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The Street by Ann Petry
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really liked it

I read this book as part of the #ReadAnnPetry challenge from @ReggieReads on Instagram. Ann Petry’s book “The Street” became the first novel by an African-American woman to sell more than a million copies. And, shame on me for having never read it.

This book did quite a number on my mind and spirit. “The Street” is a long book and relentlessly bleak. I listened to this as an audiobook and really appreciated the narrator’s inflection, voice acting and overall delivery. But at more than 20 hours of listening time, I needed frequent breaks.

“The Street” follows Lutie Johnson, a single black mom in 1940s Harlem as she tries to build a life for herself and her son, Bub. No matter what Lutie does, the cards always seem stacked against her thanks to systemic racism. Ann Petry writes about the street they live on as if it were a living, breathing thing – a monster that chews people up and spits them out. Her story covers a wide range of gross injustices: racism, classicism, sexism, assault, poverty. And, it elicited a wide range of emotion from me: rage, sadness, disgust, terror.

For me, the length of this book made it feel like actual work to get through. There were scenes that felt like the endless staircase in the apartment, dark and stifling and hard to see. Maybe this book could have benefited from some editing or maybe I just didn’t have the emotional endurance to deal. Either way, this is a must-read. An eye-opening experience but not an enjoyable one.
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Reading Progress

January 9, 2019 – Shelved
January 9, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
February 4, 2019 – Started Reading
February 7, 2019 –
February 21, 2019 –
February 21, 2019 – Finished Reading

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