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Olga - A Daughter's Tale by Marie-Thérèse…

Olga - A Daughter's Tale

by Marie-Thérèse Browne

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White, mulattos, and slaves lived by very different rules. The author provides a brief history of the settlement of Jamaica to provide a historical perspective. Diary entries are the basis of the story. Letters, telegrams, reports, and newspaper clippings are used provide supplemental information and move the stories along. Browne central theme throughout is discrimination and prejudgment between races, religions, and social classes. The moving back and forth between the main characters made pacing difficult. There are punctuation and typing errors. The Browney family tree graph was blurry and quality of the illustrations need improvement. ( )
  bemislibrary | Jul 31, 2016 |
This is a fascinating tale about a Jamaican family and the daughter who moves to England in the years before WWII. Olga Browney was born and educated in Kingston, the child of a white mother and black father. She and her siblings navigate Jamaica's racial politics and economic crises. In the 1930s Olga travels to England to train in dance, and her life ends up following a path far different from what she expected.

There is much that is interesting in this book. The social and racial hierarchies of both Jamaica and England dictate much about people's lives. Browne's discussion of life in Jamaica is beautiful. I really enjoyed her prose. I was definitely engaged by Olga's story.

My only real complaint is that I found the format of the book- a series of letters and diary entries- to be somewhat clumsy. I think it would have been better had it simply been written in a straight narrative style. Otherwise I enjoyed this book. ( )
  lahochstetler | Apr 26, 2013 |
This was an ok read. Some parts were rather slower to read and others were a little more interesting to read. ( )
  Grizzly21 | Apr 3, 2012 |
This is a collection of diary entries, letters and news clippings telling the story of the author’s mother and family. Poverty, discrimination, betrayal, loss and other tragedies fill the pages, but a mother’s true love shines through. More editing overall, but particularly of the diary entries would have helped the flow of the story. The lack of editing left random facts and only half developed ideas throughout. But despite its flaws, the author succeeds in presenting a fine tribute to her mother’s love and devotion. ( )
  shearon | Jan 31, 2012 |
Olga -- A Daughter's Tale is a story rich with historical and cultural detail, intrigue, and family. It takes place during a very interesting time period in both Jamaica's and England's history. Besides being about family, love, and doing what it takes to get through tough circumstances, this is also a study on the character of people. There are all sorts of people represented in this novel, and it's interesting to see how their actions affect other people, whether it's a good thing or a bad thing.

However, I don't think the diary format was the best choice for this novel. First of all, the entries weren't dated -- not even a year was given, so I was confused as to when exactly events were taken place. Secondly, there were times when the descriptions or historical information didn't fit in with the voice of the person writing the entries. The benefit of having diary entries is that the reader gets to feel close to the character, and while I felt close to Olga near the end of the novel, I wasn't feeling that connection at the beginning. I think short stories, or even a chapter format would have been better.

Despite that, this is a great story. It's both heartbreaking and inspirational. And to know that this is non-fiction and not just a made up story makes it even better. Besides being a quick read (I couldn't put this book down!), it is an inspiring story. I like books that make me think after I've put them down and make me want to learn more about the stuff it brings up. I now have a few books on hold at my library about Jamaica and World War II in England, because I couldn't get them out of my head after reading this book.

This is a book everyone can appreciate, because it's about real life. We all have family drama (and Olga certainly has that!), and all our families have their quirks. We have all been in a tough spot at sometime or another, and we have all had to find our way out of that tough spot. That's what at the heart of this novel. One girl's path to becoming a woman, an event that changed her life, and the decisions she made after that. It's beautiful and it makes a good story. I am so glad Marie decided to write down her mother's tale.

*I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.* ( )
  sedelia | Nov 22, 2011 |
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