Read Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid Online

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Jamaica Kincaid beautifully delineates hatred and fear, because she knows they are often a step away from love and obsession. At the start of Annie John, her 10-year-old heroine is engulfed in family happiness and safety. Though Annie loves her father, she is all eyes for her mother. When she is almost 12, however, the idyll ends and she falls into deep disfavor. This inexJamaica Kincaid beautifully delineates hatred and fear, because she knows they are often a step away from love and obsession. At the start of Annie John, her 10-year-old heroine is engulfed in family happiness and safety. Though Annie loves her father, she is all eyes for her mother. When she is almost 12, however, the idyll ends and she falls into deep disfavor. This inexplicable loss mars both lives, as each grows adept at public falsity and silent betrayal. The pattern is set, and extended: "And now I started a new series of betrayals of people and things I would have sworn only minutes before to die for." In front of Annie's father and the world, "We were politeness and kindness and love and laughter." Alone they are linked in loathing. Annie tries to imagine herself as someone in a book--an orphan or a girl with a wicked stepmother. The trouble is, she finds, those characters' lives always end happily. Luckily for us, though not perhaps for her alter ego, Kincaid is too truthful a writer to provide such a finale....

Title : Annie John
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780330288378
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 148 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Annie John Reviews

  • Zanna
    2019-03-27 16:32

    Annie John is as succinct as a poem, saying only what is both necessary and beautiful, yet it has a dreamy atmosphere, the rhythm of a slow swimmer. The opening chapter introduces the lyrical imagistic style and tightly focused first person viewpoint with a meditation on death, which appears as tiny 'figures in the distance' and gradually stalks nearer, stripping illusions of safety and stability.I related to the early parts of the novel which describe, very beautifully, the love and closeness between Annie and her motherShe smelled sometimes of lemons, sometimes of sage, sometimes of roses, sometimes of bay leaf. At times I would no longer hear what it was she was saying; I just liked to look at her mouth as it opened and closed over words, or as she laughed. How terrible it must be for all the people who had no one to love them so and no one whom they loved so, I thoughtAt a moment when her mother expects her to grow up a little, a rift starts to open between them. (view spoiler)[While it widens progressively, Annie's story parallels her mother's (hide spoiler)] Meanwhile, she really does grow up, still deeply rooted in her world. Friendships sweeten menarche and school days, where colonialism plays out under critical examination. Annie's old notebooks show 'a wrinkled up old woman wearing a crown on her head and a neckful and armfuls of diamonds and pearls' but her new one, with better quality paper, has a cover of 'black-all-mixed-up-with-white'. She reflects on the false history at school sayingwe, the descendants of the slaves, knew quite well what had really happened, and I was sure that if the tables had been turned we would have acted differently; I was sure that if our ancestors had gone from Africa to Europe and come upon the people living there, they would have taken a proper interest in the Europeans on first seeing them, and said “How nice,” and then gone home to tell their friends about itAnnie's relationship with her parents is complex. When she looks around her home and sees everything there made or provided by her father and mother especially for her, I am surprised that she feels stifled rather than appreciative, but I can understand her emotions as part of being adolescent. However, her mother clearly stands 'between me and the rest of the world' when she forbids her to play with marbles, or calls her a slut when she sees Annie simply talking to a group of boys. The narrative's core is classic; the young girl finding refuge in books as she drifts apart from her family, yet Kincaid weaves the threads of Annie's life with exceptional artistry to give the story a unique appeal. After her illness, her depression reminds me of Esther's in the Bell Jar, and the prose sometimes reminds me of Plath's in its pace and the nonchalent originality of its imagery. For me though, it's the decolonising impulse that moves Annie away from her mother as another agent of domination, and the sense of place and interconnections between people and land form the depths, that move the tale most powerfully.

  • Rowena
    2019-04-04 13:45

    Annie John is the coming-of-age story of a 10 year old Antiguan girl. It’s a quick read;the thoughts of a very curious young girl obsessed with death and slowly taking in all the nuances that surround her, who becomes a highly intelligent adolescent who is uninterested in most things.Annie is very much attached to her mother but finds, with the onset of puberty, that things will never be the same again, and she becomes resentful. Annie goes from idolizing her mother to almost hating her.This book was set in colonial Antigua and it’s obvious that Kincaid didn’t much care for the British colonizers. This sentiment is shown the strongest in the classroom, where the teachers teach the Caribbean children from a British curriculum. As I was reading this, I remembered a verse in an African-Canadian poem that I had read recently:"I read a thousand voices None of them speak to me Not one of them speak of me." -Wayne Salmon, CurriculumI found Annie to be an unlikeable character. She went from being a precocious, endearing child to one who thought she was superior to everyone. I guess that might be the result of her becoming jaded with age as she witnesses the double standards about her, and is confused by the contradictions of her Christian faith and the traditional obeah practices her mother follows from time to time.I may have been a little too hard on Annie.I think this book will resonate with a lot of people, it definitely took me back to my childhood at some points.

  • Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
    2019-03-22 17:28

    This is really 3.5 stars: the book gets points for a polished, literary writing style, but it is just so short, and most of it summarized. Its eight chapters could almost work as short stories, and Kincaid’s style often involves paragraphs that go on for a page or more, with few dramatized scenes.This book is a coming-of-age story of a girl in Antigua, beginning when she’s 10 and ending when she’s 17. More than anything else the book focuses on Annie’s relationship with her mother; they are extremely close during Annie's childhood, but as she becomes a teenager they begin to fight constantly. In all honesty, my biggest problem with the book is that on an emotional level it consistently left me rather baffled. For instance, here is the prepubescent Annie with one of her friends:“Then, still without saying a word, the Red Girl began to pinch me. She pinched hard, picking up pieces of my almost nonexistent flesh and twisting it around. At first, I vowed not to cry, but it went on for so long that tears I could not control streamed down my face. I cried so much that my chest began to heave, and then, as if my heaving chest caused her to have some pity on me, she stopped pinching and began to kiss me on the same spots where shortly before I had felt the pain of her pinch. Oh, the sensation was delicious--the combination of pinches and kisses. And so wonderful we found it that, almost every time we met, pinching by her, followed by tears from me, followed by kisses from her were the order of the day. I stopped wondering why all the girls whom I had mistreated and abandoned followed me around with looks of love and adoration on their faces.”Um, all right then? I have to say I’ve never had a relationship remotely like that. Especially not at age 12 or 13. Of course, reading wouldn’t be the pleasure it is if everything I read was already within my realm of experience, but the narrative method Kincaid uses here--lots of broad strokes and descriptions of relationships and feelings, not a lot of dialogue or scenes (the book weighs in at under 150 pages, after all)--is one that works best when readers can already relate to the situations described. If, like me, you don’t, you may be left a bit cold, seeing nothing but yet another coming-of-age story, and a weird one.

  • Leslie Reese
    2019-03-28 15:35

    This book is a complicated meditation on the intimate evolution of a young girl’s relationship with her mother as she grows from being a sheltered child into becoming a young woman whose family sends her away to study in England, without assurances that she will ever return to them. Annie John is growing up in the mid-20th century on the island of British Antigua, in a world handmade by her parents and neighbors. Her bed, her linens, her clothes; the foods that she eats, the baths and medicines she takes are carved, sewn, cooked, and concocted by the personal stewards of her life.This book doesn’t “go places”; instead, it hones in on the mix of first loves (mothers, best friends, mysterious strangers, marbles) impressions, and confusions that adults often forget they ever had. Three and one half stars.

  • Lisa
    2019-03-28 17:33

    3+ Jamaica Kincaid is a fine writer and I appreciated (from a distance) these vignettes about a young girl growing up in Antigua.

  • Abi
    2019-04-05 12:41

    i cried multiple times reading this book. this is some heavy shit because it's so fucking real. everyone wants to be real and shit but this shit here is the truth. growing up is a horrible life experience but we all go through it. the sadness of it is long forgotten. to not be able to curl in your mother's arms and have the entire world be just fine is an unbearable pain. but we all lost that ability. we all fucking grew up. and now there are problems that can't be solved by hugging amma. how fucking sad is that. i miss the way my mother smelled when she got out of the shower. turmeric and coconut oil. man. this book is incredible. i never thought that i would miss watching my mother do her daily chores so much. man. i cry because there are some things you experience once and you can never ever experience ever again.

  • Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
    2019-03-31 14:21

    The ambivalence of a grown child's love for his parents.I have a nephew, well-mannered and intelligent, now 20 years old. All his life he has lived with his parents in California. Except for the last six years (his only sibling, a sister, was born six years ago), he was an only child. He now wants to leave home, go to Texas by himself, away from his family, to work or study. His parents could not understand it.Jamaica Kincaid wrote this book from the point of view of a child like that. Except that Annie John (the narrator) is a girl, but nevertheless an only child too and likewise intelligent. She lived in Antigua (an island in the Caribbean) and grew up there. At age 17, she was already taller than her parents (which,strangely, can be said also of my aforementioned nephew).The novel starts with Annie John's recollection of her childhood and of the special bond she had with her mother. She recalls small incidents of remembered love, how she had admired her mother's beauty, the smell of her hair, the food she cooked for her, the things they did together. As she grew up to be a teenager, however, seemingly for no reason at all, she began to hate her mother and the place she grew up in.Now, she's 17. She's leaving for England to study nursing (a course she doesn't like, but which she finds infinitely better than staying home). She lays in her bed for the last time, looking at the familiar things inside their house she's determined not to go back to again, ever, but without telling any of her parents about it:"The house we live in my father built with his own hands. The bed I am lying in my father built with his own hands. If I get up and sit on a chair, it is a chair my father built with his own hands. When my mother uses a large wooden spoon to stir the porridge we sometimes eat as part of our breakfast, it will be a spoon that my father has carved with his own hands. The sheets on my bed my mother made with her own hands. The curtains hanging at my window my mother made with her own hands. The nightie I am wearing, with scalloped neck and hem and sleeves, my mother made with her own hands. When I look at things in a certain way, I suppose I should say that the two of them made me with their own hands. For most of my life, when the three of us went anywhere together I stood between the two of them or sat between the two of them. But then I got too big, and there I was, shoulder to shoulder with them more or less, and it became not very comfortable to walk down the street together. And so now there they are together and here I am apart. I don't see them now the way I used to, and I don't love them now the way I used to. The bitter thing about it is that they are just the same and it is I who have changed, so all the things I used to be and all the things I used to feel are as false as the teeth in my father's head. Why, I wonder, didn't I see the hypocrite in my mother when, over the years, she said that she loved me and could hardly live without me, while at the same time proposing and arranging separation after separation, including this one, which, unbeknownst to her, I have arranged to be permanent? So now I, too, have hypocrisy, and breasts (small ones), and hair growing in the appropriate places, and sharp eyes, and I have made a vow never to be fooled again.""Lying in my bed for the last time, I thought, This is what I add up to. At that, I felt as if someone had placed me in a hole and was forcing me first down and then up against the pressure of gravity. I shook myself and prepared to get up. I said to myself, 'I am getting up out of this bed for the last time.' Everything I would do that morning until I got on the ship that would take me to England I would be doing for the last time, for I had made up my mind that, come what may, the road for me now went only in one direction: away from my home, away from my mother, away from my father, away from the everlasting blue sky, away from the everlasting hot sun, away from people who said to me, 'This happened during the time your mother was carrying you.' If I had been asked to put into words why I felt this way, if I had been given years to reflect and come up with the words of why I felt this way, I would not have been able to come up with so much as the letter 'A'. I only knew that I felt the way I did, and that this feeling was the strongest thing in my life."The scene, the following day, was heart-rending for it felt very familiar to me. I also grew up in an island, with my parents and siblings, and left it to study in the city. I, too, had experienced leaving our house, with my baggage, and with my anxious parents in tow, my mother telling me to be careful, my father trying to look confident, us passing through some places in our town which I have my own memories of, my parents at the dock, as my boat leaves, looking at me and the boat until we are so far off the sea and I could see them no more.

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-24 17:27

    i'm just not really sure what i feel with this one. kincaid's writing is great, but there is something going on with this book, which i can't quite put my finger on, that caused it to be less awesome than i had anticipated. kincaid is clear and almost simple in her style, but there are so many undercurrents and things left unsaid, emotions left unexplored. at the heart of the book, kincaid looks at the deep, complicated nature of a mother-daughter relationship. initially a paradise (well, once all the death stuff is out of the way, heh) - the doted on only child, living in an island paradise - the warmth and comfort of the familiar and trusted soon dissolve, as annie john matures, and her mother's behaviours become inconsistent. (though we are limited in in perspective, in only having annie john's voice.) so it's a bit of an odd story. i don't know that i fully understand why annie john's mother is portrayed the way she is once annie john becomes 'a young lady'. or whether the usual challenges of a being a teenager fully explains the rift between mother and daughter? (and i totally get how fraught and difficult these relationships and this time can be.) at moments i also wondered if annie john was dealing with depression and, if so, how that affected her character and her relationship with her parents. a mysterious illness strikes annie john, and she is bedridden for several months. she is listless, exhausted and, at moments, not quite right in her actions. apart from the illness, annie john also seems to have quite a fugue going on. there's a lot happening in/with this book, and it's a slim novel - and kincaid packs so many ideas into her work. Jane Smiley (13 Ways of Looking at the Novel) says "...whatever those ideas are, the author doesn't use them as any kind of explanatory reference in accounting for Annie's successive states of mind." smiley believes this to be the 'genius' of the novel. but i am feeling that, for me, this is where my issues with the book are nesting.(smiley in the guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2006...)

  • Nadia Parbo
    2019-04-05 12:18

    I wrote a whole review, but for some reason Goodreads decided not to save it. What a bummer! Anyway, the gist of what I wrote - unfortunately, you will never get the whole thing, and it was brilliant, I tell you - was that this would've been a much better book if the main character Annie was just a little likeable. Sometimes I didn't like her. Sometimes I was disgusted. Remember that part where she meets a former teacher who had the audacity to tell the students that she liked all of them equally? And Annie thinks about how much she hates that teacher because she didn't prefer her, Annie, the wonderkid, the queen bee. So of course Annie has to ignore her. I mean, who would ignore Annie? Surely not I!Also, the endless references about how Annie was actually much smarter than the other dumb, dumb girls didn't make me think about how smart Annie was. Actually, it only made me think about how obnoxious she was. Everything she did was just purrrrfect and if the other girls couldn't see it, they were just so dumb, dumb. Otherwise, it was fine, I guess. The language a little flat in my opinion, but that was clearly the style Kincaid chose, so that's okay. I'm not so sure the same choices were made about Annie though, so maybe under-development was the real problem here. Oh well.

  • Anne Rioux
    2019-03-25 11:33

    What a gorgeous book! The chapters were originally published as stories in The New Yorker, so perhaps that is why the narrative jumps back and forth in spots. But as a novel, the lack of a straight, linear plot line really works. The is the story of a girl's painful transition from childhood to adolescence (from age 10 to 16), which is not a linear process (and which is not often the subject of literature). And that process is raw at times. The real drama of the book is the way Annie John's intense love of her mother is transformed into a kind of hatred and how she wavers back and forth between longing to be her mother's little girl again and resenting her mother's interference in her life. A masterful book that I highly recommend for anyone raising a daughter--and anyone who has been a daugther.

  • Nic
    2019-04-17 15:44

    Wow! Kincaid remembers and depicts the conflicts of only-childhood, both internal and external, with a vividness and absorption as powerful as youth itself. These stories transported me back to my own childhood. The security, the peace, the unconditional love, which leaves one bewildered when it is later marred by jealousy, anxiety, hormones and the compulsion to assert one's own will and test invisible boundaries. Kincaid's voice drew me in gently, firmly and I swam in the poetry of her words, the images of Antigua beautifully foreign, but the emotional terrain all too identifiable. Annie John captured the bittersweetness of growing up loved and the threat of losing that love like nothing else I've read. I look forward to visiting it again and again.

  • Bjorn
    2019-04-01 18:44

    It's a short novel - I burn through it in less than three hours - but there's hardly a wasted word. I find myself thinking the word "proto-Ferrantian" at some points while the language more evokes a less verbose GGM, which probably says more about my reading habits than about Kincaid's writing, but there you have it. A young girl's coming-of-age story that doesn't dip into clichés or gets sidetracked, but sticks to the shifting bonds between mother and daughter, between childhood friends, between what you thought you understood at 10 and what you cannot voice at 18, building to a quiet finale that's all the more heartbreaking because it doesn't offer any simple resolutions. My first Kincaid, probably not my last.

  • Jenna
    2019-04-12 11:15

    I first read this book as a young adolescent, roughly the same age as eponymous protagonist Annie John is at the beginning of the narrative. Now I am an adult, and every time I visit my parents' house, I go up to the attic to find this book and reread parts of it. Unassumingly slim and muted in color as the paperback is, it magnetizes me.As a preteen I consumed dozens and dozens of novels a year, but few engraved themselves as deeply in my memory as this postcolonial Caribbean coming-of-age tale, the photorealistic portrayal of a mother-daughter relationship that devolves from a state of harmonious hero-worship into a viper pit of irreconcilable mutual hatred. None of the incidents between this book's two covers is particularly sensational or dramatic -- there are no murders, no rapes, no beatings -- but each incident is so unique and specific and clearly imagined that it is unforgettable. Out of the blue, as I am sitting on the subway commuting home from a long day at work, my mind drifting between sleep and consciousness, minor incidents from Annie John will replay themselves in my mind: Annie getting in trouble at school for leading her female schoolmates in an "unladylike" dance around the schoolyard while chanting the nonsense words "Tee la la la, come go"; Annie vandalizing an illustration of Christopher Columbus in a history textbook by writing the words "The Great Man Can No Longer Get Up and Go" beneath it; Annie's mother unjustly rebuking her for behaving like a slut while on a shopping errand, and Annie irrationally retorting, "Like mother, like daughter"...This book clocks in at 148 pages, scarcely longer than a novella. The first time I read it, I found it to be rather frustratingly elliptical: my rationalist preteen brain wanted Kincaid to spell out in clear rational terms, like a mathematical or scientific formula, the exact chemical chain-reactions that caused the deterioration of Annie's relationship with her mother. Without such a blueprint, how could I be sure to avoid going down the same path as Annie? Now I see that Kincaid was a genius to delve into the dark irrational parts of her characters' minds and not try to impose rationalist explanations on everything that happens there: not everything human makes logical sense. In the bottoms of our hearts, we are irrational, animalistic, emotion-driven.One of my close friends read this book at the same time I first did, and she absoultely hated it -- hated it largely because the titular narrator-protagonist Annie John is not a "likable" character. Annie is drawn to mischief and senseless rebellion; she is pigheaded, resentful, envious, spite-corroded, and angry; she tells her tale straightforwardly without trying to excuse her own faults or make herself look good. These are the same qualities that make me unable to forget Annie, unable to disentangle her from my own consciousness. Reading this book forces us to interrogate our own darker natures. If we can understand and forgive Annie, we can understand and forgive ourselves.

  • Lisa Feld
    2019-04-04 10:45

    Annie John is, in a way, Jamaica Kincaid's amazing story "Girl" fleshed out as a full novel. I'd also call it the warmest of her books, which usually have a darker, more cynical tone that I'd compare with Philip Roth. Here, though, we get a complex but sympathetic main character who is caught in the painful struggle of adolescence: fighting for the independence to create her own identity while at the same time mourning the loss of her intense and loving relationship with her mother. The novel also uses one of my favorite literary techniques: rather than tell a linear story where each event causes the next, the story is broken up into shorter narratives where events are arranged by association: a story about an important friendship with another girl, then a separate story about getting in trouble at school, with the timeframes of the two overlapping somewhat. It feels closer to the way we remember important events, more natural for a young protagonist still trying to make sense of her world, and it builds naturally to a climax as an emotional realization rather than a solution to a plot problem.All of this, plus the rich details of daily life in Antigua that inform the characters throughout, make this a powerful, skillful, and utterly memorable coming of age.

  • Alicia Evans
    2019-03-29 11:29

    Follows Annie John as she journeys through childhood and works her way through adolescence. Annie must learn about herself and her changing body while she must also deal with the complexities of interacting in her society. She struggles constantly with her mother, and they move from having an extremely loving relationship to battling with one another constantly. Anne resents that her mother does not retain the same level of familiarity with her once she reaches adolescence and her mother attempts to lead her along a more helpful path of independence. Regardless of her mother’s intentions, Annie becomes distant from her mother and their relationship is heavily strained by the end of the narrative. This text is particularly interesting in light of the colonial aspects therein. The story takes place in Antigua, a small island that was overcome by Britain and still holds many allegiances at the time of the narrative. Many of Annie’s disagreements with her mother can be connected to the political conflicts between the island and Britain, giving the reader a more dimensional reading with a strong foundation in historical events.

  • Jenn
    2019-04-17 18:28

    The beautifully described atmosphere in this book reminded me of the writing style of Jean Rhys in "Wide Sargasso Sea" and, for a while, I was swept along. I really identified with, or at least found very real and palpable, the emotions and thoughts of this young girl as she grew up and tried to form her own identity, especially separate from her mother. *Spoilers afoot*! Then, we took an evil turn in teenage angst-land, with which I could still relate somewhat, but then our protagonist goes further: into a three-month, bed-ridden depression, out of which, in my opinion, rises a monster. I'm sure a lot of people will disagree with me. That's fine. Annie got out of bed determined to leave her home and family and country - sure, many young people find themselves this way. But her hatred, bitterness, and condescension towards these things, especially her raw hatred for her mother, were unbelievable to me in a normal person. And completely unjustified. I must have missed the subtle abuses and hypocrisies - or THEY SIMPLY WEREN'T THERE! I ended really frustrated with the author

  • Sawsan
    2019-03-25 12:38

    Jamaica Kincaid is a good storyteller, her style of writing is simple, touching and full of life this's a story of Annie john, an intelligent young girl growing up in Antigua.her life from the age of ten until seventeen, a transition from childhood to adolescencethe misbehavior at the beginning of her teens and the changes in her relationship with her mother and her friendstill she finally decide to travel away from Antigua. it's a growing up novel, showing moral, intellectual and emotional developments of Annie's characterKincaid also draw a picture of social, educational and spiritual life of Antigua in the colonial period

  • Risa
    2019-04-07 16:34

    Jamaica Kincaid has a very honest writing style -at times to a painful extent. This is another book I've read for my Caribbean lit class. This short novel evokes that sort of squirmy recognition of all of those adolescent feelings we've long tried to forget, and succeeds in painting an truthful portrait of the mother-daughter relationship almost all women can relate to. I can't really tell you what's wrong with this book, but I can say that although it is a quick and enjoyable read, it's also easy to forget, and so it only gets three stars.

  • Ardacan
    2019-04-09 16:18

    This is probably the worst book I have analyzed during my freshman year in college as a literature student which gives no broader understanding about anything and lacks any kind of reason to take your time with it. Totally hated it.

  • Amber
    2019-04-01 10:37

    How is it that I never read this whole thing before? Surely I've read excerpts? Or, have I just read "Girl" so many times that I extrapolated all of Kincaid's voice from it?

  • Andrea
    2019-04-04 11:21

    Recensione: http://bit.ly/2qaG0zL

  • Gale
    2019-04-04 13:16

    “Facing the Dark Side of Adlosence”Despite the cover’s implication that this book is about a little girl, this is Not reading suitable for young children. True--teenage girls may well identify with Annie’s painful process of emotional disengagement with her lovely mother. In eight sparse vignettes Kincaid bares her soul as she recounts her psychological journey from an adoring only-daughter of ten into a resentful and rebellious teenager. Raised on the island nation of Antigua in the West Indies Annie is very bright though somewhat small for her age. Impressing her teachers with her quick mind she is immediately noticed by her new classmates as well, but they gradually realize her penchant for mischief, which increases to a general defiance of authority. Alas, as she matures Annie develops a dark side—weaving a web of lies, deceit, theft and flagrant disobedience. As a child she is surprised to learn that even children can die; perhaps she is shocked by the death of something immensely cherished but intangible: that of her own childhood innocence. As a pre teen she has secret or sudden friendships of credible intensity; she is tormented by the wish for her female body to ripen (lying bare-breasted under a full moon might help) and later by the jeers of older boys. Annie also wrestles with conflicting beliefs about Black Magic; a terrifying protracted illness of both mind and body; and her confusion about the sexuality of her older father, who seems indifferent to her. Walking the tightrope between modern ideas and centuries of voodoo practice she despairs of escaping the confines of her island home. Must she travel to distant England to reclaim the right to her own womanhood? Although not a sympathetic protagonist the author shares her inner struggles—touching a poignant string in the hearts of all women who have grappled with jealousy and social isolation. An insightful introduction to a culture clash within one breast, this book is for girls 12 and up. (May 3, 2012. I welcome dialogue with teachers.)

  • Melody Peek
    2019-04-16 17:40

    I read this book because my class was doing a winter book read, where we all got our own assigned book. I didn't pick this book thinking it was interesting, I actually thought It was kinda dumb, and just wanted to read it to get it over with so i could get back to my winter break. When I first picked the book up and started reading I had no idea what it was even about. As I read I was hoping the book would describe some parts that I didn't understand, like why there was so much detail about how she didn't think people she knew would die. At the end of the book I was super confused, I had almost no idea what had happened, and had no clue what the book was even about. Then thinking about it I realised that I had a lot of relations with the charcters. I felt like the book had been written after some of the things i had done in my like, but the truth is that the things that happened then happen now. like having our little hide out away from out house where we could just escape and be away from out parents when were upset, and all the family and friend drama, and how we meet people and how they enter and leave our lives, but when there gone, there never fully gone. In the end though I can say that I personally thought the writing was really good. Jamaica Kincaid did a really good job using metaphors and similes, the book really painted a picture in my head. I do recommend this book to people who don't get bored easy, and are looking for a good book to read. I feel like the more mature readers will enjoy this book more.

  • Melissa
    2019-04-07 14:35

    This coming-of-age story follows a young girl, Annie, as she grows up on the island of Antigua. There are eight episodes, each a picture of Annie's life as she tries to understand the world around her. Annie wasn't a likeable character, though I suppose few young teenage girls are likeable in real life. So in that way Kincaid's portrayal of the girl felt very real, but at the same time, it's hard to love such a selfish and often cruel character. Annie has a tendency to become obsessed with her friends. She lets one girl become the focus of her world and then, just as quickly, she loses interest in her and moves on. Kincaid has said in interviews that she never meant for Annie's character to be interpreted as gay, but at the same time, the relationships feel more like crushes than friendships. As a child Annie idolizes her mother, but as she grows older she begins to hate her. She develops a deep resentment of her mother and never overcomes it. The book skirts around many issues and in doing so left me wanting. It touches on depression, giving the reader a glimpse of that condition in Annie, but just as quickly drops it. Overall it was an interesting read, but didn't really work for me. If the basic story sounds good I'd recommend, The Meaning of Consuelo and The House on Mango Street. I enjoyed both of those books more than Annie John and they have similar premises.

  • Lucinda
    2019-04-01 10:33

    This is an interesting and somewhat frustrating coming-of-age novel full of the inexplicable actions and impressions of a teenager. Kincaid's main focus is the transformation of her protagonists relationship with her mother, dealing to some extent with her changing sense of her place in her island village and with her school friends. I found myself wondering what kinds of betrayals can or do occur between parent and child in the process of transforming from child to adult. The relation necessarily has to change, but at what rate and to what extent is pretty difficult to negotiate.The difficulty I had with the novel is primarily that I didn't get a clear sense of the psychology of the processes of change that were occurring with Annie John. Kincaid gives the reader little more than a play-by-play description of the loves and hatreds of her character and almost no explanation of how or why they came about. Of course, it is entirely plausible and perhaps even likely, that this is closer to the truth of this experience than the more detailed introspective coming-of-age novels.

  • Dernica
    2019-04-09 13:17

    This coming of age story results in you disliking the main character Annie John. Her dislike for her mother is stemmed from her emotional greed, constantly craving love and affection from her mother. Her thoughts become aggravating, you just want to shake her and say "do you have any sense?!". However, Jamaica Kincaid's portrayal of the relationship between a mother and daughter was relatable in some places, reminding me of certain times in my own teenage years. It was a good book and easy read, I just wish Annie was not so unlikeable, but i'm pretty sure I also was a self-absorbed annoying teenager too when growing up so I sympathise somewhat.

  • Althea Ann
    2019-04-14 16:39

    A character study of a young girl growing up on a small island... Initially she's very close with her mother, but as she matures, she develops an irrational vicious resentment against her. She explores proto-lesbian friendships with other girls, in which she experiences again that cycle of passionate attachment and separation. Eventually, her internal driving force leads her to leave behind her circumscribed life, and her island of Antigua, as she goes to study abroad.I was interested in this book for its insight into life on Antigua, as I was visiting the island, and there is some of that here- but the main focus is on the (odd) psychology of Annie's character.

  • Jessica
    2019-03-31 13:24

    Kincaid is perhaps my most important teacher. I started this book lying on rocks on a solo Maine retreat and every page is covered in multi-color ink, depending on how often I read it and when. Then I left it on a family vacation and never saw it again despite heroic efforts. The sheer emotional intensity of this book has me hesitating before engaging a new copy and finishing. I cried with recognition through the first half. Kincaid has a searing perception and can damn and love in equal measure. Not many people write about mothers and daughters with all the passion and the anger and the pain that gets incorporated into other romances and destructive affairs. But they should.

  • Jessica Brant
    2019-03-20 18:25

    I actually really liked this book. The beginning caught my attention from the start. I found Annie's character interesting.This book was focused on a mother daughter relationship that started of strong and ended weak, with both of them hating each other. It also shows Annie's appearance and viewpoints of death and her mother from the age of ten to seventeen. I was kind of disappointed in the end. I was expecting a better ending, the ending was predictable since the start. But overall I enjoyed the book.Jessica Brant

  • Eric
    2019-03-24 13:16

    This is a delightful coming of age story based during the late colonial period in Antigua. Kincaid writes in a simple, yet vivid style that captures each scene and frames it in a box. It is replete with all sorts of cultural references that educates and elucidates; if the reader is unfamiliar with Caribbean culture he/she will get a good education about it.As the main character is a girl, the reader receives a sharp perspective on girlhood: the relationships formed by girls with other girls, and with boys; school life; town life, and family life. Kincaid's prose unearths many aspects of a girl's life as she navigates being a daughter and a friend. As a coming of age story, Kincaid presents us with a girl's aspirations and dreams. How will she distinguish herself from her peers? What will she become in life? How shall she separate herself from her family? These are questions Kincaid explores in the text. These seem to be core questions Black women novelists such as Paule Marshall in her Brown Girl, Brownstones, and more recently Jacqueline Woodson in Another Brooklyn, deal with in their work. In comparison with this text, Marshall and Woodson are more far-reaching in exploring the depths of those questions than Kincaid.Finally, one aspect stuck out to me as a scholar of the African Diaspora---the theme of circulatoriness. This is a socio-geographic concept that conceptualizes the movement of Afro-Caribbean folk. In this novel, both of Annie's parents migrated to Antigua from other Caribbean islands. Even one of Annie's friends spent time on another island before her arrival on Antigua. Even the main character will fall into this socio-geographical framework. So beyond the markers of Caribbean culture, Kincaid intimates a key feature of the social history of the Caribbean.This novel is simple yet connects the reader to the main character and the other characters because the story is real. We all experience coming of age in similar fashion as Annie does. We all seek our place in this world as Annie sought to do. Yet we often fail to realize that our seeking is just as much a part of our rearing as it is our own sense of individuality and yearning. This is a subtle theme in this text. I recommend this text for high schoolers on up.