Toya Wolfe

Författare till Last Summer on State Street

1 verk 129 medlemmar 8 recensioner

Verk av Toya Wolfe

Last Summer on State Street (2022) 129 exemplar, 8 recensioner


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This was interesting, but also slow to get through. It read like a non-fiction at times and that’s just not what I was looking for. There’s too much telling, and barely any showing. I appreciate the author’s experiences that enabled her to write this book, but it just wasn’t as engaging as I hoped it would be.
LynnMPK | 7 andra recensioner | May 18, 2024 |
I live in Chicago and for several years drove past the Robert Taylor Homes every day on my way to work and back to my home on the North Side. Those Homes were a source of fear, and yet also hope for both the people who lived there and the people who just drove by. Wolfe gathers those fears and hope and writes a story of hope, desperation, resilience, fear and joy.
FeFe is a girl on the cusp of womanhood with a protective mother and a brother who loves her and their mother, but is caught up in the gangs, drugs, violence and sex that is rampant in the Taylor homes. FeFe’s friends include girls who will “make it out” and some who will be caught by the violence and despair. FeFe is fortunate to have a teacher willing to extend herself for her students, a mother who teaches her self-respect and respect and concern for others.
You NEED to read this book. When you do, you may feel the guilt of privilege. Remember that every child deserves the privilege of hope, respect and love.
5 of 5 stars
… (mer)
beckyhaase | 7 andra recensioner | Jan 9, 2024 |
“We didn’t know then that the practice of burying emotions created adults who’d struggle to build meaningful relationships; some of us would eventually completely forget how to access true feelings.”

In the summer of 1999, our twelve-year protagonist Felicia "FeFe" Stevens spends her days jumping rope with her three friends Precious, Shania and Tonya whom she has recently befriended, attending summer school (though she does not really have to) and keeping out of trouble under the watchful eye of her mother, who is protective of her children, FeFe and her older brother Meechie. The friends live in the Robert Taylor Homes, the housing projects in the Bronzeville area of Chicago’s South Side. FeFe is sweet and kind to others around her, befriending those who she knows has a rough time at home. The environment in the projects is volatile with rampant incidents of gang violence and shootings, substance abuse and exploitation. The projects are in the process of being demolished and one by one the buildings are being evacuated and residents are uprooted or relocated, depending upon the terms of Lease Compliancy and criminal background or lack thereof.

“That day is cemented in my memory. We watched them knock down what we thought was indestructible. I’d learn that so many things that I thought were solid and structured in my life could be broken down, bit by bit, just like those buildings.”

The author paints a heartbreaking portrait of a community plagued by hate crimes and gang violence, poverty, addiction and abuse through the eyes of a twelve-year-old who sees her life as she knew it and her friendships disintegrating in front of her own eyes. What saves her from a fate that would seem inevitable is the fierce protection of her mother and the positive influence of Mama Pearl and her teacher, Mrs. Pierce at school, a place she dubs “a refuge in a season of life when we needed to take cover”. Decades later, she is still haunted by the violence and loss she had witnessed as a child. As the narrative progresses, we, along with FeFe learn of the fate of her friends in the aftermath of their last summer on State State. As we follow FeFe’s life through the decades it is obvious that the events of the summer of 1999 have played a large role in the choices she has made, choosing a career that would emulate the positive influences she had in her formative years.

“We will meet people; they will transform us. We will see things that will age us.”

In short, Toya Wolfe’s Last Summer on State Street is a stunning debut. Toya Wolfe writes with heart and insight. This is a profoundly moving story of family, friendship, resilience and survival. Part coming of age, part family drama and social commentary of the times, this is a book that pulls you in and stays with you.
… (mer)
srms.reads | 7 andra recensioner | Sep 4, 2023 |
In 1999, Felicia "Fe Fe" Stevens and her friends are pre-teens living in the projects in Chicago. Their building is going to be torn down. Her friends, Precious Brown and Stacia Buchanan jump rope together. When a new friend, Tonya, is invited to their group, Stacia isn't happy.
The book traces their lives over the summer. Fe Fe's mother wants her to avoid some of these girls due to their family environment. As Fe Fe remembers the summer, she remembers her mother and her gang member brother, her devout friend Precious, the hardness of Stacia, and the loneliness of Tonya. When Tonya disappears from the group, Fe Fe tries to reach out to her, but Tonya's mother doesn't help. It isn't until years later that Fe Fe discovers what happened that summer.
A sad coming-of-age story.
… (mer)
rmarcin | 7 andra recensioner | Mar 22, 2023 |





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