Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Women of Brewster Place” as Want to Read:
The Women of Brewster Place
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Women of Brewster Place

(Brewster Place #1)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  18,022 ratings  ·  711 reviews

In her heralded first novel, Gloria Naylor weaves together the stories of seven women living in Brewster Place, a bleak inner-city sanctuary, creating a powerful, moving portrait of the strengths, struggles, and hopes of black women in America. Vulnerable and resilient, openhanded and open-hearted, these women forge their lives in a place that in turn threatens and protect

...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 30th 1983 by Penguin Books (first published June 2nd 1982)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Women of Brewster Place, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Atekh Seck Did the Two succeeded in Brewster Place?

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,022 ratings  ·  711 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Women of Brewster Place
Brina
Years ago I read Mama Day by Gloria Naylor. Told from multiple points of view, it discussed a young woman from the north returning to her older female family members on a southern island in search of the spiritual inspiration she needs to sustain her for the rest of the year. I decided that for my annual participation in an A to Z author challenge, one that I choose to read only female authors, that I would revisit Naylor's work. First published in 1982 and winning national awards, The Women of ...more
Shannon
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories, own
This short story collection had all the makings of a book that I should not like. So I'm still trying to figure out how it ended up on my list of best short story collections.

The first story contained no less than ten clichés. And every story after that had something that I could see coming from pages away. I was literally thinking, please don't let this play out the way I think it's going to play out. And it always did.

I have never been, nor will I ever be, on the men-ain't-shit bandwagon. Ne
...more
Nidhi Singh
Sep 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

They came together, propositioned, bargained, and slowly worked out the consummation of their respective desires.

Naylor’s construction of Brewster Place’s beginnings seems like a plaintive evocation of a story that already lives in the crevices of a bygone past. Or the tale of someone who has lived their years and finally taken respite to talk of their unholy beginning that was marked for a cramped existence in this world. They gradually established their space and mellowed into an old age. Gra
...more
leynes
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-writers
What a book. Gloria Naylor has a way of creating an atmosphere, heck, a whole cosmos, within these few pages (my book counts 192), that it makes you wonder if she truly was human. I don't think I've read a debut novel as impressive as this one.

In The Women of Brewster Place, Gloria Naylor invites her readership to take a look around the neighbourhood of Brewster Place in which mostly poor Black families are situated. By tracing the lives of seven different Black women back to their origin, Glor
...more
Rincey
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Oh man, those last few stories though.
Deb
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Addition to review added at bottom.
The Women of Brewster Place is absolutely phenomenal!


Of course it's phenomenal because Gloria Naylor wrote it and her writing is nothing short of amazing. This is an absolutely perfect read for me. I didn't rush through it because I wanted to enjoy it. When I grow up, I want to write like Gloria. Her stories are enthralling. Her writing style is so figurative and spot on your mind immediately has these vivid images of who these characters are how they flow
...more
Lauren
The Women of Brewster Place is a powerful collection of intertwining stories surrounding the women who live in an urban housing development. Through seven lives we see decades of history - what brought them to the Place, coming north (the city isn't expressly named, but a few geographical clues in the text make the reader think it is New York) looking for opportunity, love, acceptance and social action.

Exploring the nature of relationships between friends:
Sometimes being a friend means mast
...more
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
I fell in love with the recently-departed Gloria Naylor through these interconnected stories. Lesser writers leave clichés leaden and unexplored on the page; here, the stereotypes of African-American women's lives are transfigured into fresh truths—joyous and tragic—about race, gender, class, and sexuality: story-truths that go deep, speak volumes.
Kathleen
“A pigeon swept across her window, and she marveled at its liquid movements in the air waves. She placed her dreams on the back of the bird and fantasized that it would glide forever in transparent silver circles until it ascended to the center of the universe and was swallowed up.”

Really good books create a world that you live in for a while and then never forget. This is a really good book. Each story in this collection focuses on a particular woman, but expertly woven together, they make a wo
...more
Cheryl
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Gloria Naylor should be included on more reading lists than she is now. I do believe more authors borrowed from her structure of linked characters than they would care to admit. I especially enjoy how she writes African American settings and places transcendent enough to be characters in the novel. I recommend watching the movie after reading this, or if you’re like most people who have seen it, watching it with this book as a companion read. I’ve never imagined saying this, but I enjoyed the en ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
This is a powerful novel made up of inter-connected short stories. As is my wont, I'd planned on reading one or two interspersed with other novels. Instead I read them straight through. The women are all different and come to the street called Brewster Place by different means and for different reasons.
Brewster Place became especially fond of its colored daughters as they milled like determined spirits among its decay, trying to make it a home. Nutmeg arms leaned over windowsills, gnarled ebony
...more
Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ...
The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor was first published in 1982. It tells the stories of seven African-American women living in poverty in an unnamed norther US city during the 1970s. The book is told in interlocking, connected short stories, with each one focusing on a different woman. Naylor weaves their relationships and their neighborhood together with each new story. The place is bleak and sad but their lives are rich, real and full.

Mattie Michael is the matriarch of Brewster Place
...more
Nakia
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful writing. My third time reading it and it is just as memorable.

Check out my gushing review on my site a few years ago: Black Woman Writer Warrior Reading List
...more
kisha
Rating this book was hard for me because I had so many opinions (some even which contradict itself). I was leaning more towards 2 stars for several reasons. For me, this book was a little too simplistically written. I like more of a challenge. I didn't like that it was written in seven stories. I couln't tell at first rather they were supposed to be short stories or if they would tie together at the end. That was a bit confusing at first.

Also, it was very feminist. I'm not big, as Morrison says
...more
Reggie
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-favorites
An award winner for a reason.

Linden Hills is now towards the top of 2020 must-reads list.

More fleshed out thoughts to come.
Nora
Read this one for school a couple years back. Goodness, this was one of the most depressing things I have ever read EVER. It follows the stories of several black women and their journeys toward self discovery. What I did like was our main character, Mattie Michaels. She was strong and loving. She took care of herself and her son all by herself at such a young age. Though she did make a pretty dumb decision in the beginning of the book, overall she was the voice of wisdom and reason for the rest ...more
D
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I absolutely enjoyed this book! It went deeper into the stories of these ladies and we were truly able to know them, especially Etta Mae and Cora Lee.
Mel Bossa
A candid and beautiful novel told in seven stories. A celebration of women's strengths and struggles as they love, reminisce, hope, envy, hate, deny, anger, and rejoice in the confines of the thin walls of Brewster Place.

There is a key scene in this novel when a woman loses her child and is cleansed and comforted by an older woman the morning of the baby's funeral. It was one of those poignant and lucid pieces of writing one remembers forever.

There's a raw, almost amateurish feel to this novel
...more
Ifeyinwa
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
*exhales dramatically*

Y'all this novel/collection of intertwined short stories blew me away. It wasn't so much the stories themselves (although I enjoyed them- the last story nearly took me out even though I saw it coming), but the way they were written. MY GOODNESS! I hope to revisit it again and again.
Bryan Alexander
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read The Women of Brewster Place for a very particular reason. My son, 17, was reading it for his high school English class, and was deeply affected by the book. He found it enormously depressing, like many of the books he's had to read. I'd known of Brewster Place for years, but hadn't read it, and, as a recovering English professor, decided to remedy that while helping my son think through the novel.

He was right. It is a massively sad novel.

The Women of Brewster Place is about what the title
...more
Jessie
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor was it. A series of vignettes about the women who have come to live in the worn out housing project, this book told stories of compassion that also didn’t do that thing I hate and give happy endings where systemic racism and poverty and social isolation and dislocation would not actually provide that outcome. This book was of a time, and it actually reminded me of Baldwin, who is also of a time. The writing is so evocative of a place and moment and pe ...more
Stephanie (That's What She Read)
This was a short story novel about seven women who live in the fictional Brewster Place. Each of the women brings a new type of heartbreak to the page and somehow manages the strength to go one and come together as a community.

Some of the stories were a little predictable, but not in a bad way. This was Gloria Naylor's first novel and I was definitely impressed and plan to check out more of her work.
Ana
Oct 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was a nice little read, I see the T.V. movie did not stray too far from the book with the ecception of the ending. The book presented a good range of different kinds of women and how they interacted directly with one another. What I loved most about Gloria Naylor's writing of this book was her ability to inject humor in just the right places and timed just perfectly. I recommend this book for a nice weekend read.
Christina
Feb 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I don't know how many times I have read this, and to be honest I do not care. Mother Naylor passed away on October 3 and I read this book again, crying all the way through it. To read more of this review click here ...more
Amanda
Gloria Naylor's The Women of Brewster Place tells the stories of an apartment building and the women who reside there. More a collection of interconnecting short stories than a novel, we learn how each of the characters came to live at the now neglected Brewster Place.

The women of Brewster Place are a diverse group. Through them the reader learns how it feels to be a young mother whose son grows up to let her down, a privileged revolutionary whose family is invested in their gentility, a lesbian
...more
Hamza El Moussaoui
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was hooked on this book the moment I started it ❤️
Renée | Book Girl Magic
This book was simply incredible. Each story completely captivated me. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this read but I knew that it was a classic and from many others, a must read.

Gloria Naylor is simply a genius with her writing. She took me places I wasn’t quite expecting to go. Especially with the story, The Two. Man! It’s hard for me to sit still and read a book for long periods of time but Ms. Naylor took over my entire Sunday.

I also appreciated how the characters from each story i
...more
Hazie
Sep 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The Women of Brewster Place was an intersting novel to read. It represented the life of women today and then and the struggles many of them faced and still are facing. Gloria takes each woman and places them in the same home, Brewster Place. This place was not a pretty one; it was broken down, tiny, clustered, dirty, and dangerous. Brewster Place is last resort for many people and/or the only affordable place at the time. Each woman have a story. They all have a story to tell in where it explain ...more
Jai Danielle
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wonderful exploration of black womanhood in America. Last year I managed to only read books written by/about women of color, and though I plan to diversify my reading this year, I'm glad I chose to start 2016 with Naylor and the women of Brewster's Place. 4.5 stars.
♥ Marlene♥
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, fiction, non-genre
What a lovely book this was. It consist of small chapters of various people living in Brewster Place and it is sad and beautiful and cruel. I wish I could find a copy of The Men of Brewster Place. I am sure it will be just as good.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Your Blues Ain't Like Mine
  • Mama
  • Waiting to Exhale (Waiting To Exhale #1)
  • Disappearing Acts
  • For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf
  • Just as I Am
  • The Salt Eaters
  • Paris Trout
  • A Day Late and a Dollar Short
  • The Warmest December
  • God Don't Like Ugly (God Don't Like Ugly, #1)
  • Sula
  • Tumbling
  • The Wedding
  • The Healing Wisdom of Africa: Finding Life Purpose Through Nature, Ritual, and Community
  • The Island of Beyond
  • From Alice to Zen and Everyone in Between
  • The Sugar Mountain Snow Ball
See similar books…
467 followers
Gloria Naylor was an African-American novelist whose most popular work, The Women of Brewster Place, was made into a 1984 film starring Oprah Winfrey.

Naylor won the National Book Award for first fiction in 1983 for The Women of Brewster Place. Her subsequent novels included Linden Hills, Mama Day and Bailey's Cafe. In addition to her novels, Naylor wrote essays and screenplays, as well as the stag
...more

Other books in the series

Brewster Place (2 books)
  • The Men of Brewster Place

Related Articles

Diverse voices and sparkling debuts dominate today's contemporary short story collections. For this roundup, we took a look at the...
86 likes · 9 comments
“Time's passage through the memory is like molten glass that can be opaque or crystalize at any given moment at will: a thousand days are melted into one conversation, one glance, one hurt, and one hurt can be shattered and sprinkled over a thousand days. It is silent and elusive, refusing to be damned and dripped out day by day; it swirls through the mind while an entire lifetime can ride like foam on the deceptive, transparent waves and get sprayed onto the conciousness at ragged, unexpected intervals. ” 39 likes
“Time's passage through the memory is like molten glass that can be opaque or crystallize at any given moment at will: a thousand days are melted into one conversation, one glance, one hurt, and one hurt can be shattered and sprinkled over a thousand days.” 15 likes
More quotes…