The Black Girl Next Door by Jennifer BaszileBy Donnica Carter • Apr 15th, 2009 • Category: Book Review 2009 • Email This Post • Print This Post
Jennifer Baszile’s The Black Girl Next Door is a wonderful story of a black girl growing up in the 1970s and 1980s. Jennifer’s childhood was filled with realizations of how different she was from her white classmates. One girl even went as far as to say that black people had something special in their feet that made them run faster. This was after Jennifer won a race against her, of course. But it was even worse when her teacher confirmed that black people do in fact have something that makes them run faster. Jennifer was not pleased at all. She battled with telling her parents. Once her father found out he made sure to address the teacher and she then apologized. This set the tone for her days in grade school.
Baszile’s parents wanted nothing but the best for her and her sister, Natalie. They lived in Palos Verdes, California, far from their parent’s hometowns. Her dad was a country boy from Mississippi and her mom was from Detroit. Occasionally, on the holidays, they would go to visit and see just how different they were from their cousins. Jennifer’s uncle called her sister “the pretty one” and she was known as “the other one.” This too followed her throughout her childhood.
Baszile’s story is captivating. It is not just about race and struggles of a black girl. The stories could transcend across all cultures. Wanting the love of her parents, peers, and of course boys is an example. However, there are some things that are specific to being African American. I could totally relate to her stories regarding her hair. This is a huge deal to the black community and especially to women. Baszile’s writing is so candid and fluid. You feel every emotion that she wore. You also feel the emotions of the time period. I highly recommend this one to people of all ages and all backgrounds.
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Donnica Carter is is a newlywed and lives in Marietta, GA. She works in the field of accounting but has always had a love for reading. She started a book club, Sista Talk Book Club, in 2004. It started with a small group of women and now has grown into a sisterhood that is bonded by the love of reading. She is a reviewer for APOOO Exchange Team and also a member of APOOO BookClub. She also enjoys photography, scrap booking, and writing.
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