“Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson Book Review



Being raised in South Carolina then later in New York, Woodson always felt torn between two worlds. Two worlds that never truly felt like home. Although there was segregation and racism in South Carolina, things weren’t any more accessible in New York. Being a Jehovah’s Witness meant conformity with rules her friends couldn’t comprehend. Despite all this, there was a deep family love that kept her standing tall.

Carlos Diaz

Woodson’s poems also divulge how she found her voice through writing, as well as her growing love of stories – including her hilariously sweet attempts at storytelling – the entire time exhibiting the first signs of the writer she was to become.
Woodson tells her memoir, “Brown Girl Dreaming,” from a first-person and present tense point of view. This allows her to communicate intimate thoughts and feelings with the reader directly, allowing them to see and feel things as she did. This also gives readers the sense of one friend sharing a story with another. Woodson does a phenomenal job of making readers feel like a part of her family, which is a recurring theme throughout the book and can be quite challenging to do. Woodson proves that it is possible to not only achieve this but to draw her readers in and keep them hooked with expressive and vibrant language.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and recommend it to those who are lovers of writing and poetry. Woodson does an impeccable job of exploring adult themes and ideas in such a way that a young reader can process and value it. Woodson beautifully describes how her eyes slowly opened to the world around her – and how she used writing to create a home for herself when other places couldn’t.

It is a challenge to read the novel slowly because Woodson manages to create a kind of suspense. As you continue reading, you can’t help but want for one more page, one more minute, one more sleepless night submerged in a world so beautiful and raw it is breathtaking. Indeed a world of words and wonder, Jacqueline Woodson managed the incredible feat of making sure you too will remember this young girl’s journey long after the last page is turned.