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Sweet Whispers, Brothe...
Virginia Hamilton
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Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush

3.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  578 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews

Why had he come to her, with his dark secrets from a long-ago past? What was the purpose of their strange, haunting journeys back into her own childhood? Was it to help Dab, her retarded older brother, wracked with mysterious pain who sometimes took more care and love than Tree had to give? Was it for her mother, Vy, who loved them the best she knew how, but wasn't home en

Paperback, 220 pages
Published October 1st 1983 by Avon Books (first published 1982)
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I'm glad our instructor briefed us on "the 30 minute read."
Mar 08, 2012 Heven rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I obtained a copy of Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush from Net Galley for review .
It took me a long time to get into this book as the language and dialect took a lot of getting used to as there was a lot of slang and street lingo that was used, which for me is what made it hard to get read. It’s one thing to speak the words, but a whole other thing when you are reading it.
Tree, an adolescent girl is the first one to notice Brother Rush. Although she has been described as intelligent in her own right
Nov 06, 2015 Joan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first class for Library School was Young Adult Literature. We read about 100 books in a month that summer. We were asked to focus on one author we liked and to write about that person. I chose Virginia Hamilton because I had never read such deep and moving literature for teens as I read on the pages of this book. Virginia Hamilton is one of the most honored writers for children. Sadly she died a few years ago or I'm sure we would have been hearing much more from her. Her characters are so rea ...more
Jan 26, 2016 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The topic of this book is right up my alley, so I don't know why it took me a little bit to get into.

The characters were well drawn, once I got into it. I was really intrigued by the glimpses of the past, disturbed and conflicted (just like Tree) about M'vy and the way she treated Dab (now and in the past), and I also really liked the Sylvester character.

The ghost aspect was handled with a light hand - very gentle and non spooky or scary.

The dialect was a tiny issue for me. Although I understan
Aug 05, 2014 Haley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lis-722
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Thomas Bell
Eh. Really weird book. The girl named Tree has to take care of her older brother, who gets really sick, while their mother leaves for months at a time to help other people in their homes. Never calls or drops by. And it turns out their mother got a boyfriend and a car and everything during one of her extended leaves. At least she always comes back in time, barely, to stock up on food.

AND it turns out that the mother had 4 brothers who all died and a life and a father of the kids who left her and
Vy first sees Brother Rush in a crowded street, and that's about the time she falls in love with him. But she has connections to Brother Rush she doesn't know about and his presence will disrupt her life as well as her mother's and her brother's.

This is one of those books that I really really wanted to like, but I just couldn't. I couldn't get past one of the major plot points...spoilers so skip to the next paragraph if you don't want to know...While I appreciated the dialect and the writing as
Jan 19, 2012 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 27, 2009 Leanna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 02, 2008 Leah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
[Review written by my younger self]
I turned the last page, expecting more and yet finding only the short bio on Virginia Hamilton. I felt like nothing had really been resolved. Hamilton's adolescent novel, Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush, left me very disappointed by the ending. However, in looking back I realize now how powerful and effective a writer Hamilton is, and that I was wrong in initially accusing her of the deus ex machina. A lot of my initial disappointment came from my lack of insight
Feb 10, 2013 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Virginia Hamilton had an uncanny ability to authentically express the imagination and terrors of childhood. She also--seemingly effortlessly--introduced African American culture and vernacular into her books in a way that is a little less rare today. This book won the Newbery Honor in 1983.

Tree lives in an apartment with her brother Dab, who has exceptional needs. Their mother, Vy, works away from home and comes when she can to bring money and food to her children. There is another central chara
Mar 18, 2010 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Virginia Hamilton’s book was interesting for me. It was not one that I melted into right away. It required more concentration and some dedication before I was hooked and pulled in. I think that perhaps language played a part with this. I once read a book that was translated from Portuguese, and it seemed to have the same effect. Hamilton’s use of dialect required a mental adjustment for me that I had to slide into every time I read. This was why I finally gave in by staying put for a couple of h ...more
Andy Shuping
Electronic copy provided by NetGalley

This is one of the most difficult reviews I've attempted to write, in part because I just couldn't get into the story at all in the beginning. I tried on three different occasions to read this story before finally finishing it on the third go round. And I feel like I need to read it one more time to fully understand what it was that I read.

I think part of the problem I had with getting into the story is that the dialect is just something that I’m so unused to
It took me a long time to get into this book because it has a not-so-interesting start, but I found it fairly compelling by the end. I could definitely see the mythologies and folklore that informed it, and the appearance of a specter that informs a past wrongdoing reminded me of Beloved. I don't know why I always forget that Hamilton wrote novels and didn't just retell folktales, but I tend to respect but not adore them when I do pick them up.

This book would be a very hard sell, I think, thoug
When Teresa first notices the handsome stranger out on the street, she falls hard for him. Several weeks later, he appears in her apartment, and it's only then that she knows that he's a ghost, Brother Rush. He takes Tree and her mentally challenged brother Dab on journeys into the past, and slowly Tree realizes in these glimpses of the past, Brother Rush may be telling her something about her own present.

Hamilton's writing is wonderfully lucid and descriptive, showing Tree's thoughts in a langu
Jan 10, 2012 HeavyReader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I have to read this book again.

I hadn't thought about this book in years and years and years. I just happened to see it again right now. I was looking at the page for Dinky Hckper Shoots Smack, and this book was listed on the side. As soon as I saw the title, I remembered it as a book I read repeatedly in middle school, maybe into high school. But I can't really remember the plot of it, even after reading the summary and some other reviews.

The weird thing is that as soon as I read the title, I s
Jan 13, 2015 Jill rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery-honor
Strange, odd story. I felt the same way about the other books I've read of Virginia Hamilton. The story jumped around quite a bit and was difficult to follow.

“Fear crawled up her legs. Cold flopped in her stomach like a dying fish. The fish froze solid, flaking scales of ice slivers that made her shiver violently. She was shaking so hard she thought the teeth would shake out of her mouth.”

“…she had carved out a narrow life for the two of them…She, taking care of Dab and doing homework. Going to
1983 Newbery Honor Book

When I first started this book, I wasn't sure what to make of it. But as the plot moved along, I found myself being drawn into the book and by the end liking it a bit more. The dialect of this book is very hard to read sometimes. I was glad to see from other reviews that I am not the only person who feels this way.

Tree (Theresa) begins to see Brother Rush after school and then realizes that he's a ghost. She is a bit preoccupied taking care of her older brother, Dab becau
Valerie Basham
Nov 15, 2015 Valerie Basham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Somewhat on the "fantasy" side, which I usually don't enjoy, but in this case I was so interested in the plot that I didn't notice. A great coming-of-age story.
Jan 11, 2014 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Virginia Hamilton tells a supernatural story of teenage "Tree" ( Teresa), her disabled brother and a ghost for an uncle... Brother Rush. Evocative language with a folk style makes this difficult to get into, but the story started falling into place after about 100 pages. The characterizations of the main characters are what pulled me in. Tree is a character any teen reader would like to know.
Mar 02, 2011 Lillian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brother Rush first appeared to Teresa on the street corner.

“The stone finest dude Tree had ever seen in her short life of going on 15 years.”

Later on she came to realize Brother Rush was a ghost.

All of her young fifteen year old life, Teresa had been taking care of her older retarded brother Dab, while their mother M’Vy spend weeks away from home to earn a living. Why has Teresa been chosen to see the ‘mystery? What secrets has Brother Rush come to reveal? Why did he pick this time in her life
This is one of the strangest books I've ever read, for an honor book.
Mar 08, 2015 Graham rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school, ya-children
Really great ending. First half was kind of slow, and the medical explanations felt shoehorned in.
Dec 15, 2011 Marika rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Teresa, or Tree for short, takes care of her older, mentally-challenged brother while her mother works. It's not a terrible life, but when the ghost of her uncle, Brother Rush, appears, his ability to show her the past begins to alter how she views the present. The catalyst for Tree's travels back in time is Brother Rush. However, Tree does not always travel bodily, instead viewing events in a detached manner or through the eyes of her younger self. Tree's methods of travel make this teen novel ...more
Review to come. Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush is a book with a solid story and foundation behind it. It's the first Virginia Hamilton book I've read in years, and while it took me a little longer to get through it than some of her works (House of Dies Drear, Justice and Her Brothers), I appreciated much of what it offered - offering the story of a girl who meets a ghost. It's the kind of story that says you have to study the past in order to learn what steps to take in the present.

Probably rating
Apr 13, 2014 Sheila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i loveeee this boook
Aug 06, 2015 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just kind of strange...
Aug 21, 2010 Theresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 722
This is a weird book. The subject matter is very difficult but handled in an honest way. It was personally very close to my own childhood experience and I really kind of wish I would have read this when I was around 14.

The imperfection of the characters it was makes them endearing, they are all heavily flawed but human and compassionate.

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't use this in a classroom lesson, but might reccommend it to individual students as independent reading.
Interesting story, well done.
Dec 07, 2008 Kayli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I need someone to read this book and discuss it with me, because I just can't wrap my head around it. I don't understand why there had to be a ghost in there, it really was not a ghost story. The rest made more sense. I don't know if I liked it. It was a different sort of read for me, but I it was good writing. At least, I was absorbed. Anyway, I'm baffled.
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