Sunday, January 25, 2015

Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

This book is written in verse; meaning it's a compilation of different poems. Together, they form a wonderful story about Jacqueline Woodson's life growing up during the movement for equal rights in the United States.

It was one of the most moving, thought-provoking, and compelling books I've ever read about what happened in the 1960s/1970s. I couldn't put it down even as it rendered me speechless.

An amazon summary so we can make this journey together, "Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. 
 Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become. Praise for Jacqueline Woodson:Ms. Woodson writes with a sure understanding of the thoughts of young people, offering a poetic, eloquent narrative that is not simply a story . . . but a mature exploration of grown-up issues and self-discovery.”—The New York Times Book Review" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE, FOR REAL

Disclaimer: I will not cover the history of the civil war, civil rights movement, or current issues that impact today. I'm going to talk about what the story portrays. There is no way that I would ever be able to accurately summarize, portray, or encapsulate the entire movement. I strongly suggest a few google searches about the civil war and civil rights movement in the United States of America if you have no idea what's going on.


I'm struggling for words about this book.

On the one hand, it's essentially an autobiography written in verse about the 1960s/1970s. Usually I see that pretense and go, "EHHHHHH, not for me most likely because historical noises." But then, I had my librarian friends recommend this book to me, and it won the National Book Award, and I kind of shrugged and started reading it. (Plus I've been getting better about reading semi-realistic fiction and straight up non-fiction books. Like whoa.)

Oh. My. Batman.

I've never felt like I could empathize with a narrator so well and see the cultural differences as well as understand the reasoning behind different decisions. Children seem to act as the best watchers; they observe many actions without understanding the cultural/political implications behind those actions. But Jacqueline did; she showed the terrors and violence of the time with breaking innocence.

Plus there were so many touching moments throughout the story that kind of ignored the political trials of the time and concentrated more on the home life, really kind of proving that Jacqueline is a person, same as anybody else. I read how she was raised, what values were instilled in her, and what choices she made because of her environment and upbringing.

It was truly fantastic. Strongly recommended. This book will probably haunt me in the good way for a while.

As with all books I fall madly in love with, I do struggle for words. It was really freaking fantastic.

Happy reading!

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