Skip to main content

Three Girls from Bronzeville: A Uniquely American Memoir

I've been reading quite a bit lately, picking up and putting down various titles and genres. Most of my reviews are posted via Goodreads, but every once in a while I stumble onto a 5-star book that demands to be shared here.  Three Girls from Bronzeville:  A Uniquely American Memoir of Race, Fate, and Sisterhood debuts on Sept 7, 2021 and is available to pre-order. (I received a digital Advanced Review Copy via NetGalley.com.)

Cover image Three Girls from Bronzeville
After a career of writing about other people, author Dawn Turner tackles her own coming of age story, skillfully choosing what and how to share her personal experiences growing up in the 1970s with her younger sister and best friend in this powerfully written memoir.

Living in the historic Bronzeville section south of Chicago, these three children of working class parents are inseparable until life draws them on separate paths to adulthood. Although I recognize the historic people associated with Bronzeville (Ida B. Wells, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Coleman, Richard Wright – to name a very few), I am not familiar with Chicago neighborhoods and relied on a map to get a sense of its physical location. If anything, this endeared me more to the story because I could be present in the descriptive recreation of her childhood home without any preconceptions. The author beautifully juxtaposes her family structure within the neighborhood, connecting the original three girls from Bronzeville with the current girls, and Lordy, Lordy, Lordy, the passage of time that consumes it all.

Her memoir richly captures the poignant message that it is up to each individual to find and adhere to a plan for their life. Without one, they are swallowed up by life’s experiences and circumstances. Dawn uses these circumstances to get into college, where she learned how to develop and manage her plan.

While our future is dependent upon our individual ability to recognize and seize opportunity through our own personal determination and hard work, seeing that opportunity often requires others – as guides and mentors. Yet, people can only do so much for others. As Dawn repeatedly tried to be a positive influence, encouraging her sister and best friend, she could not live their lives for them. They made their own choices and experienced more challenging hardships as a result. Also evident throughout the story are the serious effects of recreational drug use in America, intensified with the introduction of crack cocaine in the 1980s. In some ways, “Three Girls from Bronzeville,” shares broad-stroke commonality with J. D. Vance’s bestseller, “Hillbilly Elegy.”

With incredible vulnerability and authenticity, Dawn Turner shares with us some of the most important people who shaped her life – parents, grandmother, aunt, uncle, sister, best friend, teachers, classmates, spouse, in-laws, and daughter. Never perfect, but always real, her story is honest, direct, sometimes shocking, and often sad. I genuinely appreciated her invitation to visit her childhood, to embrace one’s loved ones, and see the long hard work that leads to understanding and forgiveness.

I highly recommend this book.



Popular posts from this blog

Prayer to End the School Year

Another school year is coming to an end.  And what a year the 2017-2018 school year was..... The events of the last 9 months have made me not only thankful to see it end but needing to get on my knees to Thank God for many things.  This school year began with Hurricane Harvey hitting our area and ended with the devastating school shooting at nearby Santa Fe High School. In the middle of the crisis around us there were so many beautiful things, events and people that touched and changed our community and family for the better.  Let's just start with the teachers and administrators who have interacted with my kids this year...  A special social studies teacher that made a fast friend out of my geography obsessed daughter, an ELA teacher who slowly won my oldest daughter over with her love of the written word, a soccer trainer who pushed my son harder than he thought he could handle, and then helped him recognize how that hard work paid off.  What about a school nurse who repeated

My Favorite Catholic Children's Bibles

How do you select a Catholic Children's Bible?  Which children's bible is best for my kids?  Those are questions I get asked all the time.  Searching in my house I discovered almost a dozen different Catholic Bibles for kids or youth on our shelves. When looking for a children's bible or book of bible stories for children, there are several things to take into consideration.  How old is the child?  Do you want something easy to read in story form or a bible with scripture text?  How big or heavy is the book? Is the children's bible a keepsake to commemorate a special event like a baptism, first communion or confirmation? And the answers to these questions might change as the child grows and develops or you have multiple children. With those questions in mind, I'll delve into the Catholic Children's Bibles and Bible Stories we like best of those in our home. My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories Compiled by Hei

12 Quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta

St. Teresa of Calcutta made a deep impression on me as a young girl as I watched her on tv and in news. Who doesn't remember the iconic picture of Mother Teresa with Princess Diana splashed across all magazines, newspapers and news shows?  To me, Saints were people who lived a long time ago, but here she was, a saint in the making.  Mother Teresa was a role model of how to become a Saint in our modern world, by giving her life to God through her dedication to the poor. On her feast day, I want to share with you a few of my favorite quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta.   Her words are seemingly simple and straightforward but packed with meaning.  My selection comes out of a new favorite book I picked up called, Mother Teresa: Her Essential Wisdom by Carol Kelly-Gangi.  This little book contains hundreds of quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta centered around specific themes as well as a summary of her biography and quotes about her from others.  "God does not demand that