skip to Main Content

Read With Us: The Women of Brewster Place Discussion Time

Okay, readers, it’s time to get down to it and talk about The Women of Brewster Place. I’ll tell you, I read this back in September and my memory is . . . not great. I should have watched the movie version with Oprah, both Kym and Bonny recommended it, but I just never made the time. We’ll just have to muddle through this discussion based on my recollections and some questions to get you thinking.

I’m always fascinated by stories about women, how they interact with each other, how they interact with men, how they find their places in the world. I’m going to ask just a few questions related to the women in this book and I hope you will find something worthy of discussing.

  • What do you think of the novel’s structure? How does each woman’s individual voice reinforce the novel’s themes as a whole?
  • Each of these women is capable of enormous love, but they are often hurt by their loved ones. What do you think Naylor is saying about a woman’s capacity for love? Is this sort of love “worth it”? Would these women be happier if they had hardened their hearts to those who eventually let them down?
  • Many of these women came from the South and Naylor portrays it as both a land of plenty and a land of harsh deprivation. How are these women’s lives different living in the North–are they happier? more fulfilled? more subject to racial bias? Is there more opportunity for them in Brewster Place than in the South?

I look forward to reading your thoughts on these questions. Don’t forget to check out Kym’s and Bonny’s blogs today, too, discussions are taking place all over blogland! And if you’d like to join us for our Zoom discussion tonight at 7:00pm it’s not too late – just let me know and I’ll make sure you get an invite!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. I almost always enjoy novels that are interconnected stories (Olive Kitteridge and Olive, Again) and TWoBP is no exception. Each woman’s voice struck me as variations on the theme of looking for home and love. In answer to the second question, I do think that the women would have been happier if they could have hardened their hearts to those who let them down (especially Ciel with Eugene). So many poor choices, but we don’t always choose who we fall in love with or our eyes are clouded by hope. I hope we have a good discussion tonight!

  2. Expanding on comments I left on Bonny’s and Kym’s pages, I rate this novel’s structure highly. I’m amazed by this debut, the maturity of the writing style. The way the story advanced through years with just a few sentences. And I, too, enjoy a book with separate story lines interconnecting characters.

    As for poor choices, …”there but for the grace of God go I.” Hindsight is a grand thing, and I’ve done plenty of dumb things that could have turned out poorly. Even deadly. So I won’t judge. But it’s hard to pick between the harsh worlds Gloria Naylor presents. The cruel freedoms of the south. The restrictive protection of Brewster Place. Perhaps I’m so wishy-washy because I just finished the book Sunday night, and my brain is still turning it over. This should be an interesting discussion this evening.

  3. I do enjoy interconnected stories. I admitted on another blog that I had trouble at first keeping everyone place. I will have to watch the movie as it may help tie all the ends together for me.

Comments are closed.

Back To Top