Training School for Negro Girls (Book Review)

Hey y’all! This is the last book I’ll be reviewing from the readathon. Training School for Negro Girls was an interesting set of short stories. It reminded me of Heads of the Colored People which I read a few stories from for my African American Literature class last year.

I actually ended up finding out about this book through Goodreads and my library had the audiobook on the CloudLibrary app, so it felt like a perfect chance for trying out this genre.

Goodreads Synopsis

As unapologetic and resilient as the DC neighborhoods they live in, these women challenge monolithic assumptions of black identity.

A TSA agent who has never flown, a girl braving new worlds to play piano, a teacher caught up in a mayoral race. In this debut collection of stories, each of them navigate life’s “training school”—with its lessons on gentrification and respectability—while fighting to create a vibrant sense of self in this love letter to Washington, DC.

The Good

The stories were engaging and made me think a lot. They showed the nuance of the black female experience. There was a range of ages and experiences. There were even stories set in different time periods. The one thing that connected them all was that they took place in Washington, D. C. Even then, some stories took place on one side of the metropolitan or the other. It was very interesting.

The stories all had a different focus but a lot of them had common themes. I think my personal favorite was the one about the piano player. I really enjoyed the end and it was a very sweet story.

The Not So Good

In all honesty, short stories don’t really do it for me. I’m always left wanting more. I want to see where these characters go and how their stories end. I also think I would have preferred this in print instead of audiobook. I really enjoyed the narrators but with short stories, I like to go back and see the details and that’s harder with audiobooks.

All in All

If you’d like to learn more about the Black experience and you’re a fan of short stories (or want to give them a try), definitely consider reaching for this collection. Training School for Negro Girls is perfect for fans of Heads of the Colored People, Well-Read Black Girl, and Black Enough.

3.5/5 Stars

Have you read Training School for Negro Girls?

Do you like short stories?

What are you currently reading?

Let me know in the comments below, let’s chat!


Author: Rachelle Saint Louis

Rachelle Saint Louis is a Haitian-American writer, born and raised in South Florida. She received a 2018 Silver Medal in the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition for her poem “Red Blood Cell.” She is currently a Psychology and English double major at Florida Atlantic University. Her poetry has been published in Rigorous Magazine. Rachelle has been writing poetry since the 7th grade and you can often find her performing Spoken Word at local open mics.

3 thoughts on “Training School for Negro Girls (Book Review)”

  1. This book seems so interesting! I haven’t read short story collections recently and I keep meaning to pick up more — so I might go ahead and read this one :’) do you usually listen to audiobooks or was this out of the ordinary??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a really interesting collection 🙂 I listen to audiobooks super often. They help me get through books a lot faster and I love when there’s a really good narrator.

      This collection had a great narrator but I wish I’d read it as a physical book because then it would’ve been easier to skim the earlier parts of each story after I finished them off. I really like looking for consistent themes and analyzing short stories when I read them 😀

      I hope you check this out and end up enjoying it!


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