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Brown Girl, Brownstones (Virago modern…

Brown Girl, Brownstones (Virago modern classics) (original 1959; edition 1982)

by Paule Marshall

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398326,858 (3.8)25
Title:Brown Girl, Brownstones (Virago modern classics)
Authors:Paule Marshall
Info:Virago Press Ltd (1982), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 324 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:General Fiction, TBR, POC

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Brown Girl, Brownstones by Paule Marshall (1959)



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I had mixed feelings about this book. I liked the book because of the fact that the plot tells the story of a family who comes from an impoverished, but pristine island nation to a place that is a lot less friendly and accepting. It describes how the mother of the family struggles to keep her family afloat in the face of racism, poverty, and the desire for upward mobility while the father of the family has delusions, negative impulses, selfishness, and other traits that seek to destroy everything that they worked for. I did not, however, like the fact that the writing style of this book doesn't challenge readers to think about the social issues that face immigrant societies. The writing style also seemed forgettable, as it did not push me, the reader, to explore additional books that describe West Indian culture. The book did not hold my interest. The main idea of this book details two central characters as they overcome difficulties from many fronts, including society and the people that are closest to them. ( )
  j-plant | Nov 12, 2012 |
A young girl's examination of her Barbadian roots and growing individualism as she matures in Brooklyn during the Depression..
  goneal | May 25, 2012 |
I probably wouldn't have ever heard of Brown Girl, Brownstones if it hadn't been assigned for the African American Literature by Women course I'm taking this semester. However, it has a deserved place among novels about the immigrant experience and coming of age.

Brown Girl, Brownstones follows Selina Boyce from girlhood into college. In this time, Selina struggles over her allegiance to her father, Deighton, who romantically tries on careers in which he has no realistic future, and her mother, Silla, whose pragmatic obsession with purchasing their leased brownstone causes her to act ruthlessly. Between them and the outspoken cast of supporting characters, Selina has many options for how to model her own life.

The pages of Brown Girl, Brownstones fly by quickly, assisted by the realness of the characters' voices. I particularly enjoyed Marshall's use of Barbadian dialect, which helps to locate the novel in a particular time and place.

Brown Girl, Brownstones is an especially good choice for teenagers, but also for adults who are interested in stories set between the depression and the '50s. ( )
3 vote flourish_leslie | Jul 18, 2008 |
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In the somnolent July afternoon the unbroken line of brownstone houses down the long Brooklyn street resembled an army massed at attention.
The small fierce band of Barbadians who emigrated to the United States between 1900 and 1940 came to escape the brutal colonial exploitation of blacks in the West Indies. (Afterword)
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This is the story of the coming of age of Selina Boyce, daughter of Barbadian immigrants, living in Brooklyn through the Depression and the Second World War. Passionate, stubborn, reflective, Selina is caught between the ambitions of her hardworking mother, Silla, and the fantasies of her charming, lazy father. But Selina wants her own identity: she wants love, friendship and independence. We watch as Selina grows to womanhood and comes to realise that only by accepting the great dreams of both her parents can she take her life into her own hands...
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