The Women of Brewster Place

the women of brewster placeI’ve been doing some buddy reads lately. They seem to be a good way to break out of a reading rut and read new authors. We’ve been reading mostly short story collections, and those are fun to read and then talk about together in way that I never expected because I’ve never been a short story reader.

This book is an interconnected set of short stories, following the lives of seven women living in the Brewster Place tenement during the 1970s.

These women are:

  • Mattie Michael–A broken-hearted middle-aged woman, finding herself reading middle age with nothing left and all her dreams dead.
  • Etta Mae–A women who came to live on Brewster Place after a string of relationships gone wrong.
  • Kiswana Browne–A college-aged woman wedding to the fight for racial justice.
  • Luciella–A woman suffering through the death of a child . . .and really so much more
  • Cora Lee–A woman who loves babies but struggles to actually be a mother.
  • Theresa & Lorainne–A lesbian couple hoping that Brewster place will be a more tolerant place than the other places that they have lived

I noticed . . .

I noticed that these women are all connected through living at the same place.

I noticed that, even when it seemed the “cycle”was broken, it never really was.

I noticed how nice it was to see a series of short stories connect. It was really pleasant. In fact, I have the companion book on The Men of Brewster Place sitting in my Amazon cart right now.

I wondered . . .

I wondered is those who leave really will escape their cycle of hopelessness

I also wondered about several characters and plot points that were left open that I wanted to know, including Basil, Lorraine, and the hopeless young men who hang on the street corner.

It reminded me of . . .

I thought of several books as I read this book, and the most prominent one in my head was An American Marriage. I think Jones does a great job of capturing the hopelessness of a couple in a bad position. This book captures a lot of hopelessness and people in bad positions.

I also thought about Such a Fun Age, where a lot of white people had savior complexes. We need a solution for places of hopelessness such as Brewster Place, but a white savior is not the solution.

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