February Wrap-Up

Over the past three or four months, I’ve been doing a lot of comfort reading, and haven’t really wanted to think about books deeply. This month, I felt my reading life begin to repair itself. I feel like I have a good blend of fun genre type reads with a few more literary books sprinkled throughout. I read slightly over 6000 pages this month, which was about the same as what I read in January.

The Stats:

  • Books Read: 22
    • Library–
    • Kindle–10
    • Hardcopy–12
    • Audio–
  • Re-Reads: 3
  • Goodreads Challenge Progress: 55/200 (23 books ahead of schedule)
  • New Books vs. Backlist:
    • New Books: 5
    • Backlist: 17

The Books:

good-bye stacey good-byeThe first book I read this month was Good-Bye, Stacey, Good-Bye. This was a read aloud with my nine year old daughter, and we really enjoyed it. It’s the thirteenth Baby-Sitters’ Club book, and one of the more simple books. The entire book is really about Stacey leaving and how the other members of the club prepare to tell her good-bye. I kind of missed the “B” plot that usually runs through the story.

Next, I went back to the Interstellar Brides series that I’ve beesurrender to the cyborgsn reading. I read surrender to the Cyborgs, which is the first book in the extended series set on The Colony. The Colony is a sad place, where soldiers who have been injured in the battle against the Hive are exiled. The book was good, and Goodwin has shown signs in the past few books that she’s breaking out of the formula a little bit. I’ve read a lot of books in this series over the past few weeks, and they’ve really been a good, soothing, guilty pleasure for me. I’m sure you’ll notice several of these books on this month’s wrap-up because I’m determined to read the whole series in chronological order.

how to fight racismNext, I read the follow-up to a non fiction book I read in January. Jemar Tisby’s How to Fight Racism picks up where The Color of Compromise leaves off. He gives practical tips for how to raise your awareness of racism, build relationships across racial and cultural lines, and become a committed advocate of racial justice. This book is a treasure for those of us who want to fight racism but aren’t sure how to do it. As a white person, I have a fear of making things worse by making blunders in my desire to help, and Tisby’s work has helped me to see how I can be an ally rather than contribute to racism and racial stereotypes.

The next book I read was a buddy read. We read The Women of Brewster Place. This is athe women of brewster place novel told as a series of seven overlapping short stories about seven women who live in a slum apartment building on Brewster Place. This book takes place during the 1970s, and there’s just a bunch of hopelessness. Naylor takes the stereotypes that a person might have about these poor, black women and draws very detailed and human lines on them. It’s a story that I imagine will stay with me for some time.

his virgin mateNext, I read His Virgin Mate. The main character is a virgin Earth girl, matched to the planet of Everis through the Interstellar Brides Program. She thought she was frigid, but it just turns out that she was waiting for the right man. There’s a lot of talk about the “sacred order of the three virginities” in the book, and I thought that was kind of gagworthy. Goodwin has better books.

Next, I read The Removed. It was a dreamy, character-driven the removedread, and a beautiful picture of grief. I loved the way that Hobson used Cherokee mythology throughout the novel. However, at some points, I found the plot really difficult to follow for all the myths and for trying to figure out what is real and what is not. Truth be told, the book and the characters are so beautiful that I didn’t even care about where the plot was going.

classic myths to read aloudThe next book I finished was Classic Myths to Read Aloud. Ellie and I have been reading this one together since about Halloween. This book is set up for an adult to read aloud to a child or group of children and features various Greek and Roman myths. The last third of the book centers around retelling of The Illiad, The Odyssey, and The Aeneid. This is not the best collection of myths that I’ve ever worked with, but it is one of the easiest books to use in a read-aloud that I have used as teacher.  I’ve used this one with all my children for that very reason.

After that, I read my Once Upon a Bookclub subscription book for the month, Yellow Wife. Iyellow wife don’t always find historical fiction to be compelling, but this story of a mulatto slave made for very interesting reading. Her struggles to make the best choices when the only choices to be made were bad ones makes this book a quite challenging book. I also enjoyed hearing that, even though the main character was not a real person, her story was based on a real person and place.

claiming his virginNext, I went back to the Interstellar Brides Program series with the novella Claiming His Virgin. This is one of the virgin series of books, which is really about a quartet of young women who come from Earth to the Planet Everis to find spouses. This is the third book I’ve read in this Virgins series. I found the first one to be interesting (and good), the second one to be kind of yucky, and this one to be super sexy and fun to read. This was a great addition to the series, and almost a five-star read for me.

I continued reading romances by reading The Good Luck Charm, which igood luck charms my first Helena Hunting novel. It’s a second chance romance, which is not my favorite genre. Also, I have to admit that I thought the heroine, Lilah had a lot of baggage. I’m not sure she needed an actual relationship so much as she needed to spend some time on the therapist’s couch. The romance itself was fine, and I enjoyed that the male protagonist was a a hockey player. I actually thought that was great fun. I think Hunting tries to do a little too much, and I ended up feeling dissatisfied.

intimationsThe next book I picked up was the short essay collection Intimations. Here, Zadie Smith is writing in the summer of 2020, chronicling her thoughts about COVID and about George Floyd’s murder. It was beautifully written, and I loved most of the essays. The first essay dragged a little bit and felt like it didn’t belong, so I was a little concerned at first, and might not have kept going except that I was reading the book for a buddy read with some friends.

Another book I participated in as a buddy read this month was Heads ofheads of the colored people the Colored People. This set of short stories deals with different pictures of the black middle class. Unfortunately, many of these stories don’t deal with normal people in general. Thompson-Spires often uses mentally ill people (both diagnosed and undiagnosed) as main characters of the stories. This leads to a collection that mostly highlights the odd and uncomfortable–highly reminiscent of Curtis Sittenfeld’s You Think It, I’ll Say It.

thunderheadI also went back to Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s work this month with the first Nora Kelly book, Thunderhead. This was a five-star book book. There were southwest Native Americans, Anazazi ruins, archaeological digs, and witches and skin walkers. I loved Nora’s personality, and I loved the Bill Smithback from Relic and Reliquary played a role in this book. This is probably my favorite new “world” to explore. This was such a strong book!

Next, I re-read How the Sidewalk Ends to my elementary-aged children.where the sidewalk ends We enjoyed this work and it’s reminder that poetry does not have to be heavy. This is my fourth or fifth reading of these poems, and really the collection gets more charming each time. I can’t think of many books that improve that much upon rereading.

dating and the single parentThe next book I picked up was Dating and the Single Parent. This was for my marriage and family counseling class. I really enjoyed this book and learned a lot from it. However, since I’m neither a single parent nor dating, I’m not the target audience for this book, and I don’t think I can give it a completely fair evaluation. Also, this book is deeply religious and Christian in nature. So, if you’re not interested in a book that centers faith, this is not the book for you.

Next, I completed another book for a buddy read. How Long ’til Black how long til black future monthFuture Month? is a collection of fantasy and science fiction short stories from  the award winning writer, N.K. Jemisin. I really loved this collection, particularly the fantasy stories. Jemisin’s stories were familiar and yet had their own unique twists, making them quite satisfying for reading. This is my third buddy read of the month because I’m reading with a group of ladies, and we were reading 53 short stories in 53 days. That’s a lot of short story reading, and I’ve been surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed it. Usually, I stay away from short stories, but I’m beginning to change my mind.

mated to the vikensThen, I realized it had been at least a week or ten days since I had read an Interstellar Brides Program novel, so I decided to read Mated to the Vikens. This was the eighth book in the main series, and it was hot, hot, hot! This one also had a nice plot as Sophia has run into trouble in the mob and decides being a bride is better than being in prison. Things go completely wrong though, when, instead of being transported to her three mates, she is mistaken as the queen (from Claimed by Her Matesand taken way by the resistance to be kidnapped and killed. This one may be my favorite of the series so far!

Next, I read the first book in a new romance series, The Heiress Gets a the heiress gets a dukeDuke. These books are set in the late 1800s, and this one concerns an arranged marriage between an American railroad heiress and a penniless English duke. The chemistry between August and Evan is sparkling, and their banter is fresh and fun to read. I feel like August and Evan might both be a little too progressive for their time, but I still enjoyed the pairing. I also kind of like the arranged marriage trope, so this was a fun and sexy read.

chickadeeThe next book I finished was a read-aloud I did with my 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter. Chickadee is the fourth book in the Birchbark House series of novels, and was a really a delight. Omakayas is all grown up, and the novel centers on the experiences of her young twin sons. We loved the updates on favorite characters from past books and the new characters introduced here. Chickadee really has a great adventure, and we’re going to go straight into reading the book centered around his twin brother Makoons. One of my reading goals this year is to actually read an adult book by Louise Erdrich. I’ve read four of her books, but all of them have been middle grade novels to date.

Next, I continued my Interstellar Brides journey with Her Mate’s Secret Baby. This one takes place onher mate's secret baby Trion, a planet that Goodwin hasn’t visited since Assigned a Mate. There, we get to see Natalie and Roark begin to bond as mates before the outpost they are at is attacked and each one believes that the other is dead. It was a fun read. I enjoy seeing Goodwin’s formula, and her attempts to make twists to the formula. Overall, I’m here for it, and I imagine that I will read more of her brand of space alien romance before too long. I seem to be reading one about every fourth or fifth book right now. 

13 little blue envelopesThe next book I picked up was a YA chick-lit style novel, 13 Little Blue Envelopes. Ginny’s aunt has died, but Ginny receives a package in the mail from her. The package has 13 numbered envelopes, all with instructions for Ginny to carry out. This was light, breezy, and a fun read. I don’t know if I’ll remember the plot six months from now though because there wasn’t much that held it together.

My final book of February was the third Pendergast novel, The Cabinet of the cabinet of curiositiesCuriosities. I really enjoyed this book. It had a mystery that kept me guessing, a story that connected two time periods, and finally provided a peek inside Pendergast’s head. My favorite thing of all though was that both Nora Kelly and Bill Smithback appeared in this book, and because  I had stopped and read Thunderhead, I knew their backstory. It’s perfect to me to see them still together as this story opens. I also really enjoyed learning a little more about Pendergast’s family, I hope to learn even more about him in the upcoming books in the series. So far this year, I’ve read two Preston & Child books each month, and I would like to keep up that pace as the year moves along.

So, that’s it for February. I read a lot of great books. If you only put one of the books here on your TBR, I think you should make it Yellow Wife. It had everything that I look for in a historical novel, and I really thought that Pheby was  great protagonist!

Intimations

Zadie Smith writes this set of essays during the early days of the pandemic. She writes about writing, the intimationspeople in her neighborhood, the pandemic, and racism. These are the essays:

  • Peonies–Smith uses the viewing of a small garden of tulips as a way to discuss herself as a woman and a writer.
  • Something to Do–This essay explores the idea of creative acts as a way to fill time. She also explores why so many people felt the need to be productive in the early days of the pandemic and quarantine.
  • The American Exception–This essay discusses how the deaths that have come with the pandemic are no respecter of persons. She also discusses the American need to war against death and how Americans believe that death comes only to those who deserve it.
  • Suffering like Mel Gibson–This essay discusses privilege and how we all have privileges that we don’t recognize from within our own bubbles. None of our our sufferings look the same.
  • Screengrabs–This essay is composed of vignettes of people she interacts with on the periphery of her daily life. A postscript discusses contempt as if it were a virus.
  • Intimations–This essay is a list of people who have taught Smith. These are people who she feels like she has learned from and owes a debt. She lists each person and explains what she learned and her debt.

I noticed . . .

I noticed ant Smith is writing during the early days of the pandemic, the days before everything became so political and crazed.

I noticed that her screen grabs were of people on the periphery of her life–the people social distancing would not let you normally see.

I noticed that her idea of contempt as a virus pairs very well with an N.K. Jemisin short story I read recently, “Those Who Stay and Fight.”

I wondered . . .

I wondered how Smith’s thoughts and feelings have shifted as she’s processed the last year.

I wondered whether or not the nail place she went to and writes about has managed to stay in business over the last year.

It reminded me of . . .

I was reminded of a couple of stories in N.K. Jemisin’s How  Long ’til Black Future Month? There are a couple of stories like, “The Ones Who Stay and Fight,” which directly address racism.

Smith’s essay comparing racism to a virus also reminded me of Jemar Tisby’s How to Fight Racism. 

I wrote pages of quotes in my notebook after reading this book, and I’ll share some of my favorites tomorrow!

The Good Luck Charm

good luck charmLilah is having a bad day. She gets soaked by the rain. She accidentally leaves her coffee on the hood of her car. She gets served divorce papers. As she works her shift, she wondered how much worse the day can get.

The answer?

Much worse. Near the end of her shift, she finds out that her surrogate father, Martin, has been admitted to the hospital with a stroke.

Another bad thing. Martin’s son, Ethan, is sitting in martin’s room when she gets there. Ethan was her high school sweetheart who suddenly broke up with her and left her eight years ago after he was drafted into the NHL.

Ethan is apologetic. He’s been traded to Minnesota, and will be living locally this year. He wants a second chance, but can Lilah forgive him? Can she open her heart to him again?

I noticed . . .

I noticed that this is a second chance romance, which is my least favorite romance trope. I didn’t actually pick this one out though. I received it through my Book of the Draw subscription, a subscription that often seems to surprises me with the books the curator sends me.  I get the two book box, and received Every Note Played in the same box as this book. This subscription is always a great way for me to get books that I missed when they were new releases.

I noticed that Ethan really wants to pick up as if there was no gap in their relationship. He struggles to respect Lilah’s boundaries in his desire for constant closeness with Lilah.

I noticed that this book is far sexier than I had anticipated from the cover. If you’re not a fan of open door romance, this is one you’re going to want to pass on.

I noticed that Lilah has a lot of drama going on in her life. She has family issues, a missing father who comes back into her life, a distant mother, an ongoing divorce, and a struggle to get into graduate school. That’s in addition to the relationship issues with Ethan, both in the past and present. This book does some heavy lifting for a romance, and in a lot of ways tries to do too much.

I noticed that I really loved some of the secondary characters. I liked some of Ethan’s teammates. I really liked Lilah’s sister, Carmen, and her therapy patient, Emery. Ethan also has a brother that seems ripe for romance.

I wondered . . .

I wondered whether Lilah will be able to establish a relationship with her biological father.

I wondered about Carmen and Noah. Could there be another book with these characters?

I also wanted to hear more about the young, college student, Emery. She was so much fun.

I wondered if Lilah will be able to make space for herself in her own life and whether or not she will set up appropriate boundaries in her relationships. I really wanted to see Lilah get to a therapist because I don’t think she was truly ready for a new relationship, even if it was a second chance relationship.

I noticed that the author has several more hockey romances, and I wondered whether any of them were related to this book.

It reminded me of . . .

I was reminded of All I Ask, which was another second chance romance. The main character in this book feels like she has to choose between romance and career too.

I was also reminded of Intercepted. This is another sports romance, only involves my favorite sport to watch–football.

Three excellent quotes . . .

One of the things that has most amazed me as a mom to teenagers is how they remember their childhoods so much differently from how I remember them. So, I found this quote really meaningful:

It’s amazing how memories shift and change with time, or how one person’s recollection of events varies so greatly from another.

When I saw this quote, I thought of how we forget the faults of those who have passed away. When the relationship does not exist anymore, this quote becomes real:

Remembering all the best things is easy when you can pretend the rest never happened.

I also like this quote about decision making. I’ve really been thinking a lot about regret and it’s uselessness over the past few months. This quote illuminates that:

We make decisions based on what we think is right at the time, and those consequences can follow us, but they don’t cover the path we’re on forever. It’s what we take from that experience and how we allow it to impact the choices we make as we move forward that means the most.

Ultimately, I found this romance a little unsatisfying. I just think that Lilah had so many personal issues that she wasn’t ready for a romance. This made some of her decisions and the way that Ethan treated her in the book just a little untenable for me.

Shifting Sand

It seems that every time, over the past few years, that I think I have found a place of stability, something has happened to take that stability and to make it feel like shifting sand. It’s been damaging to my faith, and in damaging my faith, I think that my children’s faith has been damaged as well.

Most recently, things were starting to look like we had reached a stable new place in our lives, and then the pandemic happened. Along with that, there were the Black Lives Matter protests this summer, and the election and all of its fallout this fall. The church’s response has been pathetic. I find myself discouraged, and I wonder if I will ever truly use the Master of Divinity degree that I have spent so much time working to obtain.

It was in a funk on a Friday night that I found myself looking through my journals, and I found this quote that resonated with my soul.

Your lifestyle, your freedom, your approach to faith and meaning are shaped by large-scale factors. Factors out of our control, which we assume to be stable and secure, but which in reality can change suddenly.

–Mark Sayers, Disappearing Church

I never realize how quickly life will change until life does change. I never realize how deeply my feelings will be affected be life changes. I never realize how long it will take me to heal or how much I will need to lament before healing can come.

I’ve had this realization before. In 2010, near the end of the great recession, the company that I worked for went out of business. The week that I realized we were going out of business, I walked into church, and they were singing the old hymn “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand.” I found myself tearing up as I sang,

On Christ the solid rock I stand,

All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand

The sand may not be sinking in my life, but it definitely is shifting, and I am shifting along with it. Christ is a solid rock for me, but because he is a solid rock, I find that everything is shifting, including my feelings about other people, about church and about politics. It is a disconcerting and sometimes distressing place to be.

Claiming His Virgin

claiming his virginHelen has never seen the hunter who enters her dreams. He will only meet with her if she wears a blindfold. All Helen knows about this man is that his dominant ways are a perfect match for her and that his kisses make her burn with desire. Still, she wondered why her mate will not let her see him or give her his name.

Zee has been in the Hive wars, and he carries the scars to prove it. In fact, his scarring is so bad that he’s been known to frighten the women he is sworn to protect in his guard job at the Touchstone. He does not want to repulse his matched mate, so he felt he must hide his face from her–at least until she falls in love with him.

I noticed . . .

I noticed that this is a more tightly woven story than the story in many of the books.

I also noticed that this book was way more BDSM in feeling than some of the other novels. I found it super hot!

I noticed that this has the same group of friends as in His Virgin Mate. That was fun to see!

I wondered . . .

I wondered where Dani’s mate was.

I wondered what was going on with Bryn and Katie.

I wondered if Quinn will get his own book. I really liked him, and thought that he was a great friend for Zee!

It reminded me of . . .

I couldn’t help but think that this novella had strains of Beauty and the Beast in it.

I also, of course, thought of His Virgin Mate. I enjoyed Lexi and the other girls and their appearance in it. I’m not crazy about the whole “sacred order” of the three virginities, but the fun girl friendship more than makes up for that.

Yellow Wife

yellow wifePheby is a mulatto–the daughter of a slave and a rich plantation owner. She’s a slave on the same plantation, but her father has promised her freedom on her eighteenth birthday.

Unfortunately, things happen and Pheby never receives the freedom that was promised to her.

Instead, she ends up a slave at a slave jail in Richmond, Virginia. This place, called the Devil’s Half-Acre, is a place where Pheby will have to struggle with both her master’s kindness and his cruelty.

I noticed . . .

I noticed that there are no good choices for Pheby. Everything is a choice of the lesser of two evils where she has to decide what is going to bother her conscience the least.

I noticed that every time we think Pheby’s getting ahead, she’s jerked down again.

I also noticed that this story, although not true, is based on a strong, solid dose of historical research.

I wondered . . .

I wondered about the actual historical events. I wondered what accounts the author had read as well. She does list a few books in the author’s note, but the list is a little intense, so I haven’t spent much time with it.

I also wondered about Pheby’s life, and what it was like after the events in the book.

It reminded me of . . .

I was reminded of the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It’s been over twenty years since I read it though, so the details are a little fuzzy.

I was also reminded of the movie Harriet and a book about Harriet Tubman that I read the my kids. Pheby never escapes, but there are a lot of escapes and escape plans in the book, and so I thought of that movie.

Classic Myths to Read Aloud

This book of Greek and Roman myths is split into two sections. The first half of the book goes through classic myths to read aloudvarious popular myths like Jason and Golden Fleece and Orpheus and Eurydice. The second half of the book takes children through the longer stories of The Iliad, The Odyssey, and The Aeneid.

The stories are meant to be read-aloud. Storytellers are given notes about each story and a pronunciation guide. At the end of each 10-20 minute reading section, the author has an “a few words more” segment that explains how words from the story are related to words in modern English.

I noticed . . .

I noticed that this book is ideal for reading aloud.

I noticed that “A Few Words More” is a great vocabulary builder, especially for children who are studying Greek or Latin.

I also noticed that these stories are not for small children. It’s definitely more of a middle-elementary school age thing (or older). I read this with my nine-year-old, and I wouldn’t have used it with a younger child than that.

I wondered . . .

I wondered how the author decided which myths to cover. I also wondered why there wasn’t another book in this series. I wished we could have continued with some of the other myths. He has a couple of classic story read-alouds, and I might try one of those with my daughter soon.

It reminded me of . . .

I was reminded of another mythology collection that I read recently, Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. I listened to the audio read by the author, and it was just perfection. I also think it would be fine to listen to with children.

I was also reminded of two novels of Greek mythology that I have read in the past couple of years, Song of Achilles and Circe. Both are good, even though Circe is the better book. These are both very adult retellings, so don’t listen to them with the children around!

The Removed

the removedIt has been fifteen years since Ray-Ray Echota was killed in a police shooting. The Echotas are not doing okay. Grief over Ray-Ray has colored each remaining family member’s existence.

Maria is still journaling through her emotions while taking care of her husband, Ernest, as he slips into Alzheimers.

Sonja spends her time in solitude, establishing relationships with younger, unsavory men.

Edgar is a meth addict, spiraling downhill as he has troubles with his live-in girlfriend, Desiree.

I noticed . . .

I noticed that Hobson has strongly wove in Cherokee mythology in the story.

I also noticed that this book has a loose, ambiguous ending.

I noticed how much sunshine Maria and Ernest’s foster child brought into their life.

I wondered . . .

I wondered if Ernest would continue to improve or immediately reverse back into his Alzheimers.

I wondered about the mysterious Tsala. I never really successfully integrated that into my understanding of the story.

I wondered about the ongoing symbolism in the book.

It reminded me of . . .

For some reason, the dreamlike quality of this book reminded me Mexican Gothic.

Two excellent quotes . . .

This quote on death is the perfect attitude in my mind:

An elder had once taught not to be afraid of death because there is no death–there is only a change of worlds.

I also thought of the Native American religions and how connected to the Earth these religions are. I loved the optimism in this quote about connection to the Earth:

Beloved, the Earth will always speak to us when we need to hear her the most.

Both these beautiful quotes are enriching and helpful in teaching us how to live.

His Virgin Mate

Alexis Lopez is twenty-one and single. She’s a virgin and has never done anything more than kissing. Even his virgin matethe kissing has never actually turned her on.

Lexi is worried that she is a freak or something is wrong with her. She decides to sign up for the Interstellar Brides Program to be matched to a mate. The dreams that she has while undergoing the matching protocol are the first time that she has felt desire, and when Lexi actually meets her mate, she feels set on fire . . .

I noticed . . . 

I noticed that this is a planet we haven’t actually been to before. However, we were introduced to Everis in The Alien’s Mate, a book that I read at the beginning of January.

I noticed that women are definitely very highly regarded on this planet. 

I also noticed there is so much emphasis on the “sacred order” of the three virginities in this book. I thought, seriously?

I wondered . . .

I wondered what was going on with Lexi’s friend, Katie. I look forward to reading Katie and Dani’s books.

I also noticed how there were so many unattached men and so few women on this planet. What happened to all the women? I would think there’s be way more women than men because I would think some of the men would have died in the Hive wars.

It reminded me of . . .

I was reminded of The Bachelorette because there were so many men competing for the same dozen or so women.

I was also reminded of Ties that Tether because the main character in this book has a very persistent and unwanted suitor. Lexi has a super persistent suitor that she’s trying to extricate herself from.

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.