In the summer of 1995, D, Neeka and our unnamed narrator (weâ€™ll just call her â€œMeâ€) are trying to figure out what it means to be â€œgrownâ€ in their Queens, NY neighborhood while the music of their idol, Tupac Shakur, provides the soundtrack to their unusual friendship. Neeka and Me have lived on the same block forever, but D just appears one day, a foster kid with the wrong kind of shoes and the wrong color eyes. D likes to â€œroam,â€ taking the subway and bus to new neighborhoods, meeting people and gathering experiences. Neeka and Me are suspicious of her at first, but soon Dâ€™s sweet half smile and easy demeanor win them over. Something clicks between them and before they know it, they are â€œThree the Hard Way.â€ D convinces them to venture off the block, slipping out from under the watchful eyes of their mothers and into everyday adventures. They share pizza, secrets, and the pain that comes from worrying about their favorite rapper who seems to understand exactly how they feel yet canâ€™t keep him self out of harmâ€™s way. Ironically, D and Tupac slip out of Neeka and Meâ€™s life around the same time, and the girls realize that while they loved them both, they didnâ€™t really know either of them at all. For D, all that mattered was that Neeka and Me cared about her, and she cared about them. â€œI came on this street and yâ€™all became my friendsâ€¦I talked about roaming and yâ€™all listened. I sat down and ate with your mamas and it felt like I was finally belonging somewhere.â€ When the time comes to say goodbye, they all understand that their lives are better for having known each other. This gentle story about faith, friendship and family being the people you chose will sit quietly in your heart and head long after the last page is turned.
5 thoughts on “After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson”
Wonderful review of a wonderful book! I loved the sense of the community that came through so strongly in the story – everyone sitting on the porches after dinner, everyone keeping an eye on everyone’s children. I knew that neighborhood. I also loved the exploration of friendship.
I loved this review, I read this book also this summer and was touched by the friendship of these 3 girls, laughed with them as they talked and cried when they were 3 tight friends no more. Woodson’s NY neighborhood is home to Neeka and the narrator, but they all look out for each other and when D Foster takes them to new neighborhoods, roads, rails, and experiences, they are better for it. A great look at the warmth of friendship, a time of tumult for Tupac and his followers, and the mysteries of friendship.
I didn’t realize this was a quiet book. Had heard the title before, hadn’t gotten to it. Definitely moving it up my list.
Tanita, what do you mean by a quiet book? You will love it! BJ
Yes, VERY quiet. I was surprised too. Very much a character-driven novel, gorg writing as usual from Woodson.