The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor
This novel explores the lives of seven women in Brewster Place, a ghetto that is shut off from the rest of the city by a brick wall. The women’s names are: Mattie, Etta Mae, Lucielia, Kiswana, Cora Lee, Lorraine, and Theresa. The novel is divided into seven stories. These women do not start off living in Brewster Place; different circumstances in the human condition brought them there. The main character is Mattie Michael, since she is present in most of the stories. After the story of Mattie’s arrival, the novel continues with the rest of the women and their narratives.
When I first read The Women of Brewster Place, I was very surprised since Gloria Naylor published this novel before graduating from her Bachelors degree. The themes and plot of this novel are very intriguing and, as many African American novels, no matter what happens the characters always have hope and a fire to keep on fighting. The themes of community, love, sisterhood, oppression and liberation are by no means new, but Naylor manages to intricately introduce these and connect them with the history of the African American culture following the Civil Rights Movement.
Also, Naylor’s descriptions of both the characters and of Brewster Place are very detailed and relatable. By the end of the book you feel as if you know these women and have shared things with them that will stay with you for the rest of your life. You laugh and you cry with these women and with Brewster Place, since it’s as if Brewster Place were alive and a character on its own.
One of the most important things to take away from this novel is that it does not matter where you live you should always have love, community and the responsibility to improve.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Let me know if you have read it!