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Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid

Annie John (1985)

by Jamaica Kincaid

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
933179,346 (3.54)64
  1. 10
    Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga (betterthanchocolate)
    betterthanchocolate: If you liked Annie John's (acerbic) post-colonial resistance, you might also appreciate Nyasha's.
  2. 10
    Crick Crack, Monkey by Merle Hodge (betterthanchocolate)
    betterthanchocolate: An island girlhood.
  3. 10
    Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Anonymous user)
  4. 00
    Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Kincaid and Hurston have each set their moving, character-driven novels in atmospheric, sunny settings -- the Caribbean, and Florida respectively. Both novels explore haunting truths about identity, society, friendship and love as an African-American female protagonist gains new self-awareness and respect for her experiences.… (more)
  5. 00
    The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (bookworm12)
  6. 00
    The meaning of Consuleo : a novel by Judith Ortiz Cofer (bookworm12)
  7. 00
    The Painted Canoe (Phoenix Fiction) by Anthony C. Winkler (betterthanchocolate)
    betterthanchocolate: Appealing reads in Caribbean fiction.

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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? 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 going on in 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/jul/01/featuresreviews.guardianreview31) ( )
  Booktrovert | Feb 9, 2015 |
The childhood and coming of age of the title character. Poetic, its chronology a little fuzzy at the edges without being more than a little confusing. It begins full of nostalgia for the halcyon days of basking in her mother's love; then with her teenage years (and schoolgirl crushes) the relationship chafes them both and turns to constant tension. How much this is simply adolescence, how much a physical or mental or spiritual illness, is left unclear; so also unclear is how much leaving home will really resolve it. ( )
  zeborah | Jul 12, 2014 |
Annie Johns by Jamaica Kincaid effortlessly captures the rhythm and cadence of the Caribbean. As this coming-of-age story unfolds the reader is introduced to a wonderful young character who tells her story with wry humor and innocence. Her world is narrow, encasing her parents, her school chums and her dreams. This is a short book, but by the end, I felt that I knew this young person and what made her tick.

Set on the beautiful island of Antigua, Annie grows up in a close knit community that has many benefits, but to a mischievous child, can also be a little too observant. Annie’s relationship with her mother was particularly compelling as we see her go through the various love-hate feelings that young girls often feel towards their mothers.

I enjoyed this story and feel that I now have a fairly accurate picture of a Caribbean childhood, along with a closer look at the customs, style and food of this unique corner of the world. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Mar 4, 2014 |
A psychologically true portrait of a girl's aging from baby to about 18 particularly in relation to her mother. I had some difficulty totally immersing myself in Annie's world and therefore the slightly lower rating. Hard to pinpoint why. ( )
  snash | Dec 18, 2013 |

This is a beautiful book, this story of a girl growing up in Antigua. I’ve never read a clearer and more sensitive description of adolescence, and of the relationship between mother and daughter. You enter the character of Annie John absolutely, and see everything from her eyes.

( )
  astrologerjenny | Apr 24, 2013 |
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For Allen, with love
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For a short while during the year I was ten, I thought only people I did not know died.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374525102, Paperback)

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 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:06 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The theme of lost childhood remains constant in this short fictional narrative of rebellious Annie John's coming of age on the small island of Antigua.

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