Rating: 4/5 ⭐
When I first volunteered to read Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades, I expected your everyday coming-of-age story of “brown girls” growing up in Queens. While Andreades achieved this, it’s the poetic storytelling I didn’t expect yet absolutely loved. Instead of being a story with main characters, protagonists, and a central plot, it was more a collection of stories shared by brown girls. As I got closer to the end of the book, I noticed that it seemed less and less like fiction but more like real life. There were parts of the book, though not from Queens I, as a brown woman, I truly identified with. The book was split into parts that serve as purposeful dividers for each “brown girls” stage of life. The book examines different aspects of life like female friendship, being brown in America, and what it’s like to be a woman of color trying to find your way in this World.
Andreades did a great job framing the importance of female friendship throughout the book. In the beginning, all the girls made a pact always to be friends, and for many years, this was the case. Together they navigate microaggressions, white and brown boys, family expectations, death, and even the inevitable growing apart as they grow older. However, as they get older, their friendship doesn’t look the same but, that support system is always there. I think showing this dynamic of female friendships and how they change as the women grow is essential.
In summary, Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades is a beautiful collection of stories that navigate female friendships and the ins and outs of paving your way from the perspective of a woman of color. While Andreades talks about many different brown girls, she does a great job of highlighting that the struggle for identity in America is typically the same. This coming-of-age story is excellent for girls and women, young and old alike, and I would recommend it.
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