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Three Girls from Bronzeville: A Uniquely American Memoir of Race, Fate, and Sisterhood

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They were three Black girls. Dawn, tall and studious; her sister, Kim, younger by three years and headstrong; and her best friend, Debra, already prom-queen pretty by third grade. They bonded as they roamed the concrete landscape of Bronzeville, a historic neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, the destination of hundreds of thousands of Black folks who fled the ravages of They were three Black girls. Dawn, tall and studious; her sister, Kim, younger by three years and headstrong; and her best friend, Debra, already prom-queen pretty by third grade. They bonded as they roamed the concrete landscape of Bronzeville, a historic neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, the destination of hundreds of thousands of Black folks who fled the ravages of the Jim Crow South. These third-generation daughters of the Great Migration come of age in the 1970s, in the warm glow of the recent civil rights movement. It has offered them a promise that they will have more opportunities, rights, and freedoms than any generation of Black Americans in history. But the girls have much more immediate concerns: hiding under the dining room table and eavesdropping on grown folks’ business; collecting secret treasures; and daydreaming about their futures. And then fate intervenes, sending them careening in wildly different directions. There’s heartbreak, loss, displacement, and even murder. Three Girls from Bronzeville is a memoir that chronicles Dawn’s attempt to find answers. It’s a celebration of sisterhood, a testimony to the unique struggles of Black women, and a tour-de-force about the complex interplay of race, class, and opportunity, and how those forces shape our lives and our capacity for resilience and redemption.


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They were three Black girls. Dawn, tall and studious; her sister, Kim, younger by three years and headstrong; and her best friend, Debra, already prom-queen pretty by third grade. They bonded as they roamed the concrete landscape of Bronzeville, a historic neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, the destination of hundreds of thousands of Black folks who fled the ravages of They were three Black girls. Dawn, tall and studious; her sister, Kim, younger by three years and headstrong; and her best friend, Debra, already prom-queen pretty by third grade. They bonded as they roamed the concrete landscape of Bronzeville, a historic neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, the destination of hundreds of thousands of Black folks who fled the ravages of the Jim Crow South. These third-generation daughters of the Great Migration come of age in the 1970s, in the warm glow of the recent civil rights movement. It has offered them a promise that they will have more opportunities, rights, and freedoms than any generation of Black Americans in history. But the girls have much more immediate concerns: hiding under the dining room table and eavesdropping on grown folks’ business; collecting secret treasures; and daydreaming about their futures. And then fate intervenes, sending them careening in wildly different directions. There’s heartbreak, loss, displacement, and even murder. Three Girls from Bronzeville is a memoir that chronicles Dawn’s attempt to find answers. It’s a celebration of sisterhood, a testimony to the unique struggles of Black women, and a tour-de-force about the complex interplay of race, class, and opportunity, and how those forces shape our lives and our capacity for resilience and redemption.

30 review for Three Girls from Bronzeville: A Uniquely American Memoir of Race, Fate, and Sisterhood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Audiobook…read by Janina Edwards Dawn and Kim, (sisters), and Debra (friend) - were three Black Women- [third generation of ‘The Great Migration’] - who grew up on Chicago’s south side…in the historic Bronzeville district, where African-American life and culture had/has a strong sense of pride. Hundreds of thousands of blacks migrated to the South side of Chicago during the devastation of the Jim Crow years of forced racial segregation. The girls had more freedom - in the 70’s - than black women d Audiobook…read by Janina Edwards Dawn and Kim, (sisters), and Debra (friend) - were three Black Women- [third generation of ‘The Great Migration’] - who grew up on Chicago’s south side…in the historic Bronzeville district, where African-American life and culture had/has a strong sense of pride. Hundreds of thousands of blacks migrated to the South side of Chicago during the devastation of the Jim Crow years of forced racial segregation. The girls had more freedom - in the 70’s - than black women did just a decade prior —they had hope, dreams, close bonds, and family support….. but disturbing signs begin to slowly and painfully reveal that not each girl was immune from the world’s darker impulses. This is a very heart rendering memoir- that reads like a novel. Dawn explores our human quest for connection as she exposes the traps that life —and we - set for ourselves….. Told with engaging storytelling skill, Dawn not only pinpoints the moment a person is altered — by chance or fate - or action not taken - she unveils the flaws of being human - with unexpected turns. To be left with questions of ‘why’ ….is the most human question of all… Why me? Why them? …..but sometimes there just are no clear answers to these questions…. There are stories that beg to be told - memoirs that beg to be written… and “Three Girls From Bronzeville”….is one of them. Dawn Turner - an Award winning journalist and novelist took great care telling this true story…. My one small quibble….is that although the storytelling is definitely intimate — powerful - tragic with redemptive and reflective aspects - at times it was repetitive—a little editing was needed. But….overall….it was a story that pulls on our heart strings.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Raymond

    A very interesting book that tells the journey of three Black women in the Bronzeville neighbor of Chicago. It did remind me alot of The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates and The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League but where those books focused on Black men this is one of a few books that do the same for Black women. Turner's writing is very good and it helps that she is journalist, very clear and readable. There was one point where A very interesting book that tells the journey of three Black women in the Bronzeville neighbor of Chicago. It did remind me alot of The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates and The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League but where those books focused on Black men this is one of a few books that do the same for Black women. Turner's writing is very good and it helps that she is journalist, very clear and readable. There was one point where I wondered how this book would have read if Debra had written it. She seemed to have the most interesting story. It may have been even better if Dawn and Debra had written this book together. Thanks to NetGalley, Simon and Schuster, and Dawn Turner, for a free ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Clif Hostetler

    This is a memoir of growing up in Chicago’s south side Bronzeville District. The experiences recounted in this book are many and varied, but the heart of the story is the author’s reflection on her own life’s path, and the pondering of why and how her life diverged so drastically from the lives of the two girls she grew up closest to — her younger sister Kim and her childhood best friend Debra Trice. How did she end up in a successful journalism and writing career while her sister died of chroni This is a memoir of growing up in Chicago’s south side Bronzeville District. The experiences recounted in this book are many and varied, but the heart of the story is the author’s reflection on her own life’s path, and the pondering of why and how her life diverged so drastically from the lives of the two girls she grew up closest to — her younger sister Kim and her childhood best friend Debra Trice. How did she end up in a successful journalism and writing career while her sister died of chronic alcoholism at age twenty-three and Debra served about twenty years in prison for murder. The first half of the book describes their growing up years so by the time it’s evident that their paths are going in different directions I as a reader was emotionally pulled into the world of these girls and their families. Thus the death of her sister and the drug induced murder committed by Debra were deeply felt events for me as a reader. These three girls were from families that loved them and encourage them to do well in school. Thus they may have lived in the heart of a big city surrounded by plenty of temptations, but they were not without a support system. Thus it was painful to read of the diverging paths they followed when they truly had different choices available. Of the many stories and details shared in this memoir, I noted one critical detail in the author’s life that was different from that of her sister and friend. In junior high she had a male friend who happened to be gay (thus early pregnancy wasn’t a threat). He decided to apply to enter an advanced study high school program sponsored by the University of Chicago. The author decided to also apply after being encouraged to do so my this friend. They both were accepted, and then the author says she spent the next four years competing to keep up with her friend academically. The author admits she would have never have known about or had any motivation to enter that academic program if she hadn’t been encouraged to do so by this friend. I think this friend at this particular time in her life made all the difference in the world. Late in the book the author tells of a five hour telephone conversation she had with this high school friend after many years of not seeing each other. It was in this conversation that he told her that the only reason he applied to that advanced program was to avoid gym class. Who would have thought that fear of a gym class could make such a difference for two people. Regarding the differences in her life from that of her friends the author at one point admits: “There but for the grace of God go I.” The following is taken from the end of the book’s narrative:Sometimes I think about the girls Kim, Debra and I once were, and it astounds me the paths we took. I used to believe that it was their daring that led to their undoing, and that ours was a story about choices—three girls that made vastly different ones. But it’s really a story about second chances, who gets them, who doesn’t, who makes the most of them. I thought about how much my sister’s death and my best friend’s imprisonment changed me, and how they continue to shape me and the stories I tell. In that way our separate roads have merged into one, and we are forever connected. Indeed the author herself experienced a second chance herself when she was placed on academic probation after her first year in college. Instead of giving up she decided to work harder, then aced a semester at a community college, and consequently earned the right to reenter the University of Illinois. She managed to graduate in four years in spite of this early stumble.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Quirkyreader

    I got this as a goodreads giveaway. Thank you Simon and Schuster. This book is a good continuation of The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration. I felt like Ms. Turner was carrying the story on with her families history. It is also a story of how three very close people’s lives can take different turns. Mostly, I enjoyed reading about a part of Chicago that I only saw from afar on the EL or driving near on one of the city’s highways. I got this as a goodreads giveaway. Thank you Simon and Schuster. This book is a good continuation of The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration. I felt like Ms. Turner was carrying the story on with her families history. It is also a story of how three very close people’s lives can take different turns. Mostly, I enjoyed reading about a part of Chicago that I only saw from afar on the EL or driving near on one of the city’s highways.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Traci Thomas

    I was disappointed by this one. It was slow going (didn’t get interested until page 170) and lacked a clear point of view. I felt the author really played into respectability politics as well as the myth of boot straps rehabilitation. Certainly had poignant moments but the structure and voice were a miss for me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Andre

    There but for the Grace of God go I. This book exemplifies that sentence. This memoir is written like a novel, a testament to Dawn Turner’s talent as a novelist. A very entrancing story of three girls from Bronzeville, Chicago, Illinois. Two sisters and a best friend. They all started out in similar near middle class circumstances, obviously Dawn and her sister Kim sharing the same upbringing separated by a mere three years. Debra becomes Dawn’s friend in the third grade and they began a life lo There but for the Grace of God go I. This book exemplifies that sentence. This memoir is written like a novel, a testament to Dawn Turner’s talent as a novelist. A very entrancing story of three girls from Bronzeville, Chicago, Illinois. Two sisters and a best friend. They all started out in similar near middle class circumstances, obviously Dawn and her sister Kim sharing the same upbringing separated by a mere three years. Debra becomes Dawn’s friend in the third grade and they began a life long friendship. How do people begin in the same place but end up entirely in different lots. Is it luck? Wrong choices? Are some people born bad or destined for greatness? The reader will contemplate these possibilities as you follow Dawn along her journey from childhood to professionally accomplished adult. Why hadn’t Kim and Debra followed along that path. What derailed them? I can’t say much more without giving you the story and I’d much rather you get this tale from Dawn Turner than me. I can say this is a fast read, and moves like a novel with speed and snappy prose. You will laugh, maybe cry, but always you will be rejoicing in the story, and feel gratitude for Dawn having shared it. I found this book to be appealing and revealing, and although there is some sadness to contend with, it was an uplifting journey. I urge you to add this to your “Read Now” shelf. Thanks to Edelweiss and Simon & Schuster for an advanced DRC. Book drops September 7, 2021

  7. 4 out of 5

    Susie | Novel Visits

    Nonfiction has not been my thing this year and that makes me a little sad. Maybe because there has been a lot going on in my life, I’m feeling like I need to escape and nonfiction can’t always do that for me. So, when I say I found a memoir that I thoroughly enjoyed, 𝐓𝐇𝐑𝐄𝐄 𝐆𝐈𝐑𝐋𝐒 𝐅𝐑𝐎𝐌 𝐁𝐑𝐎𝐍𝐙𝐄𝐕𝐈𝐋𝐋𝐄 by Dawn Turner, I hope you’ll take note! ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Journalist and novelist Dawn Turner writes about growing up in the 70’s in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. Mainly working class with some subsidized housi Nonfiction has not been my thing this year and that makes me a little sad. Maybe because there has been a lot going on in my life, I’m feeling like I need to escape and nonfiction can’t always do that for me. So, when I say I found a memoir that I thoroughly enjoyed, 𝐓𝐇𝐑𝐄𝐄 𝐆𝐈𝐑𝐋𝐒 𝐅𝐑𝐎𝐌 𝐁𝐑𝐎𝐍𝐙𝐄𝐕𝐈𝐋𝐋𝐄 by Dawn Turner, I hope you’ll take note! ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Journalist and novelist Dawn Turner writes about growing up in the 70’s in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. Mainly working class with some subsidized housing, Bronzeville was a largely Black area of the city, where the recent civil rights movement brought hope for greater opportunities. Dawn, her sister Kim and her best friend Debra led lives much like any other little girls growing up in a big city. They shared hopes, dreams and lots of laughs. But as adolescence hit and Debra’s family moved, the three had less and less in common and their lives began to move in wildly different directions.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ The memoir chronicles the challenges each girl/woman faced as she grew into adulthood. Turner held a laser focus on what she wanted and how to achieve it, but Kim and Debra struggled to find their dreams and overcome the many obstacles in their ways. I found 𝘛𝘩𝘳𝘦𝘦 𝘎𝘪𝘳𝘭𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘉𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘻𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘦 to be compelling, honest, sad, and yet ultimately uplifting. Add this one to your nonfiction TBR. I’m glad I did!⁣ Thanks to Simon & Schuster for both an e-galley and finished copy of this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ang

    Do I...like memoirs now? In all seriousness, this was really wonderful. Turner knows how to write beautiful sentences, and the introspection in her writing really spoke to me. I also really LOVED the way she wrote about the older lady relatives in her life--her mom, her aunt, and her granny. The love and care she feels for them just...shines through. Of course, the central two women in this life, besides her, are also spoken of beautifully, reverently. A wonderful read. Thanks to the publisher and Do I...like memoirs now? In all seriousness, this was really wonderful. Turner knows how to write beautiful sentences, and the introspection in her writing really spoke to me. I also really LOVED the way she wrote about the older lady relatives in her life--her mom, her aunt, and her granny. The love and care she feels for them just...shines through. Of course, the central two women in this life, besides her, are also spoken of beautifully, reverently. A wonderful read. Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for the ARC.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gary Anderson

    Add Three Girls from Bronzeville by journalist Dawn Turner (formerly Dawn Turner Trice) to the list of important memoirs by Black American writers. Turner tells about three girls growing up in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville neighborhood, home to many prominent Black figures but subject to changing conditions over the decades. Turner, her younger sister Kim, and her best friend Debra come from almost identical circumstances, but the lives of each young woman turn out drastically different from on Add Three Girls from Bronzeville by journalist Dawn Turner (formerly Dawn Turner Trice) to the list of important memoirs by Black American writers. Turner tells about three girls growing up in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville neighborhood, home to many prominent Black figures but subject to changing conditions over the decades. Turner, her younger sister Kim, and her best friend Debra come from almost identical circumstances, but the lives of each young woman turn out drastically different from one another, leading readers to reflect on what internal factors influence us when our external surroundings only partially explain our actions and decisions. The subtitle A Uniquely American Story of Race, Fate, and Sisterhood provides some of the context shaping the people, places, and events shared by the girls and their families. Turner’s incisive story-telling, carefully-revealed details, and controlled emotions make Three Girls from Bronzeville a memorable and illuminating reading experience.

  10. 4 out of 5

    SundayAtDusk

    Not paying any attention to the subtitle before beginning this book, I thought this story was a novel at first, and author Dawn Turner gave her protagonist her own name. How odd! At some point I did realize it was a memoir, but in some ways it does read like a novel. It doesn't move rapidly, however, which was fine with me. I enjoyed the pacing and happily returned to the story again and again to read more. Ms. Turner grew up in Chicago in a middle-class family with her younger sister Kim. Her b Not paying any attention to the subtitle before beginning this book, I thought this story was a novel at first, and author Dawn Turner gave her protagonist her own name. How odd! At some point I did realize it was a memoir, but in some ways it does read like a novel. It doesn't move rapidly, however, which was fine with me. I enjoyed the pacing and happily returned to the story again and again to read more. Ms. Turner grew up in Chicago in a middle-class family with her younger sister Kim. Her best friend Debra lived in the same building when they were young. Like all children, the girls had hopes and dreams of the future and the careers they would have as adults. Like real life, things did not turn out as planned for all three girls. The author explores that, as well as describes her childhood, college and adult years. Women from various generations play major roles in her life, more so than men. While it's not anti-men by any means, the reality was women never left, except by death. Dawn Turner was a success story, but there is no preaching or pretentiousness when telling the stories of others who weren't. A common cause of destruction, however, appeared to be drug usage; both the destruction of individuals and the destruction of neighborhoods. Yet there were two things drugs couldn't destroy . . . good memories and love. (Note: I received a free e-ARC of this book from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster.)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sandra The Old Woman in a Van

    Dawn Turner's memoir about her life growing up on the South Side of Chicago drew me in from the opening pages. Compared to the author's success, the disparate outcomes of her friend and sister make up the crux of Turner's compelling narrative. Like Dawn, I spent years living in Chicago's South Side, but in Hyde Park, a neighborhood the author describes as gentrified because of its proximity to The University of Chicago. Indeed, I walked past Ms. Turner's high school at least weekly, and I drove Dawn Turner's memoir about her life growing up on the South Side of Chicago drew me in from the opening pages. Compared to the author's success, the disparate outcomes of her friend and sister make up the crux of Turner's compelling narrative. Like Dawn, I spent years living in Chicago's South Side, but in Hyde Park, a neighborhood the author describes as gentrified because of its proximity to The University of Chicago. Indeed, I walked past Ms. Turner's high school at least weekly, and I drove past her neighborhood often. But, because it's Chicago, one of the most segregated cities in the country, I didn't know Bronzeville at all. I appreciate the author introducing me to the area and sharing her experiences. She taught me much, something I look for from memoirs. The story explores an age-old question of why some people are resilient, overcome obstacles, and reach security and success. In contrast, others stumble and end up in chaotic, self-destructive circumstances. Ms. Turner touches on why but mostly leaves the question unanswered - because there is no answer. "But for the grace of God go I..." For this reader, the main message I got from Three Girls From Bronzeville is that there is no magic answer to what makes some kids successful and others not. It's complicated. And by taking us methodically through the complexity, Turner pulls out compassion from the reader. Her narrative is a reminder that people are more than the worst thing they ever did. Turner writes as the journalist she is. Her language is pragmatic, organized, easy to read, and often feels distant from the subject matter - not in a bad way, but like she is an objective observer of her life. Non-the-less, there is still a lot of emotional impact to her story. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy memoirs and, also, to anyone interested in how the mix of temperament, environment and societal conditions influence who we become. I received a free NetGalley version of this book in return for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    ***Goodreads Win*** As much as I appreciated the clear, straight-forward story telling, unfortunately, this book didn't compel me. Maybe I've been reading too many memoirs recently but this one did not have that certain something that made me look forward to reading it every night. Dawn Turner is a good author but not as a "character" in the book. Through her eyes I felt like someone looking into a window of the lives of her sister, best friend and family. But I wanted to be taken into that life. ***Goodreads Win*** As much as I appreciated the clear, straight-forward story telling, unfortunately, this book didn't compel me. Maybe I've been reading too many memoirs recently but this one did not have that certain something that made me look forward to reading it every night. Dawn Turner is a good author but not as a "character" in the book. Through her eyes I felt like someone looking into a window of the lives of her sister, best friend and family. But I wanted to be taken into that life. But I never felt let in; I felt at a remove. Maybe that was the point since Dawn seemed to operate on a level above those in her life. I'd bet if you gave me a book written by Debra, I would have been more engrossed.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melody

    I enjoyed this memoir but I didn't love it. The authorial judgement around sex work and what sorts of people do it was pretty strident, and I was put off by that. I enjoyed this memoir but I didn't love it. The authorial judgement around sex work and what sorts of people do it was pretty strident, and I was put off by that.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

    Such a beautifully written memoir about Dawn Turner and her years growing up, her hopes and dreams, seeing the fruition of some but the absolute inability to reach others. She, her little sister Kim, and a friend Dawn made in the third grade and whose friendship lasts the test of time, all go through their personal struggles as we all do in life. There is no denying there is heartbreak in Dawn's story of the three of them...in my case I cried twice. But there is also the inspiration that is brou Such a beautifully written memoir about Dawn Turner and her years growing up, her hopes and dreams, seeing the fruition of some but the absolute inability to reach others. She, her little sister Kim, and a friend Dawn made in the third grade and whose friendship lasts the test of time, all go through their personal struggles as we all do in life. There is no denying there is heartbreak in Dawn's story of the three of them...in my case I cried twice. But there is also the inspiration that is brought to the page via their experiences when life hands them a bad hand of cards. I have always loved Black history, African-American literature, and Black studies among other things such as music. I was so thrilled to see many Black people in history, literature, and music in this book. Names I'll never forget: Louis Armstrong, Barack Obama, Richard Wright and his book (one of my all time favorites) Native Son, Langston Hughes, and many others. I also enjoyed reading about a time when I was a young girl (born in 1950) and some of aspects of the book that resonated with me, such as simple things like cigarette candy, only one TV in a home, playing games that were outdoors and not computer games and so on. But Dawn's memoir brings family, love, friendship, heartbreak, laughter, and forgiveness to life in the pages of Three Girls from Bronzeville and I loved it. I would like to thank NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for a free e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review

  15. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn

    Wow--4.5 stars. This is a stunning work of narrative nonfiction written by journalist Dawn Turner. Turner explores her childhood along with those of her younger sister, Kim, and best friend, Debra. They all grow up in Bronzeville, a neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, but they take very different paths in life. I stayed up until 1am the night I started reading it. This is a compelling read. Highly recommended.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    4.5 Dawn Turner is a well-known Chicago journalist who writes about growing up in Bronzeville and focuses on her experience and that of her sister, Kim, and best friend, Dawn, and their different life paths. Excellent writing and compelling stories.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Roberta Havel

    The book started off slow, but after 70 pages, I couldn’t put it down. I may have stuck with it because I am from Chicago, and I remember the housing projects on the south side well. In any case, it is a good read that will broaden the reader’s understanding of the human condition.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Evelina | AvalinahsBooks

    How I read this: Free ebook copy received through Edelweiss Three Girls from Bronzeville is a serious memoir about three very different lives that came out of similar circumstances. I don't know why, but I started reading it thinking it was fiction - I guess I just forgot the blurb (and what's written on the cover, apparently! *facepalm*) But I quickly realized that this can't be fiction - I don't know, there's just something about it. When we write fiction about hardship, we write it differently How I read this: Free ebook copy received through Edelweiss Three Girls from Bronzeville is a serious memoir about three very different lives that came out of similar circumstances. I don't know why, but I started reading it thinking it was fiction - I guess I just forgot the blurb (and what's written on the cover, apparently! *facepalm*) But I quickly realized that this can't be fiction - I don't know, there's just something about it. When we write fiction about hardship, we write it differently. Life has its own, sometimes quite unromantic ways of making hardship play out in real lives. Perhaps less dramatically expressed than in fiction, but real life has ways of grinding down 'the characters' like you wouldn't believe. This is what happens in this story as well. That said, it's not all sad things. The story of Dawn (who wrote this book about herself, her sister and her best friend) is an inspiring one. The core of the story is these three girls' lives and how differently they unfolded. The main thing here, is that the girls all came from similar or even the same backgrounds, and yet their lives worked out very differently. The book raises the question of why this happens. Two of the girls had sad stories. The third girl did well, despite what life threw her way. However, even one of the sad stories has a redemption, and the last third of the book is dedicated towards the 'rising of the phoenix'. I thought it was very inspiring how a life can be picked up even out of a very deep ditch. In fact, this was the bit of the book I enjoyed the most, because for the first half, I had trouble getting into it - it was a long setup of just the girls' childhoods and their younger lives, which of course brought them to the later stages and decisions of their lives, but somehow that bit dragged for me a bit. However, when I made it through it, the second part of the book greatly paid off and I felt uplifted by the end message of it all. Three Girls from Bronzeville is definitely a worthy read, especially if the subject of racial inequality and life in poorer areas is a subject that is interesting to you. I thank the publisher for giving me a free copy of the ebook in exchange to my honest review. This has not affected my opinion. Book Blog | Bookstagram | Bookish Twitter

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tashay

    Black Chicago Summer Reading Book #6 The first half of the book felt cold and distant. The author tells the story of how she, her younger sister, and childhood best friend all took different paths in life. The best friend and sister wind up on the wrong paths but the author never “really” strays, or when she does make mistakes, they don’t get much air time. I was more drawn to the sister and best friend’s lives than that of the author. A much stronger ending than beginning.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This is a story of three girls from Bronzeville and how they grew up together but took totally different paths in life. The author is the one who most readers would call the success story. The other two are her sister and her best friend. They all lived in the same building as young children. It's a good story in terms of being a slice of life of that location and generation and I liked the ending, but most of the time I was unsure of what role the author was trying to take in this story. Readers This is a story of three girls from Bronzeville and how they grew up together but took totally different paths in life. The author is the one who most readers would call the success story. The other two are her sister and her best friend. They all lived in the same building as young children. It's a good story in terms of being a slice of life of that location and generation and I liked the ending, but most of the time I was unsure of what role the author was trying to take in this story. Readers interested in Bronzeville will enjoy getting to know it from the author's point of view. Thank you to NetGalley for an advance copy of this book

  21. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

    This is a beautiful, moving memoir. It covers friendship, the love of family and how hard growing up can be. I loved how easy it was to read, the beginning is engaging and interesting. As the story got harder to read, and sad at times, I was completely absorbed and was rooting for and brokenhearted for the characters in turn. I'm so glad I read this one. A huge thank you to the author and publisher for providing an e-ARC via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion regarding the book. This is a beautiful, moving memoir. It covers friendship, the love of family and how hard growing up can be. I loved how easy it was to read, the beginning is engaging and interesting. As the story got harder to read, and sad at times, I was completely absorbed and was rooting for and brokenhearted for the characters in turn. I'm so glad I read this one. A huge thank you to the author and publisher for providing an e-ARC via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion regarding the book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susan Mills

    3-1/2 stars, I chose this book eagerly, based on good reviews, setting in Chicago, and themes of racism and women, effects of poverty, crime and prisons, all in the context of very close, supportive family. I admit I chose it despite some reluctance to fully appreciate the memoir genre. Turner is a good writer. She puts words and sentences together in a way that flows, elevates, allows for fuller meaning. The love of her family, especially between sisters, was touching. She tackles a difficult 3-1/2 stars, I chose this book eagerly, based on good reviews, setting in Chicago, and themes of racism and women, effects of poverty, crime and prisons, all in the context of very close, supportive family. I admit I chose it despite some reluctance to fully appreciate the memoir genre. Turner is a good writer. She puts words and sentences together in a way that flows, elevates, allows for fuller meaning. The love of her family, especially between sisters, was touching. She tackles a difficult subject, wrought especially these days. She tries to balance individual responsibility and each person’s capacity to overcome a difficult past, with overarching racism, the governmental neglect which leads to compromised possibilities. I find both parts of this balance find their way into complex, individual lives. But I do believe Turner over-emphasizes the former, the individual responsibility part, and underplays the barriers placed in front of people. Most striking to me was the way she portrayed prison, as her best friend Debra spent 20 years behind bars in several correctional facilities, all in Indiana, I believe. I’m left with this feeling that these places are truly committed to personal growth and rehabilitation of their inmates, that both staff and fellow inmates are friendly and supportive, that rules can be bent to accommodate individual inmates, etc. — which contradicts everything I know about most prisons. In the last 1/4 of the book, Turner seems to delve, in her professional work as writer and journalism, into personal stories of individuals overcoming racism, abuse, poverty, criminal pasts. This turns the book into cheerleading for what individuals can do, if they only try hard enough. It leaves out the huge numbers of people who just can’t seem to make that happen. Maybe because of racism or other inequities built into the system? Because of centuries of oppression that are very difficult to just sweep away? While the themes built around Turners relationships with sister, friend and mother were poignant, as a memoir I missed a stronger sense of Turner herself. She writes rather methodically, wanting not to miss anything, but never quite grabs the reader and pulls her in to the emotional life. By the end, I still felt at a distance from her stories. All that said, the book makes one think about important issues. It’s focus on women is a breath of fresh air. One of the things to think about in any book, of course, is what the writers perspective is and how that influences the story she wants to tell.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Madison

    I love this memoir. Poignant, heartfelt, and deeply moving. Dawn Turner tells the story of three young girls from the south side of Chicago. Three girls from Bronzeville who all ended up with completely different lives. As someone who lived in Chicago for a year (only 1! I imagine long time residents feel this even more strongly), I connected with this story, if not simply for the geography. It’s a story about different paths you can take in the same city, different ways to end up. This story foc I love this memoir. Poignant, heartfelt, and deeply moving. Dawn Turner tells the story of three young girls from the south side of Chicago. Three girls from Bronzeville who all ended up with completely different lives. As someone who lived in Chicago for a year (only 1! I imagine long time residents feel this even more strongly), I connected with this story, if not simply for the geography. It’s a story about different paths you can take in the same city, different ways to end up. This story focuses on racism in the face of growing up on the southside of Chicago, addictions because you feel theres no other way, and the hardships that you have to overcome to achieve your goals. Dawn Turner does a beautiful job illustrating all of the above. If you’re from Chicago or have spent some time there, this one is a must read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rick Elinson

    Turner describes growing up in Chicago public housing. It was a world unto itself, populated by generations of black families, in a building complex that was allowed to decay into the escapes of alcohol and drugs. Turner's story avoids cliches. There are practically no white people in the memoir, and they are mentioned only in passing. She never talks of racist encounters, but it is clear that the housing system is an overarching racist warehousing. A central point is how easy it was to fall int Turner describes growing up in Chicago public housing. It was a world unto itself, populated by generations of black families, in a building complex that was allowed to decay into the escapes of alcohol and drugs. Turner's story avoids cliches. There are practically no white people in the memoir, and they are mentioned only in passing. She never talks of racist encounters, but it is clear that the housing system is an overarching racist warehousing. A central point is how easy it was to fall into an addiction and once in, how almost impossible it was to get out. Chance happenings and random choices often determined your fate. Luckily, Turner emerged from her surroundings, but the paths were much more dire for her sister and her best friend.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    One of the best books I’ve read this year.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tonja

    This story was unique in that it is not only about the author Dawn Turners Life. Her story explores the question, how could the lives of three girls that grew up in the same neighborhood and in her sisters case, the same house, take such different paths? The closeness that Turner shared growing up with her sister and her best friend Debra was heart warming. As young girls, Dawn and her sister experienced the trauma of domestic violence in their home. They also grew up with strong women to guide t This story was unique in that it is not only about the author Dawn Turners Life. Her story explores the question, how could the lives of three girls that grew up in the same neighborhood and in her sisters case, the same house, take such different paths? The closeness that Turner shared growing up with her sister and her best friend Debra was heart warming. As young girls, Dawn and her sister experienced the trauma of domestic violence in their home. They also grew up with strong women to guide them, including their mom, grandmother and aunt. Turner is a journalist and I enjoyed her narrative style. The emotion definitely came through as she struggled to achieve her goals and stay connected to Kim and her best friend Debra as their lives went in drastically different directions. Heavy topics included drug/ alcohol abuse, violence and even murder. Loved the historical aspect of Chicago in the 70’s. I received an free ARC. All opinions are my own.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Kristens.reading.nook

    3 Girls From Bronzeville is the story of author Dawn Turner, her sister Kim, and her best friend Debra, who grew up in Chicago. Each of their lives diverged drastically, but their bonds were strong. Near the end of the book, Dawn talks about Brenda Myers-Powell. I read her memoir recently- Leaving Breezy Street. I loved the connection between the two books. Both are difficult memoirs to read, but also filled with hope after experiencing devastating situations. Thank you to NetGalley for a digita 3 Girls From Bronzeville is the story of author Dawn Turner, her sister Kim, and her best friend Debra, who grew up in Chicago. Each of their lives diverged drastically, but their bonds were strong. Near the end of the book, Dawn talks about Brenda Myers-Powell. I read her memoir recently- Leaving Breezy Street. I loved the connection between the two books. Both are difficult memoirs to read, but also filled with hope after experiencing devastating situations. Thank you to NetGalley for a digital ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Donna Davis

    4+ stars. Full review is in progress.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I would give this three stars but I feel like an asshole for doing that, since this is Dawn's life we are talking about. I give Dawn 5 stars. I would give this three stars but I feel like an asshole for doing that, since this is Dawn's life we are talking about. I give Dawn 5 stars.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Karen Ashmore

    A captivating memoir of the different paths three childhood friends took growing up in Chicago housing authority apartments. The author, award winning journalist Dawn Turner, has a clear writing style that is augmented by the fascinating story she weaves about herself, her younger sister Kim and BFF Debra.

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