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Before Her

The One
Narrated by: Jacqueline Woodson
Length: 30 mins

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Summary

In this eloquent memoir, the National Book Award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming traces the relationships in her past that would eventually deliver her to the love of a lifetime.

Before Jacqueline Woodson met Juliet, before her own self-realization, there were decades of friends, lovers, and family who defined the woman she’d become. In this haunting story of memory and identity, Jacqueline shares the profound impact they had on bending the path of her life; how they informed the dreams of her future; and how each one - some lost, all loved - would bring her to Juliet, her one and only.

Jacqueline Woodson’s Before Her is part of The One, a collection of seven singularly true love stories of friendship, companionship, marriage, and moving on. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single sitting, with or without company.

©2019 Jacqueline Woodson (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic reviews

"In this brief yet affecting memoir...Woodson narrates with the unhurried pace of an author who knows just how her words should land; even the occasional stilted pauses add to the intimacy of the performance, evoking the feeling of a live reading. No less profound for its brevity, this is a must-listen for adult Woodson fans." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about Before Her

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  • Becky
  • 06-09-19

Great insight into a life of love

I enjoyed this review of this author's life through the eyes of her heart. Her voice is easy to listen to and feel her emotion.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • KarynH
  • 28-08-19

So sad.

Not what I expected at the end. I'd have to agree with your mom and grandmom. Your books are sad. On the flip side it as real as it can be.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • H. Hannaford
  • 28-08-19

Difficult to follow; narration was a distraction

I found this story hard to follow, due to a narrative spoken in a choppy monotone and having an odd cadence (think, William Shatner). Had I read the selection, as opposed to listening...it’s possible I would've found it more interesting; perhaps, entertaining? The selection was read by the author, yet at times it sounded like the narrator had no connection to or knowledge of the story. Instead of a narrative, what I heard seemed simply a litany of items on a list; some substance, little story.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • escoocoo
  • 22-08-19

Enjoyed It!

I enjoyed listening to this short, well written and well narrated story. I got all caught up in it and, before I knew it, it was over! Well worth the short amount of time it takes to listen. I could see myself listening to a longer version of this story, or other works by this author! Thanks, Ms. Woodson....☺️

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • C Kparr
  • 10-08-19

Quick Read

It's a quick read about a young with some regrets on how and what she did in life. She has and still is trying to figure out how she will continue to be whom she is supposed to be in this world. The many lovers she has had expresses how she is wishing for that one special love of her life

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • jen4choice
  • 10-08-19

It’s a small world after all

Dan Savage says relationships that come to end (which they all do, one way or another - even the ones that end with someone dying) can still be “successful” if you view it through the lens of What have I learned? How have I grown? What qualities do I want to look for in my next partner? That perspective is readily evident in Woodson’s narrative. Both she - and the reader, along for the ride - come to appreciate all that she experienced before she met her life partner and co-parent. And how cool was it to learn her friend Toshi - the cool musician pal and bestie who introduced her to Jacqueline- is none other than Toshi Reagon, who I got to hear live for the first time at the Pete Seeger Centennial benefit concert back in May. (!!!)

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • RandiC
  • 09-08-19

Before Him

I would love to know more about the lonely "him" in her relationships. It was very ironic that she got pregnant after her grandma died. I guess I wanted to know more about that. I felt like the rest of her exes was a who's who of relationships that came and gone. And the author was the only survivor.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Irishcharmer
  • 07-08-19

Life

Wasn't sure exactly what the story was going to be about, but had an inkling. It took a moment for it to penetrate my hard head. Once I "got it" realized this was her diary of sorts dealing with the on-demand of life, heartache, duality in relationships, honesty and deceipt. But it all covered what one must deal with in every day life I suppose. It must be a bit more difficult when you are in a alternate lifestyle - having to adjust in your own mind to the mores of society. And to educate those that do not share your choices in life, but want to be a part of your life. The reading,I thought was well done,in my opinion. She made you feel the excitement, the heartache and the joy of living and exploring! Did want to hear more of what ( if any) decision about the baby. Will her relationship shift? Will she be alone or will she and her partner become stronger ?

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sonja W
  • 02-08-19

could have been interesting

the authors voice was not a good selection for this book. was too dry. the storyline was ok, but hard to follow with the dry voice reading it.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • hez
  • 08-09-19

Pointless and boring

This is so boring and self indulgent. I listened for about 45 minutes until I'd finally had more than enough. It's just a bunch of rambling memories and thoughts that never seemed to be going anywhere with purpose. It seems like the writer is just bragging about her alternative lifestyle, and I couldn't care less. If this were an autobiography of someone I wanted to learn about, I'd have listened. But I really don't care about some stranger's promiscuous past about going from one lover to the next. I find it disgusting. I'm not disgusted that this person is a lesbian; I'm disgusted that she's a coked up slut and brags about it. I was irritated by the story within the first 15 minutes, but kept listening in hopes that it would get better and amount to something. But it's just 45 minutes of time I wasted that could've been spent listening to something better. Practically anything would've been better. Jacqueline could've told this story very simply: "Before Her, there were MANY. The end."