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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Leaving Breezy Street

Leaving Breezy Street

A Memoir

Brenda Myers-Powell with April Reynolds

Henry Holt and Co.


Belonging on the shelf with Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle and Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone, Leaving Breezy Street—the stunning account of Brenda Myers-Powell’s brutal and beautiful life—is a critical addition to the American canon.

Fourteen years old, poor, Black, mother dead, two babies to feed and clothe, and a grandmother who is not full of motherly kindness, to put it mildly. What money-making options are open to a girl like Brenda Myers?

When Breezy, as she came to call herself, hit the streets of Chicago as a prostitute in 1973 she was barely a teenager. But she was pretty and funny as hell, and determined to support her daughters and make a living. For the next twenty-five years, she moved across the country, finding new pimps, parties, drugs, and endless, profound heartache. And she also—astonishingly—managed to find the strength to break from a brutal world and not only save herself but save future Breezys.

Great, compelling memoirs can bring us into worlds that have been beyond our comprehension and make us “get it.” What these books tell us is NOT that we can all move beyond the lives into which we were born. The lesson is that everyone deserves to be truly seen by others and offered a path forward.

Reviews from Goodreads

Brenda Myers-Powell with April Reynolds

Brenda Myers-Powell has been advocating for victims of sex trafficking since 1997. She is the co-founder and executive director of the Dreamcatcher Foundation, and has sat on the board of numerous organizations. In 2020, she was selected to serve on the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. Brenda’s work with Dreamcatcher and victims was the focus of the Sundance Award–winning documentary Dreamcatcher.

April Reynolds teaches philosophy and creative writing at New York University. Her first novel, Knee-Deep in Wonder was published by Metropolitan Books and received a Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation Award for unpublished work.

April Reynolds

World Without Exploitation