Misshaq's Reviews > The Street

The Street by Ann Petry
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Dec 02, 10

bookshelves: african-american-lit
Read from November 20 to 27, 2010

I received this book as a gift from my grandmother. She wrote a small note in the insert of the book that says she read this book when she was 16 (she is now 78) because she grew up in Harlem near 116th street where this story takes place.

The Street is about a woman name Lutie Johnson-young,smart,strong willed and determined to rise above the poverty and racism that constrains her on a daily basis. After an unsuccessful youthful marriage, she becomes a single woman raising her son in Harlem 1950s.

Lutie is also extraordinarily beautiful. In her case, her beauty worked against her causing jealousy among the women (white and black alike) and unhealthy and dangerous obsessions among the men of all races. Lutie is unable to make ends meet and live the quality life that she sees her white counterparts living. The book has a very sad ending that I won't give away in case you want to read it.

The author, Ann Petry takes the reader right into the world she describes. You get an understanding of what life was like for black people back then, post World War II, how the men dealt with unemployment and what that did to their psyche's, how it impacted their women, who had to go out to work and how that in turned impacted the children and the communities. I found myself rooting for Lutie and wondering how she would fare in modern times. Great read!!
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