Sunday, 27 June 2010

Brown girl, Brownstones (Marshall)

Brown girl, brownstones is the coming of age story of Selina, a Carribean-American who lives in New York in the 1950s. Her parents emigrated from Barbados, and the book gives a fantastic insight into the experiences of the Barbadian community in the city. Selina has to deal with integrating her parent's values and attitudes based on their life in Barbados with life in New York, both the insular Barbadian community and the wider American community where racism is a problem. Her parents are very different; Silla is hardworking, and Deighton, her father is somewhat lazy, with with dreams for his daughter. Thus there is much to feed into Selina's discovery of her identity.

The book is apparently somewhat autobiographical; Marshall's own parents emigrated during the First World War and Marshall grew up in Brooklyn. I found it an interesting book because I knew very little about this group of immigrants. I enjoyed reading the novel, although I struggled with the dialect used at times and found some bits of the book overly descriptive.

It's just been published once by Virago with an original green cover.

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