The stunning account of Chicago’s Dreamcatcher Foundation founder Brenda Myers-Powell’s brutal, beautiful life, Leaving Breezy Street is a critical addition to the American canon, because this is a voice we haven’t heard from before—and it has so deserved to be heard.
Fourteen-years-old, poor, mother dead, two babies to feed and clothe, and a grandmother who is, well, not full of motherly kindness, to put it mildly. What’s a girl to do?
When Brenda Myers hit the streets of the South Side of Chicago she was barely a teenager. But she was pretty as hell, and funny, and determined to make a living. For the next twenty or more years, she moved all around the country—to New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans, L.A., even border towns in Canada—finding new pimps, parties, drugs, and endless, fresh heartache. And all the while, she would try to make her way back to her daughters. And she would also try to find a way forward—to a life of dignity, respect and self-respect, truth, and most of all, loving kindness. And she would find it.
What do we know about those we call sex workers, prostitutes, and a host of uglier names? We know what reporters and the showrunners of premium cable shows reveal. But until Leaving Breezy Street we have not heard from a woman who has lived—and survived—this life. What is like? How does it work? How do you get into it? And how can anyone climb out?
Leaving Breezy Street is an unforgettable memoir that belongs on that special shelf alongside Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle, Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone, and James McBride’s The Color of Water. We have no say into which worlds we are born. But sometimes we can find a way out.
A Macmillan Audio production from Henry Holt and Company