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The Women of Brewster Place

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  16,304 Ratings  ·  549 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

Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 30th 1983 by Penguin Books (first published 1982)
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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
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, short-stories
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
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
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 w
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 master
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Oh man, those last few stories though.
Shawn Mooney
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017
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.
“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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Jun 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kim by: paperbackswap/cynthia fisher adams
Shelves: made-into-movie
got this in the mail. a friend had got it for me from
I thought it would have been a thicker book
I read it in one sitting
I have seen the movie to this book
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
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
Sep 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
I should stop saying I don't like short stories. Edwidge, Junot and now Gloria are making a liar out of me.
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I Love this book, all the women of Brewster each have a story to tell regarding living in bad condition. no men to help them. It also shows how one is treated differently when living among other people and that still happening today. I love the writing style as well as the story and characters. I can not wait to pick up her next book. There was one quote which sticks to me and that is
“Time's passage through the memory is like molten glass that can be opaque or crystallize at any given moment at
♥ Marlene♥
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, non-genre, kindle
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.
This is the best book that I have read in a long time. Lately I've read a lot of books that resonated with me, that I loved. But it's been too long since I've read something so unquestionably good.

Even if the characters and their plots had been subpar, the prose is beautiful and evocative. And each interwoven story is its own sparkling gem. I felt for Mattie, who puts everything into raising her only child. For Etta, whose covert desperation is matched only by the bond she shares with Mattie. Fo
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Adults, teenagers
Recommended to Gary by: N/a
I bought this book in a second hand book shop and did not get around to reading it for several years - big mistake!
It is difficult to imagine this is a first novel, as Ms Naylor has written a story that is happy, sad, poignant, moving, disturbing and thought provoking. The characters feel very real and one can empathise with them all: even the nasty ones to an extent.
The protagonists live in a run down apartment block in a dead end street, cut off from the nicer parts of town by an enormous wall
Sep 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 05-short-stories
I really like that this is a novel told in seven short stories, each focused on a different women but with the overlap that comes of them all living and interacting in the same place. That structure, where related things come together piecemeal to form a whole, is really appealing to me. I also like the women of the story, who all have their own struggles with various form of oppression, violence, you name it but manage to stay distinct and interesting characters.

It's a little odd to me how basi
Sep 09, 2010 rated it liked it
The Women of Brewster Place is an touching collection of stories about six ladies that all deal with abandonment issues of either men, friends, family and abuse. For centuries women has always been secound class citizens to men and or less superior and in this novel Gloria Naylor depicts the issue at hand. Brewster Place is a run away home for women who want to escape from the harsh realities of home in hopes of a better more effecient life. In one of the six stories told in this novel Mattie is ...more
Danielle Franco-Malone
Sep 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I seriously loved this book of interconnected short stories about women whose lives eventually bring them to the same low income housing development. One of the best books about race I've read. Sometimes I am disinclined to embrace books that are a series of chopped up short stories, as they can lack the continuing narrative that makes a book really compelling, but this was totally an exception. Each short story was so poignant and beautifully written, and I appreciated how the characters featur ...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.
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Coming soon...
Chris Blocker
Aug 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 10-star-reviews
A gorgeous novel with compelling characters and several interesting plot lines. I enjoyed most how Naylor effectively utilized symbols which could very easily have been cliche.
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500 Great Books B...: The Women of Brewster Place - Gloria Naylor - Kathleen 2 7 Feb 11, 2018 05:20AM  
Ben's death 4 41 Apr 24, 2014 05:42AM  
African-American ...: The Women of the Brewster Place; Starting September 1st 31 22 Sep 18, 2013 08:55AM  
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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
“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. ” 36 likes
“Brewster Place became especially fond of its colored daughters as they milled like determined spirits among its decay, trying to make it home. Nutmeg arms leaned over windowsills, gnarled ebony legs carried groceries up double flights of steps, and saffron hands strung out wet laundry on backyard lines. Their perspiration mingled with the steam from boiling pots of smoked pork greens, and it curled on the edges of the aroma of vinegar douches and Evening in Paris cologne that drifted through the street where they stood together - hands on hips, straight-backed, round-bellied, high-behinded women who threw their heads back when they laughed and exposed strong teeth and dark gums. They cursed, badgered, worshiped, and shared their men. Their love drove them to fling dishcloths in someone else's kitchen to help him make the rent, or to fling hot lye to help him forget that bitch behind the counter at the five-and-dime. They were hard-edged, soft-centered, brutally demanding, and easily pleased, these women of Brewster Place. They came, they went, grew up, and grew old beyond their years. Like an ebony phoenix, each in her own time and with her own season had a story.” 15 likes
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