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Whoa....I resumed this book today and literally finished it today. So fast paced, so much action! I truly enjoyed this novel considering I did not expect this book to do well. American Street is about Fabiola Toussaint who immigrates to America with her mother from Haiti, but upon arrival, her mother is detained at customs, leaving Fabiola to navigate a new country and culture on her own with some help from her cousins and aunt.
The theme of this story is based on Fabiola trying to make sense of what happened to her mom and then trying to find a way for her mother to join her. As she begins to settle into her new environment, she meets and falls in love with a young guy named Kasim Anderson. Anderson will teach her about her new world and also serve to temporarily fill the void that Fabiola only desires for her mother. So many events occur that keep the storyline interesting and moving, but I must say, it is also sad. Honestly, I experienced many emotions while reading this book, and when I finished it, I still had all the characters I met in my mind. I finished this book in two sittings, though I did take a break because of work.
I gave this book 4 stars on GoodReads, but it is technically 4.5 out of 5.0. Zoboi did a great job writing this book. Our main character, Fabiola Toussaint, is well developed and the theme is real and will resonate with many readers who have foreign blood in them. I enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it.
I'm trying to read as many books this month as I can by black or bi-racial identifying authors and AMERICAN STREET is one I was really excited about, because it's been on my Kindle for-EVER. It's the story of a Haitian girl named Fabiola who comes from Haiti to live with her cousins in Detroit. Her mother is detained by immigration officials, leaving her in the care of her aunt and cousins, as she tries to navigate not just American culture, but also negative stereotypes and big city crime.
In some ways AMERICAN STREET really reminded me of THE HATE U GIVE; it's a brilliant microcosm of how institutional racism and negative stereotypes boxes people into corners they can't escape from. The most heartbreaking example of this is Chantal, Fabiola's brilliant elder cousin, who wanted to be a doctor but passed up going to a prestigious school to take care of her sick aunt and her sisters, who are mixed up in the local gangs. Fabiola finds this out the hard way too when she tries to do an act of good, cooperating with the local police, only to have someone she cares about suffer grievously from her actions.
There are no easy answers here, because life has no easy answers.
I loved the heartfelt writing, and the semi magic-realism elements that arose from Fabiola's Voudon and lwa beliefs being incorporated into her narrative. I thought her relationships with her cousins were super complex, giving them an almost Little Women vibe: they didn't get along in a conventional way all the time, but it was obvious how deeply loyal they were to each other. Plus, the banter was great. Interspersed with Fabiola's narrative are brief snippets from those around her, and they really added depth to the story and gave you an idea of where the other characters were coming from.
AMERICAN STREET is a book that will break your heart, but it's worth every shattered piece.
Ibi Zoboi's debut novel is a gripping, heart-bending tale about immigration and the illusion of the American dream. The author explores the dimensions of familial bonds, first loves, intimate partner violence, and so much more. Zoboi's writing calls to mind the early work of Edwidge Danticat, not only in its concern for the interior lives of Haitian-descended peoples, but also in its Vodou influenced imagery and the lyricism of its prose. However, while the novel's characters are intriguing and well-rounded, I didn't find them affecting.The most emotionally stirring parts of the novel are perhaps the soliloquies between the chapters. In those places, each major character gives the reader a glimpse into their respective thoughts, histories, emotions, and motivations. The novel is written in the first person from Fabiola's point of view, but even she does not seem to emotionally endear herself to readers. For all of the novel's tragedy and beauty, it is this emotional distance which renders its story and characters a bit flatter than I'd hoped for them to be. Nonetheless, the novel is a daring and necessary text.
This was a good book. Plot seemed a little rush towards the end. The author attempted to add a more Haitian "sophisticated" twist to the usual hood story plot. I felt like she wanted to bring awareness to police brutality but rushing the ending did not have that effect. There were some questions I was left with. I would recommend the book to others. Good story and good characters.
I felt so many emotions while reading this story. The author tells a vivid story of a young girl trying to navigate her new world without losing her old one. The amount of learning she has to do is fast and furious so she's not swallowed whole by her experiences. This is such a great story for everyone to read. It plays out like a movie. I'd definitely watch a film adaptation 😊
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the comparisons of Haiti to the states. I was a little thrown off by the ending though. I had to keep backtracking to get a grasp for what happened. Over all good read but the ending left me hanging a bit.