Book Review: Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
I’ve been meaning to check out this book, and a conversation with a publisher at NCTE prompted me to grab a copy because I mentioned I was looking for a companion piece for Their Eyes Were Watching God and she told me it had similar themes of female friendship and coming of age elements. I am so glad I picked up a copy. This novel is like prose poetry and it addressed the issues of friendship, of family, and of finding yourself.
August, returns to Brooklyn for her father’s funeral, and the visit with her brother and seeing an old friend bring back a flood of memories about the 1970s Brooklyn she knew as a girl. They moved from a farm in Tennessee, and she remembers trying to comfort her brother: “The green of Tennessee faded quickly into the foreign world of Brooklyn, heat rising from cement. I thought of my mother often, lifting my hand to stroke my own cheek, imagining her beside me, explaining this newness, the fast pace of it, the impenetrable gray of it. When my brother cried, I shushed him, telling him not to worry. She’s coming soon, I said, trying to echo her. She’s coming tomorrow. And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.” The language is rich with substance and allusion. The future/now August looking back on her younger self shows compassion and understanding the August of the past would have longed for at the time.
You will like this book if you like coming of age novels, if you like beautiful prose, if you like stories about friendship between young women. Another benefit this book has is representation. August’s father turns to Islam in his grief, so we have a regular guy who also happens to be a practicing Muslim, along with the family friend who helps them shift eating habits. I’m excited to see what my students say about it, as I have a few of them reading it for a choice novel right now.