Reviews

The Women of Brewster Place, by Gloria Naylor

andrew61's review against another edition

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5.0

I can't quite remember from what podcast or programme I heard about this book , I think it was on The Women's prize for fiction podcast but I could be wrong, however I Love the opportunity this gave for me to discover this wonderful book and a writer who creates stunning prose while telling an absorbing and profound story about ordinary women leading extraordinary lives who would otherwise have been ignored.
The setting , Brewster Place, is a block of flats in New York which has seen better days. Through a series of chapters in which 7 women's stories are told we learn of their lives , misfortunes, indignities, prejudices , and treatment by men but it is laced with humour and poignancy. The book opens with Mattie Michael who is probably the core of the book around whom other lives connect, and arrives at Brewster Place having lost a house in which she had been secure having escaped a violent incident at her familial home. It isn't often a phrase leaps out at me but as the chapter ends she finishes "As she opened the door and entered the dingy hallway , a snowflake caught in her collar , melted, and rolled down her back like a frozen tear" . I had to put the book down for a moment after that point as Mattie had experienced men at their worst but then as we move on she fills the place with her love and support for those around her.
The other stories are diverse in the experiences demonstrating the uniqueness of the women's lives but the final chapter about two women, who living together find happiness but also prejudice will not fail to break your heart.
I know little about Gloria Naylor beyond a brief look at her biography but hers is a voice that I now want to explore and would heartily recommend this book.

neenor's review against another edition

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4.0

An amazing novel, one I’m surprised I’d never heard of before. Trigger warnings for the end, but other than that, a fantastic read.

jwelchreads's review against another edition

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emotional fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix

5.0

Beautifully written. 

the_flying_delph's review against another edition

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medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Loveable characters? Yes

5.0


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booksbythecup's review against another edition

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4.0

"Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it's all over. " ~The Women of Brewster Place

This book has finally come off my TBR and is now on my list of books I plan to purchase, reread and discuss with someone. (I sent random text to a friend who has read it long ago) Naylor has told the story of various women living on Brewster in a series of seven stories. The women from various backgrounds all have something in common--- surviving by learning to thrive despite hardship, setbacks and the mentality present in a world that seems to tell them to stay down because you will never be NOTHING. (grammatically incorrect yes but I think you get the point, yes) Many times I was riveted on the edge of my chair (well sofa) feeling a sort of kinship with many of the characters, seeing their faces in so many friends or family members today.

Another gem I reluctantly have to return to the library, but very happy to experience the writing that is Gloria Naylor. I will be reading Linden Falls at some point (a blurb in the back of this book mentions it and my library has it so you know, back to the library 😉) - and how satisfying to have read another National Book Award Winner.

nyashatarlia's review against another edition

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4.0

When reading please acknowledge my grammar is not the best as I am dyslexic.

This book is amazing !! The stories are amazing !! The writing is amazing !! It’s just amazing I loved it !!

The way the author travels through time is just done so beautifully that you don’t even know it’s happening, but at the same time you do.

Mattie story just broke my heart, she did not deserve the life she lived, her son was a brat, but was that her fault ? She was so desperate to protect him that he never knew how to protect himself, Miss Eva did try to warn her. She was definitely my favourite character.

Honestly this book is just an emotional rollercoaster, but it’s also so amazing (yeah I know I’ve use that word a lot), but I really don’t know how to express this book, it’s just ALOT!!

lmeyrueix4's review against another edition

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4.0

I was supposed to write this review many moons ago, i.e. when I had initially finished the book and still had the post-glow read. Unfortunately the best laid plans often go awry.

Although I did not maintain the post-glow read currently, I can definitely still say that this book was a true joy to read and I can see why it was developed into a show. The depth of the characters made you want to know more about them! You were definitely left wanting to spend more time getting to know each individual character.

I was most stricken by the character Cora Lee. Her childhood obsession with baby dolls that becomes an adult obsession with having babies of her own, speaks volumes to the concept of: “old habits die hard”. I was totally enchanted by this character, particularly given that I have no such affinity towards babies, so it was hard for me to grasp her obsession. But it seems that Cora Lee was most interested in the newness and freshness of babies. Babies represent what is pure in this world, and they are solely dependent on your for their care. Eventually they grow up and the world takes away this innocence that seems to fascinate Cora Lee so. Her marked indifference and almost disenchantment with her older children is particular, especially given that they were all babies at one point. However, it seems that for Cora Lee it is not about the person that the baby will become. Her focus is solely on the idea of a baby; she is not interested by the facets and differences between babies.

The other characters of this story are just as unique and enchanting, and will strike everyone in different ways. Everyone that reads this book will take to at least one of the characters.

Definitely a worthy read. One that will highlight for you the importance of maintaining relationships while also showing the importance of letting some of them go. You have to be picky; not all relationships are worthwhile.

Please read and happy adventuring!

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” – John Green

teacher2library's review against another edition

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5.0

I'm not usually a fan of short stories, but Gloria Naylor seamlessly weaves these together into a very strong narrative. You start thinking about the ways all these women's voices and experiences are the same and how connected we all are to each other. Couldn't put it down.

skyak's review against another edition

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dark emotional funny hopeful reflective sad tense fast-paced

5.0

justlydz_'s review against another edition

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emotional inspiring reflective sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75


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