A review by abbie_
Patsy, by Nicole Dennis-Benn
challenging emotional reflective medium-paced
- Strong character development? Yes
- Loveable characters? It's complicated
- Diverse cast of characters? Yes
- Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes
Another brilliant read for #ReadCaribbean, hosted by @bookofcinz! I bought this one because of Cindy and Jesse @bowtiesandbooks and I absolutely devoured it. Anything to do with motherhood in a book, however unconventional, always ticks a huge box for me. This sprawling saga, spanning two decades across Jamaica and America, hooked its claws in me from page one.
Patsy leaves Jamaica for New York almost straight away in the book, determined to start a new life for herself and rekindle her love with her childhood best friend, Cicely, at any cost. But that cost is Tru, her five-year-old daughter, whom she leaves behind with her father and his new wife. This book would make such an incredible book club pick, because everyone would feel so differently about Patsy and her actions. There is no right answer and there's so much to consider and discuss.
Dennis-Benn addresses a lot of themes throughout the book, and it can get very emotional as she looks at sexual abuse, self-harm and racism. I was particularly moved by Dennis-Benn's exploration of sexuality and gender through the characters of Patsy and Tru. But every issue in this book gives you something to think about.
Patsy's experiences as an undocumented immigrant in New York is an emotional rollercoaster. I LOVED her friendship with Fionna, a woman from Trinidad & Tobago who works at the same restaurant as Patsy, but through a heartwarming friendship, Dennis-Benn also unpacks the darker issue of immigrant women being lured into fake husband schemes for a green card, risking losing their entire savings. She also draws your attention to the myriad microaggressions directed at Patsy during her time in New York.
I agree with other reviewers who have expressed that the ending feels a little rushed and wrapped up within a few pages. I could have easily read 50-100 more pages of this story!