The Street

The Street

by Ann Petry

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“Petry is the writer we have been waiting for; hers are the stories we need to fully illuminate the questions of our moment, while also offering a page-turning good time. Ann Petry, the woman, had it all, and so does her insightful, prescient and unputdownable prose.” — Tayari Jones, New York Times Book Review

The Street follows the spirited Lutie Johnson, a newly single mother whose efforts to claim a share of the American Dream for herself and her young son meet frustration at every turn in 1940s Harlem. Opening a fresh perspective on the realities and challenges of black, female, working-class life, The Street became the first novel by an African American woman to sell more than a million copies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780547525341
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 08/23/2013
Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 29,001
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Ann Petry (1908–1997), novelist, short story writer, and writer of books for young people, was 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. Petry wrote two more novels, The Country Place and The Narrows, and numerous short stories, articles, and children’s books.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A major literary invention . . . A truly great book." The Los Angeles Times

"Overflows with the classic pity and terror of good imaginative writing." The New York Times

"A powerful, uncompromising work of social criticism. To this day, few works of fiction have so clearly illuminated the devastating impact of racial injustice."—Coretta Scott King

"A classic of American realism . . . The Street rushes toward its fatalistic climax like a train toward a washed-out bridge." Newsday

Customer Reviews

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The Street 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 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.
Anonymous 7 months ago
bcquinnsmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A phenomenal story. "The street" itself is actually one of the novel's main characters, taking on a life of its own throughout the story. As noted on page 323 in Lutie Johnson's thoughts, referring to her Harlem ghetto neighborhood,"Streets like the one she lived on were no accident. They were the North's lynch mobs...the methods the big cities used to keep Negroes in their place." (323) Not only that, but "and while you were out working to pay the rent on this stinking, rotten place, why, the street outside played nursemaid to your kid. It became both mother and father and trained your kid for you, and it was an evil father and a vicious mother..." (407).I won't go through the plot here, because it is so eloquently summarized by others here and elsewhere on the internet, but throughout the book, the street took on a life of its own, providing the impetus for Lutie's actions. All she wanted was her little slice of the American dream for herself and her son, but the more she attempted to leave the street behind her, the more it hemmed her in. And outside the street existed factors that put and kept people in the street: unemployment, racism and distrust, economic oppression. This book is a very gritty and unapologetic look at the Harlem ghetto of the 1940s, and I think one of the most revealing scenes (meaning one that really struck me) in this novel was that in which the Harlem schoolteacher's thoughts were laid bare. You kind of have to wonder how far we've actually come from the world portrayed in this book -- the issues here are largely still relevant. The Street is not a happy, feel-good type of novel, so if that's what you want, then skip it. This book really got under my skin and I know it's one I'll think about for some time. It's also one I'd recommend to anyone, and would list under the "don't miss this book" category. The writing is most excellent; the reader can actually envision the streets filled with rubbish, the squalidness of the apartments, and can feel the total anguish that Lutie felt throughout the story. The characterizations are excellent as well.Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! Kept me excited to learn what would happen next. Ending was quite a surprise.
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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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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.