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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


Book 5/100: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming - Jacqueline Woodson

This was so beautifully written, and I love the idea of doing a memoir in verse. It seemed the perfect format to tell this story, to assemble hundreds of snapshots that make up a life.

I've read a handful of books by Jacqueline Woodson (Feathers, I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This, The House You Pass on the Way, and The Dear One), and while they were all good, I felt as if something were missing from each of them; there was something that remained open and sad and left me wanting just a little bit more. But Brown Girl Dreaming feels absolutely complete, every piece in place.

Of all the poems, I liked those about Jaqueline's upbringing as a Jehovah's Witness, the ones about her siblings, and the ones about her discovery of her identity as a writer the most. The ones about her baby brother broke my heart (and I really wanted to know who the baby's father was, but that probably wasn't of concern to Jacqueline as a child and so it is never addressed.) The photos at the end of Jacqueline's family are a nice touch, too.

This book really made me want to write a collection of poems about my own life, and I think it could be used well in writing classes. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that it didn't leave me feeling totally blown away, but I could see why it has received so much praise and acclaim, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see it take home the Newbury this year.