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

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A “beautiful, tragic, and inspiring” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) memoir about three Black girls from the storied Bronzeville section of Chicago that offers a penetrating exploration of race, opportunity, friendship, sisterhood, and the powerful forces at work that allow some to flourish…and others to falter. They were three Black girls. Dawn, tall and studious; her A “beautiful, tragic, and inspiring” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) memoir about three Black girls from the storied Bronzeville section of Chicago that offers a penetrating exploration of race, opportunity, friendship, sisterhood, and the powerful forces at work that allow some to flourish…and others to falter. They were three Black girls. Dawn, tall and studious; her sister, Kim, younger by three years and headstrong as they come; and her best friend, Debra, already prom-queen pretty by third grade. They bonded—fervently and intensely in that unique way of little girls—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, albeit nascent and fragile, that they will have more opportunities, rights, and freedoms than any generation of Black Americans in history. Their working-class, striving parents are eager for them to realize this hard-fought potential. 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—Dawn and Debra, doctors, Kim a teacher. For a brief, wondrous moment the girls are all giggles and dreams and promises of “friends forever.” And then fate intervenes, first slowly and then dramatically, sending them careening in wildly different directions. There’s heartbreak, loss, displacement, and even murder. Dawn struggles to make sense of the shocking turns that consume her sister and her best friend, all the while asking herself a simple but profound question: Why? In the vein of The Other Wes Moore and The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, Three Girls from Bronzeville is a piercing memoir that chronicles Dawn’s attempt to find answers. It’s at once a celebration of sisterhood and friendship, 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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A “beautiful, tragic, and inspiring” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) memoir about three Black girls from the storied Bronzeville section of Chicago that offers a penetrating exploration of race, opportunity, friendship, sisterhood, and the powerful forces at work that allow some to flourish…and others to falter. They were three Black girls. Dawn, tall and studious; her A “beautiful, tragic, and inspiring” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) memoir about three Black girls from the storied Bronzeville section of Chicago that offers a penetrating exploration of race, opportunity, friendship, sisterhood, and the powerful forces at work that allow some to flourish…and others to falter. They were three Black girls. Dawn, tall and studious; her sister, Kim, younger by three years and headstrong as they come; and her best friend, Debra, already prom-queen pretty by third grade. They bonded—fervently and intensely in that unique way of little girls—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, albeit nascent and fragile, that they will have more opportunities, rights, and freedoms than any generation of Black Americans in history. Their working-class, striving parents are eager for them to realize this hard-fought potential. 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—Dawn and Debra, doctors, Kim a teacher. For a brief, wondrous moment the girls are all giggles and dreams and promises of “friends forever.” And then fate intervenes, first slowly and then dramatically, sending them careening in wildly different directions. There’s heartbreak, loss, displacement, and even murder. Dawn struggles to make sense of the shocking turns that consume her sister and her best friend, all the while asking herself a simple but profound question: Why? In the vein of The Other Wes Moore and The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, Three Girls from Bronzeville is a piercing memoir that chronicles Dawn’s attempt to find answers. It’s at once a celebration of sisterhood and friendship, 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

    Raymond

    Review coming soon.

  2. 4 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

  3. 4 out of 5

    Traci at The Stacks

    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.

  4. 5 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.

  5. 4 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 5 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

  10. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Yes, this memoir was fascinating. It addressed the remarkable life paths of three young girls who grew up together in the Bronzeville area of Chicago. How could destiny hold such a different destination for each girl? I wondered if the differences in their personalities or the slight variations in their upbringing might have caused them to take separate paths. It could have been the circumstances that each girl faced at school, or maybe even luck was involved. In the end, I decided it was common Yes, this memoir was fascinating. It addressed the remarkable life paths of three young girls who grew up together in the Bronzeville area of Chicago. How could destiny hold such a different destination for each girl? I wondered if the differences in their personalities or the slight variations in their upbringing might have caused them to take separate paths. It could have been the circumstances that each girl faced at school, or maybe even luck was involved. In the end, I decided it was common sense and maturity that allowed the author, Dawn Turner, to become a successful writer. I am thankful that she wisely opted to write her outstanding memoir. I’m sure her story is very personal to her, but it is also a sociological study worth reading. Thanks to the author, Net Galley, and the publishing company of Simon and Schuster for supplying this wonderful book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Martha Kuder

    Dawn Turner took me on an emotional journey of her life in this fantastic book. I also fell in love with Dawn’s beautiful best friend and pesky adoring little sister. The hilarious antics of little girl fun was totally relatable to when I was little. But the 3 girls started growing up, and life pulled them in different directions for whatever reason. Living fast and hard brought devastating and heartbreaking changes to Dawn’s friend and sister. Addiction changed everything. Their dreams dimmed as Dawn Turner took me on an emotional journey of her life in this fantastic book. I also fell in love with Dawn’s beautiful best friend and pesky adoring little sister. The hilarious antics of little girl fun was totally relatable to when I was little. But the 3 girls started growing up, and life pulled them in different directions for whatever reason. Living fast and hard brought devastating and heartbreaking changes to Dawn’s friend and sister. Addiction changed everything. Their dreams dimmed as drinking and drugs damaged them, bring about poor choices and darken their lives. Even though I cried hard in parts of this book, it also taught me about forgiveness and redemption in a way I’d never thought about before.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Lang

    Engaging story of 3 girls growing up in Chicago. Each of them has their personal struggles and accomplishments Ms. Turner allows the reader to feel the emotions fully. She intertwines some housing history and public events to give the reader clarity. I had a hard time putting the book down.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mary Robinson

    Well developed memoir of the authors childhood and adulthood and the different paths followed by herself, her sister and her best friend from the 3rd grade/ I though I could predict the outcomes but was wrong; found myself rooting for each woman through her struggles and successes. Kudos to the author for bringing forward her life so clearly and with such heart. With thanks to the author, publisher and Edelweiss for the Advanced Reader Copy

  14. 4 out of 5

    Susie | Novel Visits

    4.25 stars - Full review to follow.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shana

    ***Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review*** Similar to books like The Other Wes Moore, Dawn Turner explores the different paths and destinies of herself, her younger sister, and childhood best friend, and tries to understand the reasons for why their paths diverges so drastically. She sets the scene in the Bronzeville area of Chicago, and vividly brings it to life. Despite knowing nothing about it or its history in the beginning, by the end I found myself emotionally i ***Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review*** Similar to books like The Other Wes Moore, Dawn Turner explores the different paths and destinies of herself, her younger sister, and childhood best friend, and tries to understand the reasons for why their paths diverges so drastically. She sets the scene in the Bronzeville area of Chicago, and vividly brings it to life. Despite knowing nothing about it or its history in the beginning, by the end I found myself emotionally invested in the community. Although the memoir focuses on three people, it is also about the shifting urban landscape and the meaning that holds to those who grew up there. She also manages to include a great deal about her family's history with the Great Migration, as well as zooming in on her personal relationships with various family members. It sounds like a lot, and it is, content-wise, but I never felt it was overwhelming or overly ambitious. Some readers might feel that she inserted herself too far into the narrative, but as a memoir, I think it was appropriate for the book to cover a lot of her personal experiences with grief. This isn't a book that tells you how to try and rescue your loved ones, but rather, sits alongside you as you grapple with those tough questions.

  16. 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.)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I finished reading Three Girls From Bronzeville at 4 a.m. I am sitting here pondering it. It is a deeply intense and personal memoir centered on Dawn, her younger sister and her friend since childhood, Diane. I have read several reviews that have a similar reaction. There but for the grace of God, go I. I have had the same thought when my mother told me of my childhood friends and what she knew of them, many years later. But the author was able to maintain contact when her friend Diane They wrote I finished reading Three Girls From Bronzeville at 4 a.m. I am sitting here pondering it. It is a deeply intense and personal memoir centered on Dawn, her younger sister and her friend since childhood, Diane. I have read several reviews that have a similar reaction. There but for the grace of God, go I. I have had the same thought when my mother told me of my childhood friends and what she knew of them, many years later. But the author was able to maintain contact when her friend Diane They wrote letters and talked on the phone. When I moved away from the neighborhood, most of my friends had already left before me. But they were at each other's apartment in the same building and Diane's mother encouraged her to play with her. There is a lot of tragedy at times, sadness and times that the three lives separated and came back together again. Dawn made it successfully, she worked towards a great education and career. Troubles at home bubbled up just like in all our lives but with the help of her mother, her favorite aunt and her grandmother, she had a lot of emotional support. Her younger sister was at first a follower and then a mischief-maker, but she needed more than what could have helped her a lot. I wonder, if part of the reason would be the difference in ages in the sisters, but only Kim could have revealed the truth. And Diane, at first, she and Dawn aspired to be nurses, But two girls when they were older had different interests. Diane's story means a lot to me. You can think that your life has become hopeless but with the right people, you can find redemption and forgiveness. I cheered when reading that part of the book. Lastly, I felt very close to Dawn's mother when driver through the old Bronzeville apartment area and the area surrounding the landmarks that she knew. I am in between Dawn and her mother in age, But I have had the experience of locating my grade school that I went from 1st through 6th grade on Google Maps. I was shocked to see that the old brick building that I loved was replaced by what looked to me like a temporary for a building. I searched more and found out that school that I went to had been demolished. Gone was the grand main hallway, the stained glass window of Principal Funk's office. the very tall ceiling where the large Christmas tree stood with hand made ornaments from the children, the three floor auditorium with the flights of stairs the changed directions for every floor. All that is left is memories and I wonder what the other children remembered about that grand little school. I know exactly what Dawn's mother was feeling. You lived many years in that building, but it is gone. I received an Advance Review copy from the publishers as a win from FirsReads. Thank you, Dawn Turner for your memoir and all your memories. I feel honored to be reading it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shelly

    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 three separate paths to adulthood. Although I recognize the historic people associat 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 three 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 her 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. *I received an advance copy of this book through NetGalley.com

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia-Marah

    Three Girls From Bronzeville by Dawn Turner was moving. I appreciate Simon & Schuster for sending me an advanced reader's edition to review. This memoir is the inspiring story of one young woman growing up in the predominantly Black neighborhood in Chicago’s Southside, Bronzeville. It is a story about a girl with modest working-class roots, who achieves success as an author and journalist. But is also a story about sisterhood, friendship and loss. Debra, Dawn and her little sister Kim grew up in Three Girls From Bronzeville by Dawn Turner was moving. I appreciate Simon & Schuster for sending me an advanced reader's edition to review. This memoir is the inspiring story of one young woman growing up in the predominantly Black neighborhood in Chicago’s Southside, Bronzeville. It is a story about a girl with modest working-class roots, who achieves success as an author and journalist. But is also a story about sisterhood, friendship and loss. Debra, Dawn and her little sister Kim grew up in the Lawless community housing project. Debra’s family lived on the floor directly above the Turner’s apartment, and the two girls became best friends in third grade. In this memoir, Turner shares the divergent paths these three friends took in life. She asks what factors explain the different roads we take. Is it the choices we make? Is it fate? Or is it a combination of choices, life experiences, and chance? Writing about memoirs is always tricky because I don’t want to include any spoilers! What I can say about this portrait of girlhood, womanhood and friendship, is that it will work its way into your heart. The stories of the women moved me in this memoir. The beautiful turns of phrase continually struck me. Dawn Turner uses language both clearly and evocatively. I can see evidence of her journalistic and creative writing talents in this memoir. Three Girls From Bronzeville hits stores on September 7th. Go grab a copy from your favorite local bookseller, or pre-order a copy online. Enjoy!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Three Girls From Bornzeville is a memoir that chronicles the live of author Dawn Turner, her younger sister Kim, and her best friend Debra Trice. In the book, Turner tells the story of her youth from childhood well into her adult years. It is tragically relatable in such that, although Turner writes specifically of her friends and family, this story could easily be that of others in the country. Change the names, faces, and the details and and it could be anyone who grew up on similar circumstanc Three Girls From Bornzeville is a memoir that chronicles the live of author Dawn Turner, her younger sister Kim, and her best friend Debra Trice. In the book, Turner tells the story of her youth from childhood well into her adult years. It is tragically relatable in such that, although Turner writes specifically of her friends and family, this story could easily be that of others in the country. Change the names, faces, and the details and and it could be anyone who grew up on similar circumstances. I was a bit hesitant when first starting this book because it is not what I expected but in the end, I throughly enjoyed this book. I thought that the characters were incredibly relatable in their own right. This is especially true when considering the dynamics between younger and older siblings and the expectations placed upon them by themselves, those around them, and each other. The idea of living in the shadow of those who are perceived as doing better or doing “the right thing” is palatable. Voluntarily reviewed after receiving a free copy courtesy of NetGalley, the Publisher and the author, Dawn Turner.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Diane Payne

    Turner's honest memoir covers a fair amount of ground. It begins when she's young living in a housing project with her mother and sister, and her best friend upstairs. I don't want to give away spoilers, but readers don't have as much time with her sister as they do with Debra, who ends up in prison for decades. Once Kim, her sister, is no longer in the memoir, she reconnects with Debra mainly via phone calls. Turner's young daughter becomes deathly ill as a toddler, then fortunately recovers, a Turner's honest memoir covers a fair amount of ground. It begins when she's young living in a housing project with her mother and sister, and her best friend upstairs. I don't want to give away spoilers, but readers don't have as much time with her sister as they do with Debra, who ends up in prison for decades. Once Kim, her sister, is no longer in the memoir, she reconnects with Debra mainly via phone calls. Turner's young daughter becomes deathly ill as a toddler, then fortunately recovers, and she more or less disappears from the memoir also. The memoir focuses mainly on her sister and childhood friend, which makes some of the other relationships, like with her husband and daughter, seem a bit diminished. Her mother has a much more prominent role in the beginning of the novel also. The last half of the memoir focuses a lot on her friend in prison, someone Turner writes columns about in the Tribune, and by the ending, we see her now ex-husband, daughter, and mother once more. It's a valuable read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Cha

    I give this book 4.75 stars. I received a free ecopy from Net Galley for an honest review. It was an easy book to read. The author really gets you to know each character. You know thei strengths and weaknesses. At parts, in the story, I wanted to hug the digital pages. I even had feelings for the cat. The book takes place over many decades. You can see how the characters transform. There were many times I pondered, what would I have done in similar circumstances. It is one of the most emotional bo I give this book 4.75 stars. I received a free ecopy from Net Galley for an honest review. It was an easy book to read. The author really gets you to know each character. You know thei strengths and weaknesses. At parts, in the story, I wanted to hug the digital pages. I even had feelings for the cat. The book takes place over many decades. You can see how the characters transform. There were many times I pondered, what would I have done in similar circumstances. It is one of the most emotional books I have read. It will tear at your heart strings. Make you want to call people from your past up. The story shows that sometimes we can make a difference and sometimes we can't. Most of us make mistakes. Sometimes our support system can help us when things get rough ( and sometimes they can't). We do the best we can. I can't wait to read more from the author. I would like to thank her for writing so beautifully the story of her pain, life, and journey.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    A beautiful memoir about growing up on the Southside of Chicago. A story of love and loss and what we gain along the way. The author is a journalist and is applying her lens onto her own life which brings both an observer's eye to what is happening around her while at the same time is able to convey the feelings and emotions of growing up. Her ability to describe detail transported me to her childhood home and her dad's workplace among others. This book made me reflect on life and how circumstan A beautiful memoir about growing up on the Southside of Chicago. A story of love and loss and what we gain along the way. The author is a journalist and is applying her lens onto her own life which brings both an observer's eye to what is happening around her while at the same time is able to convey the feelings and emotions of growing up. Her ability to describe detail transported me to her childhood home and her dad's workplace among others. This book made me reflect on life and how circumstances can change the trajectories of our lives and those of family and friends in an instant. The questions of "what if" haunts all human experience. I cared about all of the people she writes about here even with their flaws. It is a brilliant meditation on loss of childhood and loss of neighborhood. I highly recommend this book!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Susie Dumond

    Dawn, her sister Kim, and her best friend Debra are third-generation daughters of the Great Migration living in a historic neighborhood in Chicago’s South Side. They’re inseparable, until a twist of fate, heartbreak, loss, and murder send them in different directions. In this memoir, Dawn Turner looks for answers to how race, class, and opportunity impacted their sisterhood. This is a really fascinating cross-section of lives impacted by systemic racism. It's also a testament to the power of frie Dawn, her sister Kim, and her best friend Debra are third-generation daughters of the Great Migration living in a historic neighborhood in Chicago’s South Side. They’re inseparable, until a twist of fate, heartbreak, loss, and murder send them in different directions. In this memoir, Dawn Turner looks for answers to how race, class, and opportunity impacted their sisterhood. This is a really fascinating cross-section of lives impacted by systemic racism. It's also a testament to the power of friendship even under impossible circumstances. It took me a while to understand where the story was headed, but the second half of the book was really engaging. I'm so grateful to hear Dawn, Kim, and Debra's stories. Thanks to NetGalley and the published for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    This is narrative non-fiction at its best. This memoir about 3 girls (2 sisters and a BFF) growing up in Bronzeville, depicts the fierce bonds of family and friendship. The two families strive to give their girls, more then what they had, through their strong family bonds and work ethic. Yet, not all three achieve the American dream. The author is honest and has a sharp analysis in her childhood dreams and can roughly see, in hindsight, where paths diverged. This is a book about Black womanhood, This is narrative non-fiction at its best. This memoir about 3 girls (2 sisters and a BFF) growing up in Bronzeville, depicts the fierce bonds of family and friendship. The two families strive to give their girls, more then what they had, through their strong family bonds and work ethic. Yet, not all three achieve the American dream. The author is honest and has a sharp analysis in her childhood dreams and can roughly see, in hindsight, where paths diverged. This is a book about Black womanhood, as well as the struggles that seem to work against them. But, above all, it's about support and sisterhood and how they catch each other, when one starts to fall. I received an arc from the publisher but all opinions are my own.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

    This memoir / biography / social history focuses on growing up in Bronzeville, a near south side Chicago neighborhood in the 1960s and 70s through to the present. It's a powerful tale of success and failure in America. Take the time to read and learn. Three girls, now women, grew up in Black, educated, working-class homes in an apartment building in Bronzeville. The author describes her relationships with her sister Kim and her best friend Debra. Rocky at best, loving and supportive, each woman m This memoir / biography / social history focuses on growing up in Bronzeville, a near south side Chicago neighborhood in the 1960s and 70s through to the present. It's a powerful tale of success and failure in America. Take the time to read and learn. Three girls, now women, grew up in Black, educated, working-class homes in an apartment building in Bronzeville. The author describes her relationships with her sister Kim and her best friend Debra. Rocky at best, loving and supportive, each woman makes choices about their own life, not always for the better. Little by little, the author reveals what shapes the women in her story, and the difficulties they overcome, or don't. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for an ARC to read and review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Gray

    An unusual memoir about three best friends whose paths diverged in ways that will make you, like Turner, ask why. Dawn, her sister Kim, and their friend Debra grew up in and out of one another's homes as young girls. They had hopes and dreams but somewhere along the way, Kim and Debra derailed, Dawn's path to success seems less fraught than their lives but as with some many things, it's not clear where the small turning points at- most importantly, where they could aww turned back. This reads li An unusual memoir about three best friends whose paths diverged in ways that will make you, like Turner, ask why. Dawn, her sister Kim, and their friend Debra grew up in and out of one another's homes as young girls. They had hopes and dreams but somewhere along the way, Kim and Debra derailed, Dawn's path to success seems less fraught than their lives but as with some many things, it's not clear where the small turning points at- most importantly, where they could aww turned back. This reads like a novel and even though it's apparent from the start what will happen, you will still find yourself invested. Thanks to edelweiss for the ARC. A very good read that resonates.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Teitelbaum

    I recently read this memoir and let me say I was pleasantly surprised! I have not read many memoirs and so I was actually really nervous going into this book, but I became absolutely engrossed with the story. this book follows Dawn, her sister Kim and best friend Debra from when they are young kids to adulthood. we see all the twists and turns of their lives and how they impact one another. I laughed and cried and become emotionally attached to the stories each person had to tell. not only has t I recently read this memoir and let me say I was pleasantly surprised! I have not read many memoirs and so I was actually really nervous going into this book, but I became absolutely engrossed with the story. this book follows Dawn, her sister Kim and best friend Debra from when they are young kids to adulthood. we see all the twists and turns of their lives and how they impact one another. I laughed and cried and become emotionally attached to the stories each person had to tell. not only has this novel made me want to read more memoirs in general but it moved me very much. this book comes out on september 7th and I highly recommend picking it up, even if you think it’s not for you, trust me it is.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Janilyn Kocher

    I really enjoyed Turner’s memoir. It’s a story of her life, but also her sister’s and best friend’s. Three girls who were reared in the same community, but who had three vastly different lives. It’s also a story about another trio of women: the author’s mother, aunt, and grandmother. I enjoyed reading about their lives as well. Strength ran in Turner’s family as many situations required much of it. The most powerful message the book has is the support of family and sister bonds, blood or not. Th I really enjoyed Turner’s memoir. It’s a story of her life, but also her sister’s and best friend’s. Three girls who were reared in the same community, but who had three vastly different lives. It’s also a story about another trio of women: the author’s mother, aunt, and grandmother. I enjoyed reading about their lives as well. Strength ran in Turner’s family as many situations required much of it. The most powerful message the book has is the support of family and sister bonds, blood or not. Thanks to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for the advance read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rsaunders1

    I loved everything about this book, from beginning to end. The writing was exceptional and I had to keep reminding myself I was reading a memoir and not a novel. I especially connected with the story because the author and I are about the same age, and though our childhoods were different, there were many similarities. Poverty and addiction don’t have to be the killers they are, and through the tragedy and loss, this theme shines through. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the ARC.

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