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Training School for Negro Girls

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3.73  ·  Rating details ·  836 ratings  ·  142 reviews
As unapologetic and resilient as the DC neighborhoods they live in, these women challenge monolithic assumptions of black identity.
A TSA agent who has never flown, a girl braving new worlds to play piano, a teacher caught up in a mayoral race. In this debut collection of stories, each of them navigate life’s “training school”—with its lessons on gentrification and respecta
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Paperback, 248 pages
Published October 9th 2018 by The Feminist Press at CUNY Consortium Book Sales & Distribution
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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  836 ratings  ·  142 reviews


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Gabriella
I wish I could tell y'all otherwise, but I really didn't know what to make of this collection. Many of Camille Acker's short stories fall flat, and I wish the characters were less one-dimensional.

There are few places were I felt adequately surprised by the scenes described, and I know the people she describes (sulking playground bullies from Southeast, 40-something single career women taking care of their mothers in Takoma Park, guilt-ridden black gentrifiers moving into the city with their whi
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Angelia Menchan
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved every story in this book. Some took me to childhood, others opened my eyes to things I hadn’t considered. My favorites were the ones of the grown Negro girls going through vagaries of life. There are two in particular that touched me, the first of a woman trying to get her daughter in a Jack and Jill type club for upper class blacks and another of a forty year old woman with seventeen former lovers... now taking care of her eighty year old mother while navigating loneliness, barrenness a ...more
Carol Tilley
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: women, race, stories
You want to read this one.
Naeemah Huggins
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Black women are not a monolith. This book was filled with such beautiful nuance. Part One explores pre-teen and teen black girlhood: boys, brothers, racism, parents. Part Two: shares the mind of many older black women: how they think and navigate the world.
I identified so hard with these women who's inner thoughts might not match everyone else's. The grey areas of life as a black women were quietly explored and very much appreciated.
These new crop of black women authors are bring something diff
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Lulu
Apr 24, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a descent collection of short stories, but nothing really stood out. Nice build up of stories, but no endings that will stick with you.
Nickeisha
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library, 2019-reads
I don't have much to say about this book.

This book is a collection of stories and most of them forgettable. So many times as I was reading I was confused about what was going on. Just disappointed with this one.
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T.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it liked it
3-3.5 stars. I know each of these women and girls. "Strong Men" and "Mambo Sauce" were my favorite stories. "All The Things You'll Never Do" was as painful as it sounds. My heart ached for that character because I have been there, mentally and financially. The title story was hilarious. I guess the bits of salaciousness prevented Acker from using the real name of a certain Black upper class family organization.

Overall, a solid book of short stories that will resonate with Black women.
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Ka’leneReads
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
GoodRead......I enjoyed the stories mostly.
Carly Friedman
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fantastic collection of short stories. I especially loved “Mambo Sauce”. “Cicada” was so beautifully written and like “The Ropes”, it will stick with me for a long time. I loved how the stories dealt with issues of race, gender, identity, family, love, and social pressures. I can’t wait to read more by Camille Acker!
Ryan Mishap
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
A quietly amazing collection showcasing Black girls and women who defy or reluctantly conform to the stereotypes, or exist outside of, and despite, them.

I read this in one sitting it was that good. BUt don't listen to my tortured syntax review, go read it!
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Mimi S
Feb 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decent collection of short stories, none of them gave me closure. Every character in this book I feel like I know someone just like them in real life which made these stories a little more tangible and made me feel sad.
Caroline Bock
A terrific collection of short stories set in Washington D.C. by Camille Acker -- all from a female point of view -- all from an African American view as one could guess from the title. Ironically, I picked up this collection in the iconic Strand Bookstore in NYC, not in any one of my regular bookstore haunts in my new home arena of D.C. Two of the stories that were stand outs -- "Mambo Sauce" -- using the D.C. specific hot sauce/duck sauce combo as the central metaphor for an interracial relati ...more
Kayla
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay so a few things. 1. didn't realize this was an anthology before I started (this is my fault, I should have read the synopsis). 2. These stories were good but each one had an aspect I didn't like. All circling around a black character's ignorance or their willing to act as if they were ignorant - except for the first story.

All in all decent.

3.5 stars
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Mary Drayer
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you Mona-From teenager stories to working women all over our country. The individual stories are “special” and tell the “real story” of women navigating our world.
Ashley
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio-books
None of the stories drew me in. There was some humorous parts that didn't make it so hard to read. ...more
Michelle Leonard
I didn’t really connect with any of the characters but I think it’s important to see the varying experiences of black girls and women.
Marc
Sep 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I knew Camille when she was in grad school at New Mexico State University, and I just want to write that I am so proud of her. I loved this collection of short stories. Some stayed with me longer than others. "Strong Men" was great at capturing a time and place and inviting us to peer into a family and young woman's life that was on the verge of change--change a lot of folks go through, but that makes it no less profound or momentous when it happens. Acker helped us see and appreciate that time ...more
Khadejah
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, where to start...this was one of the best books I've read this year and it's December. First of all, I love how DC this book is. If you are from or live in DC (especially if you're Black), you will recognize the characters in these stories. You'll recognize the behaviors, the complexes, the joys, the fears... they are extremely well-written. Acker writes about everything from the joyful experience of a girl going to Ocean City as a child to a millenial character coming to the crushing real ...more
Rebecca
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
While the stories in this collection center on the lives of black girls and women living in Washington, DC, Acker skillfully portrays the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, foes, and romantic partners that orbit them. Acker's gift for creating setting is strong-- DC neighborhoods, politics, and neighborhood politics will resonate with anyone who has spent time in the District. Each story stands alone, but taken together, they leave the reader with much to contemplate. Acker does not a ...more
Sasha
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, wndb, 2019
Camille Acker can write, and I'd love to see what she can do with a full-length novel. This collection of short stories was powerful - the lives of Black girls and women in Washington DC as they navigate the journey of finding their sense of self, their sense of womanhood - essentially, their identity. Ms. Acker, should you decide to gift us with a longer piece of fiction - I shall be here waiting on bated breath. ...more
Megan Tristao
“I am my own kind of black girl. However, I do not know if I am the kind that you will want or not.”

Strong Men and Mambo Sauce were the two stand-out stories of this collection for me. The titular story was also very good, though I felt like I had to read it through almost-closed fingers (so it was very effective). Many of the stories felt unfinished, but I think that was part of their beauty. Thanks to @roostercalls on Instagram for recommending this one!
Shakira Jones
Jul 16, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Struggled to finish

I saw the cover of this book and I was impressed. The cover gets my star because that was the only thing I liked about this book. I don't know who gave these fabulous reviews but I felt like we read two completely different books. Honestly the short stories were pointless and they went nowhere. They left me confused with questions that no one could answer. I put this book down several times and picked it back up and struggled to the end. I am sorry but I can't recommend this b
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Mo
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More stories please Camille.
Mary
Feb 22, 2020 rated it liked it
I thought these short shores were a nice ode to the experiences of black girl child- and adult- hood. More like a 3.5
Olga
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Loved. Really a 4.5
Abbi
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a decent book of short stories. I enjoyed the last 4 stories the most, especially Training School for Negro Girls and Now, This.
Smileitsjoy (JoyMelody)
I wanted to love this collection so much but unfortunately, I was let down.
Some stories were great and others were duds. I understand that every book isn't for everyone but usually, books about Black women and girls are my thing.
It is very rare I actually feel let down by a book emotionally.

I think Acker set out to write a powerful collection that discusses the things that make Black women who they are. Whether it's their parents or an experience with a friend in school or an experience with
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Paperback Paris
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star-ratings
—The review below was authored by Paperback Paris Contributor, Jasmyne Ray. Read more.

As a black woman, it’s a struggle to find fictional narratives that accurately align with my reality. There have been a few exceptions — Ntozake Shange ’s For Colored Girls , Toni Morrison ’s The Bluest Eye , etc. — but the relatability and poignancy wafting from each page of Camille Acker's debut  Training School for Negro Girls feels like a fan's cool air hitting your face after a hot summer da
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Lauren Taylor
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you like short story collections, this is an excellent next choice! Strong character writing. Though it's set in the past, you feel like each of these stories could be told today with the same context. ...more
Stacy
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, books-i-own
Tells the lives & experiences of Black girls/women. I enjoyed this very much. I did feel two stories towards the end seem rush and not as well thought out. Solid collection overall and a underrated read that is not getting enough exposure. 3 1/2-4 stars.
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Camille Acker grew up in Washington, DC and is the author of the short story collection, Training School for Negro Girls, published by Feminist Press in 2018. She holds a B.A. in English from Howard University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from New Mexico State University. Her writing has received support from the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Voices of Our Nations Arts, and Millay Colony ...more

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