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Another Brooklyn

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fiction (2016)
Running into a long-ago friend sets memories from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything—until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant—a part of a future that belonged to them.

But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion.

192 pages, Hardcover

First published August 9, 2016

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About the author

Jacqueline Woodson

52 books8,528 followers
I used to say I’d be a teacher or a lawyer or a hairdresser when I grew up but even as I said these things, I knew what made me happiest was writing.

I wrote on everything and everywhere. I remember my uncle catching me writing my name in graffiti on the side of a building. (It was not pretty for me when my mother found out.) I wrote on paper bags and my shoes and denim binders. I chalked stories across sidewalks and penciled tiny tales in notebook margins. I loved and still love watching words flower into sentences and sentences blossom into stories.

I also told a lot of stories as a child. Not “Once upon a time” stories but basically, outright lies. I loved lying and getting away with it! There was something about telling the lie-story and seeing your friends’ eyes grow wide with wonder. Of course I got in trouble for lying but I didn’t stop until fifth grade.

That year, I wrote a story and my teacher said “This is really good.” Before that I had written a poem about Martin Luther King that was, I guess, so good no one believed I wrote it. After lots of brouhaha, it was believed finally that I had indeed penned the poem which went on to win me a Scrabble game and local acclaim. So by the time the story rolled around and the words “This is really good” came out of the otherwise down-turned lips of my fifth grade teacher, I was well on my way to understanding that a lie on the page was a whole different animal — one that won you prizes and got surly teachers to smile. A lie on the page meant lots of independent time to create your stories and the freedom to sit hunched over the pages of your notebook without people thinking you were strange.

Lots and lots of books later, I am still surprised when I walk into a bookstore and see my name on a book’s binder. Sometimes, when I’m sitting at my desk for long hours and nothing’s coming to me, I remember my fifth grade teacher, the way her eyes lit up when she said “This is really good.” The way, I — the skinny girl in the back of the classroom who was always getting into trouble for talking or missed homework assignments — sat up a little straighter, folded my hands on the desks, smiled and began to believe in me.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,109 reviews
Profile Image for Roxane.
Author 120 books160k followers
June 5, 2016
This gorgeous novel is a poem. It is a love letter to black girlhood.
Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,311 reviews120k followers
June 25, 2020
Each week, sister Sonja said, Start at the beginning, her dark fingers bending around a small black notebook, pen poised. Many moments passed before I opened my mouth to speak. Each week, I began with the words I was waiting for my mother…
A forest grows in Bushwick. At 35, August, a worldly anthropologist, back in New York City to bury her father, recalls her growing up years. In Tennessee, when she was eight, her mother, was unable to cope with news of her brother’s death in Viet Nam. She persisted in talking to her lost, beloved sibling as if he were still present. When dad finally replants August and her little brother in the county of Kings, his home town, a new life sprouts for them. We see through August’s eyes what life was like for a young black girl in 1970s Brooklyn. From white flight to the drug epidemic, from DJ parties in the park to dangerous sorts, interested in drugs and young girls, from blackouts and looting to the influence of the Nation of Islam, from innocence to awakening sexuality, from finding friends to seeing the world slowly opening to reveal diverse paths, many dangers, and some ways through. A core element of the story is August coming to grips with her absent, Godot-like mother. The bulk of her story, as it might for most of us, centers on her friends.
My brother had the faith my father brought him to, and for a long time, I had Sylvia, Angela, and Gigi, the four of us sharing the weight of growing up Girl in Brooklyn, as though it was a bag of stones we passed among ourselves saying, Here. Help me carry this.
Time shifts back and forth. August is 8, then 15 then 11. Woodson uses front page touchstones to place us, and August, in time. Son of Sam, the blackout of 1977, Biafran starvelings, and popular entertainment.
On a different planet, we could have been Lois Lane or Jane or Mary Tyler Moore or Marlo Thomas. We could have thrown our hats up, twirled and smiled. We could have made it after all. We watched the shows. We knew the songs. We sang along when Mary was big-eyed and awed by Minneapolis. We dreamed with Marlo of someday hitting the big time. We took off with the Flying Nun.
The dreams the girls nurture come face to face with the roots from which they grow. Possibilities appear. And impediments. Can their friendship survive the winds that push and pull them in diverse directions as they branch out?
Maybe this is how it happened for everyone—adults promising us their own failed futures, I was bright enough to teach, my father said, even as my dream of stepping into Sylvia’s skin included one day being a lawyer. Angela’s mom had draped the dream of dancing over her. And Gigi, able to imitate every one of us, could step inside anyone she wanted to be, close her eyes, and be gone. Close her eyes and be anywhere.
Memory is a refrain here, a blues chorus. Not sure I agree with Woodson’s take, or is it August‘s take on where tragedy lies, (I know now that what is tragic isn’t the moment. It’s the memory.) but it is an interesting take nonetheless.

Jacqueline Woodson - from NPR

References to how other cultures deal with death pepper the narrative, a way of illuminating how August, her family and friends cope with loss. It is moving and effective. There is a lyricism, a musicality to Woodson’s writing, her language flowing and floating, rhythmic, poetic, reading like it was meant to be read aloud. Stunning lines wait around every bend, insightful, beautiful, polished to a fine gleam.

Her books for young audiences have gained her considerable acclaim. Brown Girl Dreaming won Woodson a 2014 National Book Award. She has received a lifetime achievement award for her YA writing. She won a Coretta Scott King award in 2001 for Miracle’s Boys, and several Newbery awards. I would not be at all surprised to see this book as well up for a slew of awards. While Another Brooklyn is definitely intended for adult readers, her YA writing DNA manifests in the physical structure, the short sentences, with big space between them. And the size. Another Brooklyn is not a long book. On the one hand, you will rip through it in no time, the first time, a drive through. You may take a bit longer the second time, recognizing that this is a treat to be savored, and linger a while, maybe wander through on a bike. It will turn out the same, but you may notice more store windows as you pedal down these streets, or living things, a beech here, a maple there. City-like, there is a lot compressed into a small space. You might even stroll through for a third look-see, picking up some bits and pieces unseen on previous readings. Not sayin’ ya have to, but if you get the urge I would go with it.

There are some tough life experiences on display here, but we know that August makes it through. An important element of the story is hope. Talent may not always shine a light to a better future but sometimes it can. Intelligence may not always be seen, appreciated or nurtured. But sometimes it is. Hard times and personal loss are definitely painful, but maybe they are part of the compost of our lives. While the streets of her world may have been named for trees of a long gone sylvan past, Linden, Palmetto, Evergreen…Woodbine, (the name Bushwick, by the way, comes from Boswijck, which means “little town in the woods”), lives still grow there, tall and strong. August is a mighty oak. Her story of growing is lyrical, poetic, and moving. Another Brooklyn may not take much time to read, once, twice, or even more times. But as little time as it will take you to let this one in, it will plant a seed in your memory, another in your heart and grow there for a very long time.

Publication date – 8/9/2016

Review first posted – 6/17/2016

=============================EXTRA STUFF

Links to the author’s personal, Twitter, FB, and Tumblr pages

September 15, 2016 - Another Brooklyn is named to the long list for the National Book Award. Congratulations!

October 6, 2016 - Another Brooklyn is named to the short list for the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction - Brava!

November 23, 2016 - Another Brooklyn is named to the NY Times list of 100 Notable Books of 2016

November 25, 2017 - NY Times - Love to Love You, Baby - Woodson article remembering being fifteen and discovering the excitement of Manhattan.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
September 29, 2016
I knew I was lost inside the world, watching it and trying to understand why too often I felt like I was standing just beyond the frame—of everything.

2 1/2 stars. I liked parts of this, but after all the gushing praise the book has received, I was just kind of... underwhelmed.

Another Brooklyn is a short book split between the present, in which August has returned to Brooklyn after her father's death, and the 1970s, in which she grew up. Meeting an old friend in the present triggers childhood memories for August and we are taken back on a coming-of-age journey through friendship, loss and abuse.
Sylvia, Angela, Gigi, August. We were four girls together, amazingly beautiful and terrifyingly alone.

The narrative is flowery, distant and fragmented. I actually found it very hard to be pulled into the story or care about the characters. I feel like fans of purple prose and cold narratives such as Cline's The Girls will enjoy this more. It's definitely not quite as bad as that, but it had a similar feel to it. I personally prefer simple words that craft a perfect scene over flowery words that don't really say much - storytelling, rather than just pretty writing.

I guess I just don't feel like this book was as deep as it tried to be. It was hard to not roll my eyes at some of the sentence choices, especially in the dialogue:
What did you see in me? I’d ask years later. Who did you see standing there?
You looked lost, Gigi whispered. Lost and beautiful.
And hungry, Angela added.

No one talks like that! If I told one of my friends that they looked "lost and beautiful" when we first met, they'd tell me that was because it was Freshers week at university and the VKs were buy one get one free.

So I found it hard to believe in and take seriously. And it was all just so... melodramatic. It read like emo poetry. Both in the girls' weirdass dialogue and in, oh noes, the terror of the male gaze. Dum dum dum.

Look, I'm sorry, but it felt so silly. I write about feminism, sexism and rape culture all the time, in reviews, essays, and when I'm just pissed at some misogynist on youtube. But I just think it's all a bit ludicrous in this book. It seems like literally every shopkeeper, priest and adult male is trying to get their hands down the girls' pants. It kind of makes a mockery of a very serious issue.

Not for me. Also, my favourite piece of writing is from the blurb - well done, blurb writer:
But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion.

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Profile Image for Angela M .
1,309 reviews2,191 followers
July 10, 2016
4.5 stars .

I read Jacqueline Woodson's profile and want to tell her what her fifth grade teacher told her about a story she wrote, "This is really good" , but it's not enough. I want to tell her how gorgeous her writing is, how I saw Brooklyn in the 1970's - that place and time through her writing as if I was there , how I kept rereading sentences because I wanted to read them again .

August returns to Brooklyn as an adult for her father's funeral and through flashbacks, reminiscences, a stream of consciousness in a way, somehow you know what it's like to be 9 or 10 or 11 or 12 year old black girl, then a teenager in Brooklyn, NY wondering where her mother is and why she didn't follow her and her father and her brother from Tennessee. There are the girl friends who held each other up as they faced their teen dilemmas each day , their individual burdens in their home life and worse against the sexual predators, drug addicts in the hallways and streets . At times she draws us back to the present as a worldly anthropologist studying how different cultures deal with death, to the places she's been.

There is just so much here in this relatively short novel - the era, the place , what it meant to be a black girl growing up in this time and how one copes with individual loss , how memory shapes us. The greatest compliment I think I can give is to say that Woodson was born to write. I was so taken with her writing that I have already started to read Brown Girl Dreaming which has been waiting on my kindle for way too long .

Thanks to Amistad/ HarperCollins and a Edelweiss.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews626 followers
August 6, 2017
I'm guessing 99.9% of audiobook listeners will instantly connect with the narrator's delivery.

I was fully captivated by this story - BEAUTIFULLY written!!!!!!!
.....makes me think of the relationship between YING and YANG. Neither Ying or Yang are absolute. It's also not static. It flows with time... which is how I see the context for this story.

Beauty and tragedy are interchangeable throughout. Scene after scene is so easily remembered -- that we could almost rewind an invisible audiobook and play it back word for word.

But between those words and scenes is mystery. And that's where we - the readers - comes into play. Our thoughts are respected - so brilliant the way the author writes to include readers interpretation. I found myself drawing conclusions about the different characters.

How do we get from white Go-Go boots to 'kids' taking bets if the heroin street addicts are going to fall over?

How do we begin to understand that the girl who is singing in choir is having a penis rubbed against her ass by the priest?

And how the heck does 1 father protect his children from the dangers of the city? AND.....the confusion and loss from the mother they once remembered?

One of the best 'slim books' I've read in a long time!!!!
Profile Image for Brina.
933 reviews4 followers
August 30, 2016
Jacqueline Woodson is known for her award winning young adult and middle grade children's novels, most recently Brown Girl Dreaming. I saw many friends give high marks to her first adult novel, so I decided to read Another Brooklyn, a coming of age account of four girls growing up in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn during the 1970s.

August has returned to Brooklyn after twenty years as an anthropologist as her father is dying of liver cancer. After his funeral, she takes the train back to his apartment and sees her girlhood friend Sylvia, and all of the memories come flooding back. August's father moves her and her brother from Sweetgrove, Tennessee to Brooklyn following her mother's suicide. August is eight, her brother is four, and her father has told them that their mother will be joining them "tomorrow or tomorrow or tomorrow". Even though her urn of ashes is in a prominent place in their apartment, August does not realize that her mother is actually dead. So begins her sheltered, nearly impoverished city life.

Two years later, when her father finds G-D in the form of Islam and allows his children to explore the world, August finds her best brown girl friends in Angela, Gigi, and Sylvia. Angela and Gigi come from fractured families and Sylvia has overbearing parents who want her to go to law school. The four girls together navigate growing up in a city experiencing white flight. Society does not give these brown girls a chance to succeed and they are forced to make it out of Brooklyn on their own.

Woodson's prose reads quickly like flowing poetry. You hardly know that you are reading a novel but a ballad about the African American city experience in the 1970s. A game of double Dutch or a DJ blasting music is a song, not mere words. The book is a mere 170 pages but contains many adult topics and is not appropriate for younger readers used to reading Woodson's beautiful novels.

Another Brooklyn is a book about childhood memories, resilience, hope, and a winding path toward adulthood. In her post-script Woodson writes how she developed her distinct characters and how it was ironic who survived the ghetto and who did not. I read this novel in one sitting because it was a beautiful coming of age story. It was a moving account and I hope that Woodson chooses to write more adult novels.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,514 reviews29.5k followers
December 28, 2016
Wow, this book was absolutely exquisite and powerfully emotional.

"Sylvia, Angela, Gigi, August. We were four girls together, amazingly beautiful and terrifyingly alone."

Another Brooklyn is a memory poem of sorts, a lamentation on lost youth and the intensity of adolescent friendships which burn with an intense heat for a period of time, only to leave behind the ashes of longing, anger, and regret.

Seeing an old friend on the subway brings August face-to-face with her memories. She remembers growing up in Brooklyn in the 1970s after her father brought her and her younger brother from their home in Tennessee. She remembers longing for their troubled mother to join them, remembers how sheltered her father kept them for a while, not allowing them to leave their small apartment. But most of all she remembers watching Sylvia, Angela, and Gigi as they walked down the street, jumped rope, and appeared inseparable, possessing a bond August so desperately desired.

"I was eleven, the idea of two identical digits in my age still new and spectacular and heartbreaking. The girls must have felt this. They must have known. Where had ten, nine, eight, and seven gone? And now the four of us were standing together for the first time. It must have felt like a beginning, an anchoring."

August recalls how the four girls came from disparate ethnic and economic backgrounds yet dealt with the same things—fear of the junkies and the perverts and the creeps who stared at them, wanting them as they matured; wanting to be desired by their boyfriends yet fearful of giving them what they really wanted; and wanting desperately for their dreams to come true, whether they were of stardom, of money, or of a family unit made whole once more. She recounts the way her father struggled, only to find peace as a Muslim, a peace he tried to impart to his children.

The book reflects the changing demographics of the Brooklyn August remembers, one which saw the white people fleeing for Manhattan and the suburbs as increasing numbers of people from all over the world, people with less and less money, moved in. The book also reflects the veterans returning from Vietnam with drug addiction, the murders of young African-American girls all over Brooklyn, the sighs of relief after the Son of Sam held New York in his grip.

Jacqueline Woodson's prose is absolutely luminous in this book. I would read and re-read sentences and paragraphs, and find myself in awe of the language and imagery she used. She let me loose both in the story and in my own memories, as I remembered those friendships, that longing to fit in and be part of a group, to feel both powerful and helpless simultaneously.

This is a short book that has a lot of weight and depth to it. I haven't ever read anything Woodson has written, but she truly dazzled me. I know I'm a little late to the party on this one, but I'm glad I showed up, because this is a book I would regret having missed.

See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,802 reviews2,385 followers
August 15, 2016

“I know now that what is tragic isn’t the moment. It is the memory.”

August returns to New York for her father’s funeral, which sends her mind spinning back to those years, so long ago.

“The green of Tennessee faded quickly into the foreign world of Brooklyn, heat rising from cement. I thought of my mother often, lifting my hand to stroke my own check, imagining her beside me, explaining this newness, the fast pace of it, the impenetrable gray of it. When my brother cried, I shushed him, telling him not to worry. She’s coming soon, I said, trying to echo her. She’s coming tomorrow. And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.”

Life in 1970’s Brooklyn, seen again through her eyes, now 35, but her heart only knows them as the streets where she learned the value of friendship. Friends with girls, the ones her mother had always warned her against. Girls were not to be trusted, but August knew they were the ones who saw her. The ones she told about her first kiss, Sylvia, Angela and Gigi.

Her father had his newfound faith, her brother, too. She danced in and out with her faith, at home it became her way, but out in the world with Gig, Sylvia and Angela, she was just a girl. A girl with boundaries, but a girl, still open to the world and all it had to offer.

They dreamed together, ran together, listened together. Their dream worlds collided with the real world. Children being taken away by a strange woman from the apartment downstairs. Babies being made. Blackouts and lootings. A woman found dead on a winter’s rooftop. Like our memories, they travel through time, jumping here and there, and always there is music.

I’ve only recently read “Brown Girl Dreaming” by Woodson, for which she won a National Book Award. It’s no wonder that her writing has garnered so many awards, recognitions, her voice as a writer is so magical it has the ability to transport you back in time and walk those streets with her. I could hear the music, see the groups of girls giggling, huddled together. She has a gift for writing that makes everything sound as if it were a poem you heard in a dream. Lovely, lyrical, but unlike a dream, it stays with you. And what a treat that is.

“’Hope’ is the thing with feathers,” wrote Emily Dickinson, and this book is filled with hope. It is not hopeless, it sees more of what life offers than what life is missing, it never loses sight of the possibility of a better future, and gratitude for life, with all its pain and problems.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,783 reviews14.2k followers
May 5, 2016
Brown girl dreaming was the first book I read of Woodsons, also the first book I read in the poetry, prose style of writing in which that book was written. I found that book incredibly touching and though this book is written as a narrative, I found this one equally touching. This author has a way of expression that is recognizably hers, her words flow, almost like music on a page, beautiful music.

Another young girl, named August, but this time she leaves the South with her father and younger brother. They come. to Brooklyn, live in an apartment building where they struggle to adjust without their mother. For the longest time we are only treated to glimpses of exactly what happened to her. August, will be greatly aided by the friendship of three other girls. Together they will weather the pre teen years, the storm that is the teenage years and each will experience losses that will irrevocably change them in different ways. Young friendships, hopes and dreams, drugs, white flight, the Muslim religion, sexuality and its consequences are all explored in this short novel. August is a wonderful narrator, her joy, pain and anguish shine through her thoughts and words as she fights to understand the world she inhabits as a young black youth.

Stirring, and wonderfully written, this is another unforgettable story written by this amazing author.
Profile Image for emma.
1,871 reviews54.8k followers
September 24, 2021
Man, I love a short book.

Anyone can write a 300 page (or god forbid, longer) book and make me care about characters.

Okay, no they can't. I rarely do. But still, that's all the time in the world. That's no excuse.

But making me care about them in UNDER 200??? Now that's a feat.

And okay, making me care about them at all is, too. Let's just say it's a double feat and move on.

I've read four Jacqueline Woodson novels, all of them have been under 200 pages, and all of them have included characters I care about.

It's hard for a short book to be perfect, but hers come pretty damn close!!

Bottom line: Short books for life!


nothing says slump like taking 4 days to finish a book that's under 200 pages even though you're enjoying it!!


review to come / 4 stars

tbr review

is there anything better than finding a perfect brand new DISCOUNTED copy of an acclaimed book you've had on your radar in a cool bookstore???
Profile Image for Karen.
594 reviews1,196 followers
September 20, 2016
A woman named August returns home to Brooklyn for her fathers funeral and reflects on her family's life together with her parents and brother in Tennessee and then later on growing up as a black child/teenager in a poor part of Brooklyn after the death of her mother. August also tells us much about growing up with three other girlfriends and what life was like for all of them in the 70's. Nicely written!
Profile Image for Julie .
4,080 reviews59k followers
November 3, 2016
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson is a 2016 Amistad publication.

Extraordinary, emotional, touching and bittersweet.

Because this author has mostly written within the young adult and middle grade genres, she has never popped up on my radar. But, when I noticed this book was a National Book Award finalist, and was creating a little buzz, I decided to take a closer look.

As I have mentioned several times before, the ‘coming of age’ trope is not one of my favorites, and this book obviously falls into that category, but the time period the book was set in, piqued my interest, and was ultimately the deciding factor for me.

Having no idea, really, what to expect, I was instantly drawn in by August’s first person narrative, and before I knew it, I had spent my entire morning reading this novel, unable to tear myself away from it.

When August, a world traveled anthropologist, returns to Brooklyn to care for her father who is dying of liver cancer, she has a brief run in with a childhood friend, which sparks a flood memories, which is at the center of his poignant coming of age tale.

In the 1973, August’s mother slips into a form of mental illness, becoming a danger to her children, prompting her father to move them away from Tennessee to Brooklyn, New York.

Every day August tells her brother their mother will join them tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow….

In the meantime, her father takes comfort from his new religious conversion to Islam as did her brother, but August finds strength and consolation from her new friends, Angela, Gigi, and Sylvia.

This story chronicles August’s life in her Bushwick area of Brooklyn in the 1970’s. The white population is fleeing the area, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rican residents were moving in steadily, the drug problems and the extreme dangers for young girls who are always at risk for some form of sexual assault, sets the stage for what turns out to be a day to day battle, for August and her friends, who are determined to avoid the pitfalls and traps all around them to obtain their goals, dreams, and desires.

August experiences all the pains and triumphs of growing up, from first loves, tragedies, betrayals, heartbreak, teaching her important life lessons along the way, and eventually becomes the catalyst that finally breaks loose long denied truths, shaping her adult life in ways she may not have realized.

This is a poignant tale, superbly written, capturing the essence of the times, the angst of heartbreak, the troublesome aspects of mental illness, and the importance of family and friends. The sad tale, which triggers a memory within August, finally allowing her to come to terms with the realities of her life, despite her vehement denial of events that brought her family to Brooklyn in the first place.

I wish books had soundtracks the same way movies do, because this book has a superb 1970's soundtrack,which I could almost hear running in the background, which was certainly fun to think back on. August’s discussion regarding memory is initially harmful for her, painful to her, turns into a comfort in time. It’s thought provoking the way the mind moves in to protect us at times, preserving those memories for a time when we’re able to cope with them better.

Although this story is often emotional, distressing, and sad, it is also, moving and stirring, but the loudest voice I heard, the deepest message I took away from this lovely, and beautifully written novel, was hope.

Overall, I am super impressed with this author and her writing skills, and can certainly understand why this novel has garnered so much praise.

4 stars

Profile Image for PorshaJo.
467 reviews672 followers
October 18, 2016
I read Jacqueline Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming and thought this book, Another Brooklyn, had a number of similarities. Both seem to be told from this dreamy like state with a touch of poetry to them. At times, a stream of consciousness. I enjoyed them both.

Another Brooklyn tells the story of coming of age in Brooklyn, NY during a specific time. The memories of a young girl growing up and learning as she is growing. Learning about life, Brooklyn, good and evil, and disappointment. I always find any stories about NY to be very magical. To hear the details of how people grew up in this concrete jungle. How they survived and how their strength grew as they did.

I listened to this one via audio and enjoyed the narration. I wished more people would read/listen to this authors work. Each is a gem. I look forward to more from Ms. Woodson.
Profile Image for PattyMacDotComma.
1,488 reviews843 followers
June 13, 2021
“Everywhere we looked, we saw the people trying to dream themselves out. As though there was someplace other than this place. As though there was another Brooklyn.”

What a delicious, haunting little book. It’s not fat physically, but it’s sure full of food for thought. Although I have touched on some of the main points of the story (the challenges August faces), this isn't plot-driven, and most is shown to us early.

August and her younger brother have just buried their father, and she looks back twenty years and tells their story. She has had counselling from a therapist, who tells her everyone has suffered tragedies, as if that will ease August’s suffering. (Aren't most of us guilty of that?)

We share her experience as a young girl growing up without a mother. That’s the first challenge.

She keeps assuring her little brother that their mother “is coming, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” , but when she asks her father what’s in the jar, he tells her, with increasing exasperation “You know what’s in that jar.”

She was a carefree, little black girl (the second challenge) in SweetGrove, Tennessee, but her father moved the children to Brooklyn (the third challenge). She reminisces about the first time she saw her three best friends from her window.
“The three of them walked down our block, dressed in halter tops and shorts, arms linked together, heads thrown back, laughing. I watched until they disappeared, wondering who they were, how they . . . became.”
When she has happy times with her three best friends -
“the four of us sharing the weight of growing up Girl in Brooklyn as though it was a bag of stones we passed among ourselves saying ‘Here. Help me carry this.”
They are slightly different colours and from slightly different social strata (the fourth and fifth challenges) and have to learn to navigate each other’s families. They look different, come from different tribes (my words) – braids, cornrows, long wavy hair, part-Chinese, reddish hair, darker or lighter skin.

She and her brother are tight friends, sharing a room, holding hands for comfort. They spend time looking out their window at the people passing by, wondering how and what they will become when they grow up.

As the girls develop curves, they also learn to navigate the increasing attention of males, both the predatory, creepy older ones and the same-age, urgently horny younger ones whom they want to satisfy. (Now we're up to her sixth challenge.)
“‘The pastor at my church comes up behind me sometimes when I’m singing in choir,’ Gigi said. ‘I can feel his thing on my back. Don’t sing in your church choir. Or if you sing in it, go to another place while you sing.’ And she whispered how she was the queen of other places. ‘Close my eyes and boom, I’m gone. I learned it from my mother,’ she told us. ‘So many days you look in that woman’s eyes and she isn’t even there.’”
This is an experience that would be familiar to most girls and women I know – unwanted physical contact – and the advice that many have probably followed. Kind of like “don’t ask, don’t tell”. I remember hearing English wives were counselled to “Lie back and think of England,” to ensure English population growth.
“Summer came again and men and boys were everywhere, feathery hands on our backsides in crowds, eyes falling too long at our chests, whispers into our ears as we passed strangers. Promises – of things they could do to us, with us, for us.”
Then a cheerleader captain was badly beaten by her family.
“’She got a baby inside her,’ her brother finally admitted. ‘She got sent back Down South.’

“We pulled our boyfriends’ fingers from inside of us, pushed them away, buttoned our blouses. We knew Down South. Everyone had one. Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico. The threat of a place we could end back up in to be raised by a crusted-over single auntie or strict grandmother.”
Their father forms a serious liaison with a Muslim woman after joining the Nation of Islam, (peacefully and happily). He brings home Sister Loretta, whom they like very much and who tells them they are eating poison, and shows them the right way to live. (And I think this is thing number 7, more than enough challenges for one person.)

So she’s motherless, young, coloured, either more or less poor than her friends, doesn’t quite belong to any tribe, and is becoming a teenager full of hormones. And her father’s new faith means it’s goodbye bacon and ham sandwiches at home. Then comes the counselling, mentioned earlier.
“Sister Sonja was a thin woman, her brown face all angles beneath a black hijab. So this is who the therapist became to me – the woman with the hijab, fingers tapered, dark eyes questioning. by then, maybe it was too late.”
In this short book, we even get to see a bit of what happened to the girls when they grew up. It is just wonderful. There were a few repetitive phrases, which jarred ever so slightly, but by golly, what a fine piece of work this is.

Thanks to NetGalley and OneWorld Publications for the review copy from which I've quoted, and I truly hope the quotes don't change in the final copy. I love the writing!
Profile Image for Diane.
1,081 reviews2,720 followers
October 9, 2016
This book is gorgeously written, so much that it felt more like poetry than a novel.

In Another Brooklyn Jacqueline Woodson has created a beautiful wisp of a story, one built on memories and the gaps in between. We meet August, a woman who thinks back on her childhood in 1970s Brooklyn after bumping into an old friend. August's father has just died, and she finds herself thinking of the past. August remembers the group of girls she admired and eventually became friends with. She remembers being afraid of men, and how they leered at young girls.

She remembers how her father wanted to start a new life with religion. And she remembers her mother, or thinks she does.

I read this book in almost one sitting, it was so beautiful and haunting and graceful. My only complaint is that I wish there had been more of it. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes beautiful writing and stories about the power of memories.

Favorite Quotes
"If we had had jazz, would we have survived differently? If we had known our story was a blues with a refrain running through it, would we have lifted our heads, said to each other, This is memory again and again until the living made sense? Where would we be now if we had known there was a melody to our madness?"

"Who hasn't walked through a life of small tragedies? Sister Sonja often asked me, as though to understand the depth and breadth of human suffering would be enough to pull me outside of my own."

"I had been home a month watching my father die. Death didn't frighten me. Not now. Not anymore. But Brooklyn felt like a stone in my throat."

"My mother had not believed in friendships among women. She said women weren't to be trusted. Keep your arm out, she said. And keep women a whole other hand away from the farthest tips of your fingernails. She told me to keep my nails long."

"The sadness and strangeness I felt was deeper than any feeling I'd ever known. I was eleven, the idea of two identical digits in my age still new and spectacular and heartbreaking. The girls must have felt this. They must have known. Where had ten, nine, eight, and seven gone?"

"We had blades inside our kneesocks 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 even louder."

"I refused to cover my head in public. Refused to walk through the world as a messenger of Allah's teachings, ate hot dogs and bacon when I was with my girls. My Muslim beliefs lived just left of my heart. I was leaving space for something more promising. Let her be who she's supposed to become, my father said. Yeah, I said. Let me be myself."

"We were not poor but we lived on the edge of poverty."

"Orba (feminine), the Latin word for orphaned, parentless, childless, widowed. There was a time when I believed there was loss that could not be defined, that language had not caught up to death's enormity. But it has. orbus, orba, orbum, orbi, orbae, orborum, orbo, orbis ..."

"I lifted my head to look up into the changing leaves, thinking how at some point, we were all headed home. At some point, all of this, everything and everyone, became memory."
Profile Image for Ron.
394 reviews97 followers
April 20, 2017
This book felt so very real to me. It read like a memoir of a past remembered, the looking back on a childhood and the memories of a place that was and was not home. As a child, I felt like that after a move. Lost but also excited. I identified here, but my place was not the same. Augusts’ place is Brooklyn, such a long move with her family from Tennessee, and in more than miles alone.

It is from the present that August looks back in time to that “other” Brooklyn of the 1970’s, the Borough where her father grew up and returns to live with his two children, seemingly leaving their mother behind. She is only 8 holding the hand of her brother of 4. Daily they look down from the apartment window onto this new, foreign street with fascination and fear.
”I thought of my mother often… When my brother cried, I shushed him, telling him not to worry. She’s coming soon, I said, trying to echo her. She’s coming tomorrow. And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow".
And it is on this street that August first meets Sylvia, Gigi and Angela. Friends who will become inseparable, for a time.
”It’ll always be the four of us, right, y’all? Gigi asked. Of course, we said. You know that’s right, we said. We said, Always.
She will step out from beyond that apartment window into these friendships – and also the hardships that come in life, ones that are often hardest on the young.

This is a small book, but I purposely slowed my reading. I stopped. Backtracked. It’s because the writing is remarkable, such that every word and every paragraph counted. Not one was wasted, and so many of them produced feeling.
Profile Image for Lindsay L.
679 reviews1,325 followers
February 6, 2017
4 stars! I devoured this book in one sitting! This is the first book I have read by Jacqueline Woodson and it definitely won't be my last - I absolutely loved her writing style - very unique! I was completely absorbed in the journey through adolescence of the four main girls - August, Sylvia, Angela and Gigi. I felt their emotions as if I was there with them in the stories August narrated. Though quite dark at times, I found myself rooting for the girls to stick together and persevere. A quick, captivating read!
Profile Image for Marilyn C..
290 reviews
September 13, 2016
An incredibly moving book written with beautiful, lyrical prose, Another Brooklyn follows four friends as they come of age in the 1970's. You cannot help but see yourself, or even one of your own friends, in the lives of these girls as they deal with some of life's hardest lessons; loss of a loved one, first love, insecurities about growing up, and eventually growing apart. Jacqueline Woodson's words are honest and almost painful to read at times, but written with a poetic style that flows so smoothly that before you know it you have finished reading this book. I enjoyed this story so much; I could have started it all over again. This is the first book I have read from Woodson, and a very quick read. I am now looking forward to Brown Girl Dreaming.
Profile Image for Dianne.
567 reviews936 followers
February 6, 2017
No one else writes like Jacqueline Woodson. A dreamy hybrid of poetry and literature - if you admired "Brown Girl Dreaming," this is for you. Hauntingly lovely.
Profile Image for Michael.
1,094 reviews1,541 followers
March 3, 2017
This is a lyrical account of a black girl’s disruptive transplantation from Tennessee to New York at age 11 in the 1970s and her struggle to find her way. August’s father brought them back to his origins after her mother lost her mind when her brother died in Vietnam. She can’t understand why her mother was left behind. The blooming, buzzing life in the street out the window calls to her, but her father only slowly trusts her to go out and play with the other kids. She finds her way into a life-affirming friendship with a group of three street-savvy girls. They teach her the ropes, not only the magic of jump-rope, but the art of negotiating the pervasive drug addicts and lechers all about their multicultural community. We experience her growing through the dangers of puberty and each of her friends taking a different path toward adulthood, one a lawyer, one a dancer, and one just mysteriously gone. August’s father introduces her to the Muslim faith and the warm and protective community he has discovered, but that doesn’t keep her from the allure of boys and impromptu rave gatherings in the nearby park. We know early that August is safely on the other side of adulthood, recalling her youth from the lens of her current profession as an anthropologist who studies cultural practices surrounding death. The little snatches from different cultures interposed in the narrative makes for a fascinating contrast to the action in the foreground. The effect is to make me feel the precariousness of life and wonderful varieties and commonalities of human experience, which the author captures so poetically in this homage to her own blossoming in the neighborhoods of Brooklyn. I hungered for a bit more in the ways of wisdom about growing up, more detail on life’s challenges, and more depth in her relationship with her father. Plenty of my GR friends are eloquent in their award of high-star ratings. I guess my response is closer to 3.5 stars.
Profile Image for Britany.
992 reviews434 followers
May 29, 2017
I devoured and loved Brown Girl Dreaming, so I knew I would have to read whatever Ms. Woodson published next. For me, this one didn't land quite so well.

Told in tiny paragraphs almost vignettes that were hard to place together as the novel progressed. Snippets of time and experiences shared with the reader developed this book almost circumventing the point. I think for me, this was over my head and I just didn't "get it". It was a great effort, but didn't quite work for me. The writing was fluid and you can clearly admit that Woodson has an writing style unlike any other author and for that I applaud her.
Profile Image for Maxwell.
1,174 reviews8,402 followers
March 3, 2018
While beautifully written and told (the audiobook narrator does a phenomenal job), Another Brooklyn lacked the emotional intensity I expected. August, our main character, recounts her story—that of a young girl coming of age in 1970's Brooklyn. The novel reads like a memory, and memory is a major theme of August's life. From the memories she makes with her best girl friends Angela, Sylvia and Gigi, to the memories of her old life in Tennessee which she forces herself to forget. It has some beautiful moments and sentences but overall didn't do much for me and sadly isn't a story I think I'll remember much of.
Profile Image for Mariah Roze.
1,029 reviews934 followers
February 7, 2017
I love this author! She does the best children's books and covers uncomfortable topics really well! was really excited to read this book by her! I had it on hold forever and finally got it :)

Again, she did a fabulous job covering more uncomfortable topics. This time the topics were young girls being exposed to growing up without parents, lack of education, seeing others on drugs, being talked into sexual acts and more. She did this all smoothly within only 177 pages. Shes amazing!

My goal is to read every book by this author :)
Profile Image for Carmen.
2,067 reviews1,906 followers
December 18, 2017
We had blades inside our kneesocks 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 even louder.

But Brooklyn had longer nails and sharper blades. Any strung-out soldier or ashy-kneed, hungry child could have told us this.

So. This wasn't bad. But I didn't enjoy Brown Girl Dreaming and I didn't enjoy this. I just don't like Woodson's writing style, in which a short novel is just like a long poem. It's not my schtick.

This novel is about August, growing up poor but not starving in Brooklyn. Her dad converts to Islam, she has three very close best friends. It's the 1970s.

Woodson covers the things usually covered by books like this - men trying to rape or sexually exploit teenaged girls, a female's entrance into puberty drawing unwanted attention and adult men trying to molest them, at age 13 or 12, sometimes raping them. Drugs in the neighborhood, prostitutes in the neighborhood.

This book strongly reminded me of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, even though that is a different time period and about a white girl instead of a black one. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my all-time favorite books and IMO much, much better than this one, although perhaps you can't compare the two - they are on different planes and describing different worlds (that have many similarities).

The book is short and can be read quickly. Woodson isn't a bad author, but her style of writing is not pleasing to me. She writes about real life and a lot of this book rings true to me and will ring true to a lot of people, so that is a plus. She also paints what life was like in the 70s, this isn't as deep or colorful as it is in some fiction that takes place in the 70s, but it was educational and interesting to read about Brooklyn in that time period.

I wasn't attached to any of the characters, didn't care about what happened to them, couldn't be bothered to keep them straight in my mind - Woodson does not go out of her way to draw her readers into the story. This is a casualty of her poetic style of writing.

Dialogue is italicized, not in quotes. This didn't bother me - it was still easily distinguishable in the text.

TL;DR - I can't say this book was bad, but it was not interesting or pleasing to me. Woodson is doing the world a favor by putting her pen to paper and telling the stories of black girls and women in America, but I simply don't like her style of writing and her stories don't interest me. Not because the setting or the stories don't interest me, but her writing style turns me off and is vague and disjointed enough to annoy me.
Profile Image for Marie.
143 reviews44 followers
September 13, 2016
Exquisite! Such a beautifully written piece of work, that it felt like poetry, both in the flow and the content. It has an ethereal dreamy quality and is full of rich metaphors.

I have been struggling with my review of this book, because whatever I seem to write doesn’t really do the book justice. It is such a unique beautiful piece of writing. The story begins with August, the narrator, returning by train to visit her dying father. She catches a glimpse of Sylvia, a childhood friend and memories come flooding back to her. The ethereal quality of the book has in part to do with the fact that the narrator is looking way back on an earlier part of her life; in part that she is remembering her childhood, one in which she could not comprehend or accept the death of her mother; and thirdly the poetic quality to the writing.

The idea that August thinks her mother will return and convinces her younger brother of the same, feels so honest, so real, so a part of how children really cope with the loss of a parent. Within the book, different cultural rites of death are mentioned reminding the reader that death is there, but not letting us know the actual circumstances of the mother’s death until later.

Once August arrives in Brooklyn with her father and brother, the father cages the children in the house worried about the dangers of the outside world. This backfires as her younger brother falls through the glass window injuring his arm in his attempts to watch the outside world. At this point, August and her brother are allowed outside to experience the world.

August reminisces about her female friendships from this era in her life. She had developed a close-knit group of girlfriends who become her “home, ” her family, and this allows her feel alive again, after feeling cooped up in their Brooklyn apartment. Together these girls feel stronger and braver. Their friendship gives them a sense of safety, of home, of togetherness that is lacking from their home environments. They grow into puberty together, date, experiment with sex. They confide in each other, things that they do not feel safe confiding to their own parents.

August’s mother’s words about not trusting female friendships keep echoing back to her. “Don’t trust women, my mother said to me. Even the ugly ones will take what you thought was yours.” August learns how this can be true as the friendships begin to slip and in some cases fracture. However, for a time, the friendships are a beautiful thing and allow the girls to feel powerful in a world where they are vulnerable, on account of being female, minorities and poor.

This reflection is of Brooklyn in the 1970’s in a neighborhood that is turning from white to black. While August finds comfort in her friendships, her father finds comfort in religion. It is a stunning look at this place and time period, the struggles these girls faced as they came of age and the hope and courage needed to face it. I highly recommend this to everyone.

For discussion questions and more, please visit: http://www.book-chatter.com/?p=597
Profile Image for Ron Charles.
1,050 reviews48.7k followers
August 12, 2016
Jacqueline Woodson, one of the most celebrated young adult authors in the country, has always challenged her adolescent readers — and older readers, too. In books such as “Brown Girl Dreaming,” her memoir in verse, which won a National Book Award, or “Miracle’s Boys,” which won a Coretta Scott King Award, Woodson explores class, race and death with unflinching honesty and emotional depth.

So, in a way, it feels a little artificial to note that her new book, “Another Brooklyn,” is her first novel for adults since “Autobiography of a Family Photo” more than 20 years ago. But if that’s what it takes to broaden Woodson’s audience, I’m all for it. Her younger fans won’t pay any attention to these labels anyway, and nothing here is beyond the purview of interested teenagers.

“Another Brooklyn” is a short but complex story that arises from. . . .

To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post:
February 17, 2021
Γλυκόπικρο υπέροχο ανάγνωσμα!Μέσα από τα μάτια μιας ενήλικης επιστρέφουμε στα παιδικά & εφηβικά της χρόνια σε μια διαφορετική Αμερική απ'ό,τι βλέπουμε στις ταινίες.
Στο δικό της Μπρούκλιν,λοιπόν,δοσμένο αποσπασματικά,αλλά καίρια τριγυρνάμε μαζί με τζαζ μουσικές και αφροαμερικάνικα όνειρα.
Αν και είναι ένα σύντομο ανάγνωσμα,οι εικόνες του μένουν μαζί σου για καιρό.
Όμορφη γραφή!

Φοβερές πληροφορίες στον παρακάτω σύνδεσμο:https://amlit2020.weebly.com/jacqueli...#
Profile Image for Jenny (Reading Envy).
3,876 reviews3,120 followers
May 12, 2018
"We had blades inside our kneesocks 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 even louder. But Brooklyn had longer nails and sharper blades. Any strung-out soldier or ashy-kneed, hungry child could have told us this."

Brooklyn girlish childhoods, navigating the many different types of people, losing innocence, etc. This very short book was beautiful in audio.
Profile Image for Lori Elliott (catching up).
747 reviews1,794 followers
July 29, 2016
First time I have read Woodson and I'm amazed at her ability to say so much with so few words. Beautifully lyrical in it's delivery.
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