Reviews

Here Comes the Sun, by Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn

kayjaydub's review

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dark sad medium-paced

3.5

sarawithanh's review

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dark sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0


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hunterchaney's review

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challenging emotional reflective medium-paced
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

This book is a rollercoaster. There are parts where you think it's as low as it can get... and then it gets worse. It feels bizarre to say I liked it because of the nature of the story. 
That being said, this book is so hard to put down. It's gritty and often hard to stomach, but you just want to know what happens next at the end of every page. Nicole Dennis-Benn knows how to write a compelling story.
It has an interesting cast of characters, and we alternate between following four different characters: two sisters, Margot and Thandi; their mother, Delores; and a woman named Verdene, Margot's lover. They wrestle with their pasts, sexuality, education, poverty, racism, the state of Jamaica itself... I could go on. But they each have different perspectives on all of these topics and it opens the reader's eyes even further to the culture.
There is also what appears to be semi-autobiographical element to it. Dennis-Benn seems to have woven her own experience in Jamaica into parts of the tale. 
It gives us a "behind the scenes" look at Jamaica, if you will-- the parts you don't see as a tourist, confined to the massive resorts that have negatively affected a lot of the island. And, really, it doesn't seem to be particularly dramatized for effect. It lays bare the problems the locals face in the wake of the booming hotel industry. It feels not only like an examination of the state of Jamaica, but also a look at the human condition and family dynamics through these very different characters. 
I went down a rabbit hole with this novel, learning more than I ever would have expected about Jamaica and its industries. 
I do think that having the audiobook (a good version of it) can be a nice addition to really get into the dialect when the characters are speaking, but it's definitely not incomprehensible without it. I would absolutely recommend this novel. It's a fast read simply because it's so easy to get lost in.

bookgirlmagic's review against another edition

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5.0

Really had no idea what I was walking into with this one. I legit went in blind only knowing that it contained prostitution.

With that being said.....WOW! This is my first Nicole Dennis-Benn novel and I am in love! The characters were fascinating in their own little ways but I found myself wanting to jab Delores (their mother) in the eye several times.

Although each of the characters had different struggles throughout the story, like most of us, they all find themselves yearning to be loved and accepted in some way or by someone.

Lots of twists and turns, highs and lows in this one. I’m looking forward to reading more by Dennis-Benn! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ from me!

kaileehaong's review against another edition

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3.0

3.5/5
This novel follows the life of Margot, her mother Delores, and her younger sister Thandi. Dennis-Benn explores the complexities of the relationships between these women and also uses them as a way to compare and contrast with one another, namely in their identities and how they see themselves in the world. Dennis-Benn writes of experiencing and living through different traumas and how that shapes a person. Each of her characters is going through something. Thandi struggles with the weight of feeling like she owes it to her mother and older sister who have put her through school, and with colorism that is rampant in her country. Margot is hiding her sexuality from everyone she knows, and hurting herself and her lover in the midst of it. Delores is a character who is hard to love—she's harsh, selfish, and arguably not the best mother in the world. What are you willing to expend in order to achieve “success”? This is the question that is tackled for each of the characters in this novel.

caroline_reads99's review

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dark emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.0

lipglossmaffia's review against another edition

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5.0

I wish I could give this book 10 stars!

Here Comes The Sun is a behind-the-scenes look at the brand, Jamaica. Yeah, it's a brand now because that's what it has been turned into. I mean what's the first thing that comes to your mind when you think "Jamaica?" Ponder on that for a bit. When you're done, pick this book up and read it.

This novel reminds you that it's a country with real people. People with feelings and emotions. People suffering from a government who take advantage of the brand it's created. In pregnant paragraphs and rich patois, Here Comes The Sun shines a light on poverty, corruption, education, colourism and homophobia. It lays out the naked realities of an island whose entire economy relies on natural beauty, cheap labour, and limited resources.

I particularly enjoyed the patois in this novel, not because it keeps the authenticity intact but it forces you to slow down and engage with the characters. Language is a big part of identity, and you will get to know these characters so well that your heart will bleed. I highly recommend you read this book because you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you don't.

seebrandyread's review

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challenging dark emotional reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

Here Comes the Sun is brutal and unflinching in its portrayal of Margot, Thandi, and Delores, two daughters and their mother, who are willing to go to any lengths for survival. As capitalism and colonialism encroach on their home in Jamaica and infiltrate their lives, each finds that the cost of survival, let alone success, may come at a higher price than they'd bargained for.

Though Thandi and Margot are sisters, their age gap makes them more like mother and daughter. Margot and Delores work hard to make sure Thandi receives an education in order to transcend their poor community, but their sacrifices come with strings. We eventually learn about different traumas inflicted on Delores by her mother and their society's expectations of women who passes them down to Margot. Try as they might to keep their own sexual exploitation and deficits of love away from Thandi, they eventually trickle down to her. As the saying goes, how can you love someone else if you can't love yourself?

Pressure comes in the form of sexism, classism, and colorism. Women bleach their skin after seeing the disdain with which those with darker skin are treated. Delores becomes a cautionary tale of how hateful the heart grows when one needs to find others to look down on in order to feel better about herself. Each woman is used at some point for her body, but only Margot is able to gain a modicum of control over hers. Dennis-Benn demonstrates time and time again the double standard of men being allowed to rape, beat, and molest women, but women should remain chaste.

The dark veins of capitalism and its ties to colonialism run throughout each woman's story. Delores is willing to give up innocent people, including her own child, for money. Margot is not much different, but she has convinced herself that the people she uses have a choice or that cash trumps morals. Even their love for Thandi is transactional because they expect to be repaid in some way once she's become a successful doctor or lawyer. The hotel Margot works for threatens to tear down the very neighborhood where they live.

The novel offers some hope for breaking abusive cycles as Margot escapes Delores and Thandi performs what at least seems to be a mostly selfless act. But it also poses a more frightening picture. What if success, or at least avoiding destitution, requires the partial death of the soul? Isn't that kind of the gist of living in a capitalistic society, after all?

dexterdog's review against another edition

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5.0

Loved it - 4 & a half stars

booknrrd's review against another edition

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4.0

The story of a family of women in Jamaica, a mother and her two daughters. It was a bit like watching traffic when the road conditions are terrible and you know an accident is going to happen, but it doesn't quite work out that way.

This has some difficult subject matter. I liked it, but it's definitely not for everyone. The characters are poor and make terrible choices as they try to get by.