Acker brings keen observation of black culture, the lives of black women, and the city of Washington, D.C., to her first short story collection ... Beautifully rendered characters struggle to find a sense of themselves in their complex lives.
With this impressive debut short story collection, author Camille Acker establishes herself as a gifted and agile writer with an assured and masterful voice. The collection is centered around the lives of ordinary residents of Washington, D.C., over the past several decades. From a young girl in the ’90s who is losing her older brother to forces that she doesn’t understand, to a motivational speaker’s spouse in the midst of a serious marriage crisis, Acker’s protagonists are modern African-American women and girls from a range of class backgrounds ... Acker is a sensitive and skilled writer whose relatable slice-of-life fiction feels firmly grounded in reality. Her pacing and ear for dialogue are impeccable.
The experiences and disquieting realizations of black women come through Training School for Negro Girls, in which Washington, DC, and its surroundings are treated with tension and tenderness. Spanning girlhood to adulthood, these stories consider aspects of belonging ... A striking cross-section view of the capital’s corners, these stories contain, and sometimes restrain, hope; in fleeting glimpses, they also reveal the beginning of a way out.