Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
I really, really liked Jacqueline Woodson’s memoir Brown Girl Dreaming. When I heard that she’d come out with another book, I got excited. Would this be a sequel to Brown Girl Dreaming? Alas, no. Another Brooklyn, while lyrical and poetic in nature, is a fictional novel that takes place in Brooklyn. Woodson is a skillful writer, but I just didn’t connect with this book in the same way.
As stated before, this novel takes place in Brooklyn, both in the past and present moment. August, our protagonist, is musing on the friendships with her three best friends and the trajectories of life changes that force them to reshape their relationship and their individual identities. There are lots of obscure references and clues to heartaches—losses of parents, being groped by strange men, and other harrowing experiences for young women. The novel is coded, the language slippery and obscure, the experiences vague and haunting.
Ultimately, I felt like I was disconnected and always guessing at what happened in the women’s lives. I think that the writing is gorgeous, but I had a harder time connecting with the story. I think because I’d read Brown Girl Dreaming first, I was a little disappointed that this was more heavily laden in stream-of-consciousness than I was prepared for. That said, I do think that this novel is masterfully written and evokes the kind of fleeting and frustrating qualities that our memories possess in our own minds. If I was to return to this novel at another point, I think my re-read would be a lot more favorable. For the moment, I give it a solid 3.5 stars.