Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
I’m such a goober when it comes to this book. Ok, not just this book but lots of books. I’ve been wanting to read Another Brooklyn for a while and put off scooping it because of this dilemma: once you read a book for the first time you can never read it again for the first time.
Weird, right? So that first time is magical. It’s like opening up a present you’ve been waiting for and you can never get that euphoria back. I purchased Another Brooklyn from Busboys & Poets in DC a few months ago and I promptly put it on my desk promising myself I wouldn’t read it.
I wanted to read it, mind you. It’s just that once you read it, you can never read it again for the first time (see above). l put it off and put it off until I couldn’t wait any longer and I finally cracked the spine. Now I warn you this book is not a YA book but older teens could certainly handle it. There are mature issues inside but I’ve read rape scenes in YA books that are more chilling than the facts within this beautifully written novel. And to be sure, there are no rape scenes in Another Brooklyn. It’s the tale of one young woman who grows up learning to lean on a circle of girlfriends as they all mature into womanhood.
As the girls grow, there are perhaps your typical scenarios that you might encounter in an inner city neighborhood: drug use, dating, sex, unnecessary advances from older men, school, hunger, homelessness, etc. Written in prose, though, the story unfolds so beautifully that I literally DID NOT WANT TO FINISH THE BOOK.
I dragged the story out as long as I could, which is difficult because the book is short, a mere 177 pages. I loved reading the book, getting lost in the prose as if Woodson were writing a poem just for me. As my own son now lives in Brooklyn I like to imagine what the town looked like in Woodson’s 1970s Brooklyn, before cell phones, and iPhones, and Uber.
I will definitely revisit Another Brooklyn, because books can be enjoyed more than once. Another Brooklyn also qualifies for the Diversity Reading Challenge.