Top positive review
Real. Honest. Gorgeous Prose.
Reviewed in the United States on September 24, 2016
There is something so very real, honest, and about Jacqueline Woodson’s writing, regardless of what she’s writing about in “Brown Girl Dreaming.” Her prose contains heartrending stories, thoughts, musings, and emotions ranging from bliss to anger. There’s a childlike purity in her work, these snippets of thoughts that tell her story, stories… the story of her family, friends, her beliefs, her religion.
Growing up in the south in an era where so much change was taking place, where children were surrounded from the outside with the message to be proud, and where the message from the older generation was still to avoid eye contact, you might expect more anger, more focus on the ugly side of that time. It’s not glossed over, it’s that the focus for those years shared in “Brown Girl Dreaming” is love for the place, the people and her memories. The nostalgia is sweet without sacrificing any truth, her power in the restraint she shows.
“The first time I write my full name Jacqueline Amanda Woodson without anybody’s help on a clean white page in composition notebook, I know if I wanted to I could write anything. Letters becoming words, words gathering meaning, becoming thoughts outside my head becoming sentences written by Jacqueline Amanda Woodson.”
This is the story of one girl finding her voice.
This is also the story of a part of America’s racial history.
This is Woodson’s story, but it’s also a story that is part of all of us.
“The people who came before me worked so hard to make this world a better place for me. I know my work is to make the world a better place for those coming after. As long as I can remember this, I can continue to do the work I was put here to do.”