This compact novel brilliantly delineates the strain that often arises in mother and daughter relationships. The story begins when the protagonist is ten years old; Annie is a bright-eyed, energetic girl who loves her mother fiercely but has found their relationship changing faster than she can follow. As Annie ages, she falls into disfavor with her mother, and a pattern develops of public falsity and hidden betrayal. As a daughter, I felt like Kincaid expressed some of the deepest sorrows and challenges of growing up. Her prose glitters and the reader walks away with a deeper appreciation of the complexity of human relationships.
Yes...this novel is indeed a member of Oprah's infamous book club. The novel is beautiful and brilliant, a deep and resounding work that stays with the reader long after the last page ends. The protagonist in this novel is raised by her aunt and grandmother in Haiti until the tender age of six, when she is then shipped off to New York City to live with her mother, who left for America to build a better life. The novel exposes some of the more painful and abusive traditions within Haitian culture, and the protagonist struggles to reconcile a love for her family with the sexual and physical abuse she faced as a child. Ultimately, this is a novel about recovery and hope, a novel that explores the many shades of gray that exist in both family and tradition.
Yes. I am a huge fan of Jamaica Kincaid. This novel is often viewed as the continuation of Annie John. The protagonist, Lucy, travels to New York from her native home of Antigua to become a nanny for a white, upper-class family in the city. Despite geographical distance, it is evident that Lucy and her mother are inextricably bond as Lucy struggles daily with thoughts, anger and repressed emotion towards her mother. The novel also explores the complicated relationships between women from richer countries and poorer countries. As in this novel, many of these "poorer women" become the caretakers of the wealthier women's families. While the feminist movement in America has allowed many women to embrace freedom from familial responsibility, the burden has to fall somewhere, and often it is upon the shoulders of immigrant women. Themes of sexual exploration and body image also pervade the work, which makes this novel an excellent jumping point for much feminist discussion and thought. Please read Jamaica Kincaid; you won't regret it.