Maggs's Reviews > The Street

The Street by Ann Petry
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Jul 10, 12

Read from June 24 to July 02, 2012

What can I say?? A very very powerful story. I know by the time this year (2012) ends, this book would have had an impact on me, more than any other book that I've read. As well as being a work of fiction, it also ‘acted’ like a thriller as I was sitting on the edge of my sofa trying to anticipate exactly how it would end. But Petry beat me to it!

Is this book about racism? As you get into this story you think so but as you read on you realise that racism is just one of the factors but it is not the main thing. I also cannot believe that in 1946 a black author would have been allowed to have black characters so blatently open of their feelings about white people. Nowadays, black authors still have to tread very carefully about how their handle their white characters. Only recently I read an article in the British Guardian about how there are a number of white authors creating stories about black people and their lives, and that the reason why this is allowed to happen is that if black writers were to write their stories, the stories would be too toxic for white readership. Yes,The Street is toxic but for anyone and everyone who cares to read between its lines. In fact The Street is the antithesis of The Help: you feel this is Aibleen's story when she goes home after work and faces the terror of her Street.

The take away message from this story is, even though it was written 60 years ago, although racism had an ugly bearing on black people’s lives, its big brother, economic deprivation, was always there, hand in hand leading the way.
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