The National Book Award-winning novel that launched the brilliant career of Gloria Naylor (1950-2016)
In her heralded first novel, Gloria Naylor weaves together the stories of seven women living in Brewster Place, a bleak-inner city sanctuary, creative a powerful, moving portrait of the strengths, struggles, and hopes of black women in America. Vulnerable and resilient, openhanded and openhearted, these women forge their lives in a place that in turn threatens and protects - a common prison and a shared home. Adapted into a 1989 ABC miniseries starring Oprah Winfrey, The Women of Brewster Place is a contemporary classic - and a touching and unforgettable read.
The Sexy Nerd's Review. . .
Wow! As I always say, read the book instead of seeing the movie first. The book was pleasantly better than the movie ever could be.
I could see a little something of these women’s lives mirrored in my own in some ways. Mattie Michael was a naïve young woman born to very religious parents. Mattie’s parents had high hopes for her to make something of herself, until one day Mattie and a slick young man from her neighborhood took a walk that led to a lifetime of heartaches.
Etta Mae Johnson was one of those women who enjoyed being “kept.” She was what Betty Wright sang about, “the clean up woman.” Etta didn’t mind sleeping with married men as long as their pockets ran deep, and his male “package” ran deeper. But Etta knew that her ways wasn’t going to sustain her through life.
Cora Lee who loved baby dolls from the moment she was born grew up to have a whole army of baby dolls that were live. I believe I counted nine children. Good grief! People thought she was a little slow in the mind, but Cora knew something that others didn’t.
Kiswana was from a new generation trying to make a difference for herself and her people. Her original name was Melanie, but don’t you dare call her by her birth name. Damned what her mother thought about changing her name. She was of the black race and about her people and no one was going to change her mind—that is until she has a rather deep conversation with her mother that gives her quite the awakening.
The Two (Theresa and Lorraine) were very interesting indeed. They were what some called “different.” What’s different, Lorraine wondered? Two people sharing their lives together and being closer than close. What on earth could be wrong with that? Factor in neighbors’ prying eyes and making false accusations and rumors and you’ve got yourself one hell of a story, right? Hmm?
OMG, I could not get enough of these women. Each of these lives intersected like a road map. Their commonality was that they loved hard, and life kicked them down at every turn, but no matter what, they never gave up on themselves or others. The lessons these women had to endure would carry them through the rest of their lives. They were bound by each’s blood, sweat and tears, literally. As you embark on these women’s lives, you will feel their pain. I felt it in some of these stories that I cried on a few sections of the book. This was an incredible book and one I’m so glad I finally read for Black History Month. What a way to pay homage to my people. I think Kiswana would be proud.
The Sexy Nerd gives The Woman of Brewster Place five extra bricks to add to the wall that symbolized captivity, loss and eventually strength. What an incredible story. If you saw the movie and never read the book, I encourage you to do so. It’s not at all like the book. It touches the surface somewhat, but nothing like what you might think.
Until next time, Nerds, you know what to do.