The Street

The Street

4.3 19
by Ann Lane Petry
     
 

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THE STREET tells the poignant, often heartbreaking story of Lutie Johnson, a young black woman, and her spirited struggle to raise her son amid the violence, poverty, and racial dissonance of Harlem in the late 1940s. Originally published in 1946 and hailed by critics as a masterwork, The Street was Ann Petry's first novel, a beloved bestseller with more than a…  See more details below

Overview

THE STREET tells the poignant, often heartbreaking story of Lutie Johnson, a young black woman, and her spirited struggle to raise her son amid the violence, poverty, and racial dissonance of Harlem in the late 1940s. Originally published in 1946 and hailed by critics as a masterwork, The Street was Ann Petry's first novel, a beloved bestseller with more than a million copies in print. Its haunting tale still resonates today.

Editorial Reviews

Sacred Fire
Ann Petry's best-selling first novel, The Street, is the tragic story of Lutie Johnson, a young black woman, and her struggle to live decently and raise her son amidst the violence, poverty, desperation, and racial discord of Harlem in the late 1940s.

Lutie's marriage falls apart after she takes a job as a live-in nanny and maid in Connecticut, leaving her husband, Jim, and her son behind. When Lutie finds out that Jim "has taken up with another woman," she packs up her son and her things and moves out. She eventually ends up on 116th Street, signing the lease on the only apartment she can afford: three rooms in a building with narrow dark halls and prying, noisy neighbors.

Often compared to Richard Wright's Native Son for its stark despair, The Street was the first book by an African American female writer to sell over one million copies.

Doris Grumbach
"One of the masterpieces of Black fiction...the fortunate republication of The Street will return this fine novelist to the critical ranks of major 20th-century writers." -- National Public Radio

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807063576
Publisher:
Beacon
Publication date:
12/28/1985
Series:
Black Women Writers Series
Pages:
258

What People are saying about this

Coretta Scott King
"Forty-five years after it was first published, Anne Petri's The Street remains a powerful, uncompromising work of social criticism. To this day, few works of fiction have so clearly illuminated the devastating impact of racial injustice."
Gloria Naylor
"Forty-five years ago Anne Petri brought the world to its feet with the artistry in this painfully honest and wrenching novel. Once again a standing ovation is due for this American classic."

Meet the Author

Ann Petry (1908-1997), a black novelist, short story writer, and writer of books for young people, is one of America's most distinguished authors. Ann began by studying pharmacology, and in 1934, received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Connecticut College of Pharmacy. She worked as a registered pharmacist in Old Saybrook and in Lyme, and during these years wrote several short stories. When she married George David Petry in 1938, the course of her life changed. They lived in New York City, and Ann went to work for the Harlem Amsterdam News. By 1941, she was covering general news stories and editing the women's pages of the People's Voice in Harlem. Her first published story appeared in 1943 in the Crisis, a magazine published monthly by the NAACP. Subsequent to that, she began work on her first novel, The Street, which was published in 1946 and for which she received the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship. Mrs. Petry has written two more novels, The Country Place and The Narrows, and numerous short stories, articles and children's books. In addition, she was appointed visiting professor of English at the University of Hawaii (1944 - 45) and has lectured widely throughout the United States. Ann returned with her husband to Old Saybrook in 1947 and lived there until here death. They have one daughter.

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The Street 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
chanda_nunez More than 1 year ago
"The Street" is over 400 pages and I read in one weekend. The mom is a hard-working woman who wants what is best for her family. But we all know that sometimes things don't always go according to plan. This novel is full of interesting characters and each character brings along an intersting past. The author does an excellent job of capturing the true essence of Harlem. Perfect for Mother's Day or Graduation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mrs Petry is very detail oriented which lends to a wonderful imagining of the time period. It was very powerful in that you actually felt the tension as the events unfolded. There was not much plot to the book, but it was not necessary to portray the point. As a white female raised in the south, this was a very insiteful glimpse at a world I have only heard of.
anselmus More than 1 year ago
This book was a bestseller when it was published but has been somewhat neglected since. I heard about it on NPR in a feature where various writers praised their favorite books. The influence of Richard Wright, in particular "Native Son", is obvious. The author writes about a single mother trying to raise her son in the dangerous environment of the title. Her ambition is to raise the money to move to a better neighborhood, but she is continually frustrated. "The street" becomes a force, almost a personality, that grips her with its malign influence. Her descriptive language is vivid and poetic, beginning with the opening paragraphs. In fact, it's a page turner.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. It was very captivating.
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JDBTeach More than 1 year ago
I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't read this book until graduate school. I'm even more ashamed to say that I hadn't heard of Ann Petry until my early 20s. This is a "hidden classic" that I believe every high schooler or college student should read. Petry adeptly weaves the plot for readers and keeps us wanting more. The characters are lovable, pitiable, despicable, and so much more. I can't say that I've ever been emotionally tied to many books, but this one hit me right in the center. Ann Petry offers a realistic perspective into America's history in the 1940s. She seems also to be criticizing the society of that time. There's Lutie, a mother, who only wants to provide a "respectable" life for her son, but she just can't get a break. I read an interview a while ago that Petry did in the 80s (I believe), and she says something similar to this, "The sad thing about what happens in THE STREET and what's happening today is that not much has changed." I can only add to that and say that almost 30 years later, still, not much has changed. It's a sad story, but it's a reflection of reality. Excellent job, Mrs. Petry!
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SCarolina_Girl More than 1 year ago
I am halfway through this book and really can't get into it! I was hoping that it was going to be similar to Gloria Naylor's books about African American women and the struggles they face throughout their lives as well as the strengths that carry them through. However, this book is very slow and I really haven't been able to connect to the main character at all. I will probably try to finish it, but for now I've put it down to read something else.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Ann Petry's The Street is a novel about a young black woman, Lutie, her son, Bub, and life in 1940s Harlem. Near the beginning of the story, I really felt close to Lutie and cheered in her corner while she struggled through leaving her cheating husband and moved out on her own. However, I began to feel as though she made some bad decisions for her and her son¿s futures. She would do anything (except sell her body) in an effort to get herself and her son off of ¿the street,¿ but I felt as though she put these desires in front of caring for and spending time with Bub. Some of the subplots, including those with the Super, Mrs. Hedges, and Min are interesting and break up the monotony of hearing how Lutie continues her struggle to better herself. The story left me sad and depressed but hoping the best for her and Bub.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent intertainment. My entire book club loved it! The author actually places the reader in the story. I felt as if I was in New York's Harlem during the 1940's. You find yourself feeling the main character's every experience.
Guest More than 1 year ago
once i pick up this novel and open it, i was trapped!!! just like Lutie Johnson. no where to go and couldn't do anything. i enjoy reading it very much; and the ending had changed my life. read The Street by Ann Petry.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a worth the time, the money and the tought. When i read it it was like 'Wow how do i complain about the little things in life when people like Lutie Johnson really live and have similar or worse problems'. I couldn't put it down. At 15 i rather spend my money on books rather than on the nice shoes or the clothes that will match with them. This book was worth the 12 bucks and probably more. I recommend it to anybody who is interested at all in books dealing with African Americans and what people had to go through. The end was shocking. I had to tell everybody about the book(not that they listened). The end was extremely unexpected and it makes you look at the book in a different way(not in a bad way). Loved it and recommend it to all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone who enjoys African American literature and the stories that need to be told must read this!! I could not put the book down. Although it is tragic it also provides some serious food for thought. Lutie Johnson's exist every where even today.