Brown Girl Dreaming Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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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.
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|Listening Length||3 hours and 55 minutes|
|Audible.ca Release Date||August 28 2014|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #43,227 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#23 in Poetry & Nursery Rhymes for Children
#38 in Biographies for Children (Audible Books & Originals)
#60 in Literary Biographies for Children
Top reviews from Canada
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Perhaps if my expectations had not been so high I would be giving this book a higher rating right now. As it is, I have positive and negative things to say about it. On the positive side, it is a lovely feel-good childhood memoir. It provided me when many, many, warm-and-fuzzy feelings throughout. You really feel that the author felt deeply loved as a child, although, if you read between the lines, it is pretty obvious that she was probably quite poor growing up, her father seems to have abandoned the family, and then her mother suddenly gets pregnant by an unidentified man, and the father of that boy (Roman) seems to be absent as well. Plus, the mother’s sister dies in a terrible accident and her brother spends time in jail. So, from an adult perspective, although tragedies befall this family (it certainly isn’t a bed of roses), the grandparents’ and mother’s love for the children is absolutely palpable and a delight to behold. The children clearly love and support one another as well, which personally I think is a rare gift. The character I loved the most was “Daddy”, the children’s grandfather; I could practically hear his voice, see his lean, work-worn body, and feel the love that emanated from him. It was sad when he passed away, but Woodson really showed the reader what a blessing he was in their lives.
On the negative side, as I said earlier, I was not too impressed with Woodson’s “poetry”. Perhaps if it had been marketed as “prose-poetry” it would have been more accurate. After a while, the fact that it was just prose with judiciously-placed line breaks got on my nerves. Writing good poetry is a different art form from writing good prose. Personally, I found her style too predictable to be called poetry. I feel that good poetry should, through veiling and unveiling, hint at nuanced meanings that can be interpreted in multiple ways, and this book didn’t provide that.
This week it received the greatest compliment of all: a student asked, "Do you have any more books like this?" I'm so glad this book exists.
Top reviews from other countries
Woodson is a black American, and tells her story as a `brown girl' born in 1963, both as her own, individual family story and the wider story of black history from a particular time and place. She is an award winning writer for children and teens, but her reach goes way beyond being confined to appeal `only to children'
In many ways, I think the challenge involved in recognising that children are completely capable of understanding great and subtle complexity of meaning, but that they may not have quite the sophistication of adult vocabulary, is a brilliant discipline for a writer - it hones their craft. Some writing about complexity for adults leads to writing becoming over fussy, even designed to confuse or show off dexterity, but the really excellent writer who chooses to write for a younger audience - like Woodson - somehow keeps all the layers of meaning held within simply arresting, clear images, clear language
I had to take this clear and pared down book extremely slowly and very carefully, anxious not to miss anything.
Woodson's words are spoken softly, but they are powerful, and her images rolled unstoppably over me, leaving me, many times, breathlessly weeping
The starting point, is a poem by Langston Hughes, the rest of the story is Woodson's
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow
Born in Ohio, but raised also in South Carolina, where her mother and her father's mother were from, she tells of an experience from the North and the South.
She reminds us that in 1963:
In Birmingham, Alabama, Martin Luther King Jr.
is planning a march on Washington, where
John F. Kennedy is president.
In Harlem, Malcolm X is standing on a soapbox
talking about a revolution
In Montgomery, only seven years have passed
since Rosa Parks refused
to give up
her seat on a city bus
She recounts the confusing experience of marital break-up, from the child's viewpoint, and the pain when families are torn apart, the conflicts when the people you love are no longer all living together - a sense that `home' is forever lost because it now belongs in several different places
Our feet are beginning to belong
in two different worlds-Greenville
and New York. We don't know how to come
To set against the pain of loss and breakup as relationships end and the older generation who were strong and powerful become frail and the ones to be looked after, is Jacqueline's secret excitement at beginning to master words, to discover that she is, she will be, a teller or stories
For days and days, I could only sniff the pages
hold the notebook close
listen to the sound the papers made.
Nothing in the world is like this-
a bright white page with
pale blue lines. The smell of a newly sharpened pencil
the soft hush of it
This would indeed be a wonderful book for a child, and probably an even more wonderful one for parents and children to find delight in together.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 25, 2019