Published by HarperCollins on August 9th 2016
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When she returns to New York City for her father’s funeral and runs into a friend from childhood, August is flooded with memories of 1970’s Brooklyn. As a child, her family is torn apart and uprooted from Tennessee to New York, forcing eight year-old August to adjust. Another Brooklyn follows August as she grows through the unique struggles of the time period, the challenges of her neighborhood, and the battle of simply being a teenage girl.
Just as Woodson’s previous work, the National Book Award winner Brown Girl Dreaming, was a memoir in verse, Another Brooklyn is a novel born of poetry. The novel is straightforward, but not linear; told in jotted down snippets that move the story forward without relying on the back and forth of dialogue. Instead of a clear recollection we get hazy flashbacks, which are often the true format of teenage years.
“I know now that what is tragic isn’t the moment. It is the memory.”
While part of me wished for more self-examination from adult August, the novel centers itself on the awareness of memories rather than their deconstruction. August thumbs through her childhood, noting the moments that built and broke and formed her, without necessarily demanding answers from them. That doesn’t mean the novel lacks depth, it just comes in unexpected places. Despite the tragedy in its pages, Another Brooklyn chooses to look forward and find hope in both the present and the moments to come.