of the book left me ...more
Lily
Jul 10, 2014 Lily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While a bit melodramatic at times, this was tragic and beautifully written. It reminded me a lot of Suzan Lori Parks' play that we read in African American Lit senior year in college. These women! They only have each other! Gloria Naylor created these makeshift families out of the tenants who live in these dilapidated buildings in the projects in the 70s. There was so much heartbreak and sadness and life in these characters. I was really moved by Cora Lee's story with her load of kids, and "The ...more
Kelsey Hanson
This book is pretty short, but it manages to cover a wide variety of social justice topics in a way that is brutal and heartwarming by turns. This book shows the plight that African-American women faced through seven different characters. Each story covers a different character, describing the love, loss and friendships that have led them to the decrepit urban apartment that is Brewster Place. The prose and symbolism is beautiful, the stories are powerful and you rapidly learn to love the charac ...more
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Gloria Naylor was an African-American novelist whose most popular work, The Women of Brewster Place, was made into a 1984 film starring Oprah Winfrey.

Naylor won the National Book Award for first fiction in 1983 for The Women of Brewster Place. Her subsequent novels included Linden Hills, Mama Day and Bailey's Cafe. In addition to her novels, Naylor wrote essays and screenplays, as well as the stag
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More about Gloria Naylor...

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“Time's passage through the memory is like molten glass that can be opaque or crystalize at any given moment at will: a thousand days are melted into one conversation, one glance, one hurt, and one hurt can be shattered and sprinkled over a thousand days. It is silent and elusive, refusing to be damned and dripped out day by day; it swirls through the mind while an entire lifetime can ride like foam on the deceptive, transparent waves and get sprayed onto the conciousness at ragged, unexpected intervals. ” 30 likes
“Time's passage through the memory is like molten glass that can be opaque or crystallize at any given moment at will: a thousand days are melted into one conversation, one glance, one hurt, and one hurt can be shattered and sprinkled over a thousand days.” 11 likes
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