Posted by : Halima Khait Monday, July 09, 2012

So, last week's time of reflection threw off my posting flow a little bit, but it's okay, sometimes we need to take time to think.  The downside is, I'm more than halfway done reading Devil in a Blue Dress and I haven't given my thoughts on Manchild in the Promised Land yet.

This is the autobiography of Claude Brown, published in 1965, which recounts how it was coming of age in Harlem in the '50s.  I liked it a lot and gave it four out of five stars.

As far as the story, it was what you'd expect from an account of a man who made something of himself in spite of all odds being stacked against him.  The thing that stood out about this book was Brown's writing style.  Reading it made me feel like I was in his thoughts.  When the book opens, Brown is about five years old, and his thoughts sound like those of a five-year-old child.  Over the course of the book, his writing reflects the thought process of whatever season he was in in his life.  He was also skilled in capturing his thoughts and emotions when dealing with complicated life situations.  These parts of the book felt very human and often provided humorous anecdotes.  All of this made the book enjoyable, but it also gave me the sense of Harlem in the '50s as opposed to feeling like I was reading an analytical account.

The downside to this stream of conscious writing style is that because the book is written how people think, the story was sometimes circular.  This resulted in some redundancy which was a little irritating because the autobiography was so good, I almost felt like I was reading a novel and was expecting a linear plot.

All in all, it was a good book and it comes highly recommended by me.

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