Motherless August is coming of age in Another Brooklyn, the pre-gentrification 1970s version of the borough. Her father transferred August and her brother to Bushwick from a town down south, the idyllically named SweetGrove. At first the children are forbidden to go outside, but slowly their liberty increases and August makes best friends with a trio of girls, two of whom are also transplants.
The story is told, not quite in verse, like Woodson's revered Brown Girl Dreaming, but in short paragraphs with space around them to let you fill in the prose with your own imaginings or emotion. August often leaves space textually, as well, inviting the reader to consider her an unreliable narrator when she declares something a memory.
Toward the end of the novel, August likens Bushwick itself to a memory.
Linden,Palmetto,Evergreen,Decatur,Woodbine--this neighborhood began as a forest. And now the streets were named for the treeds that once lived here.
Earlier in the novel, August the adult has come back to Bushwick and cannot engage with the trees that were the Bushwick of her youth. It's a beautiful, poignant, slip of a book at 170 pages. I look forward to enough time passing that I can read it again.