Running into a long-ago friend sets memories from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything—until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant—a part of a future that belonged to them.
But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion.
Published 2nd February 2017
Should Read, 2.5 stars
Read from 14th to 17th March
The reason I picked this up is because I had read one of her stories in Flying Lessons & Other Stories and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for this book. I read this in two sittings and the whole time I was reading it I just wanted to be reading something else. It’s not that this is a bad book, it’s simply that I didn’t connect with the writing style.
So I’ll talk about the positive because it’s hard to quantify the negatives. The difference is that I would tell people to read this even though I didn’t enjoy it.
So I don’t really go out of my way to pick up diverse books, I would rather read books according to their merit than simple being ‘diverse’. I come from quite a multicultural city and have grown up with friends and working with people from all different backgrounds and creed. The main thing I really liked about this was the exploration of religion and that of changing ones religion. I believe that family starts out Christian but not devout and then move to Islam. I liked how it explored this dynamic and how our main character, August, dealt with this.
I liked the story and the struggle; there was two parts to it. August’s life and friends and coming from an area on the poverty line but not being classed as poor, and her dealing with the separation from her mother. I liked the group of friends to some extent but there wasn’t really any relationship or connection. In all honesty it was pretty hard to relate or feel sympathy for her.
The whole story was written in a sort of memory way and I hated that it kept being referred to “this is memory”. Like there was no need for that in my opinion, it just came off a pretentious for me which made it harder to relate to the situation. Although we were meant to be in August’s head it felt like we were in third person, that August wasn’t really part of herself.
I enjoyed the end where we see what she does with her life and what she became, that seemed way more interesting to me. I would maybe have liked it to be more interwoven with her past.
There’s just not much else I can say. I would recommend it to people because I think it includes some important issues and shows some really good insights. It’s such a short book and it won’t take you long to read so if you come across it then you should pick it up.
That’s all folks!