Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

I read Brown Girl Dreaming for Booktubeathon, and these are my very unstructured, weird, thoughts.

The book
This is a memoir of Jacqueline Woodson’s life when she was a child. She grew up in both North Carolina, with her grandparents, and in New York, with her mother. She was born in 1963 and grew up on the tail end of Jim Crow, and with the growing awareness of the civil rights movement. It’s written as a poetry collection, but it tells her story until she’s about 10, I guess.

Oh it’s so beautiful. It’s so gorgeous. I read it in a couple of hours. I pretty much devoured it.

I don’t really read much poetry, but this was really beautiful, and it was pretty easy to read. It was a very weird experience to read a sort of continuous narrative written in individual poems. It was magical though. It was a bit weird, but it was a beautiful way to tell a story.

It was interesting to see how different New York and North Carolina was in the 60s. It’s obviously around the time of the civil rights movement and it was interesting to see how different it was in the north and south. In North Carolina when the laws change Jackie’s grandmother still insists on sticking to the segregated areas. In New York Jackie’s mother is tougher, more confrontational, and it’s slightly easier to be confrontational. It’s obviously not unproblematic, but it’s so different from the south.

There are so many sweet little moments. I realize that this is Woodson’s life, and these things probably happened, but they’re just very beautifully written. There’s this amazingly beautiful moment between Woodson and her best friend. Woodson has sort of felt weird and outside of normal people’s lives all the time, and in just one sentence her friendship with her best friend is just cemented and it was so small, and so sweet, and so gorgeous. I’m not making too much sense.

I love that Woodson wanted to be a writer her whole life, and struggling with not managing to get words to cooperate. She feels like she’s silly for wanting to be a writer when she doesn’t know how to make words cooperate. I loved her for being small and timid and awkward and gorgeous, sweet and magical. I just… she’s so sweet. I’m rambling like fuck.

Anyway. It was beautiful to read how the US was through the eyes of a child. She tries to understand why her family acts the way they do, why the world is the way it is.

I feel like I’m just rambling now. I can’t really explain why I love it so much. It’s just so beautiful and poignant. The poetry is gorgeous. The structure is gorgeous and amazing. It’s just so beautiful. It’s a wonderful way to tell the story. It didn’t get in the way of the story, which is great. I loved it.