Author: Nicole Dennis-Benn
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Published: June 4. 2019
Book Description: When Patsy gets her long-coveted visa to America, it comes after years of yearning to leave Pennyfield, the beautiful but impoverished Jamaican town where she was raised. More than anything, Patsy wishes to be reunited with her oldest friend, Cicely, whose letters arrive from New York steeped in the promise of a happier life and the possible rekindling of their young love. But Patsy’s plans don’t include her overzealous, evangelical mother―or even her five-year-old daughter, Tru.
Beating with the pulse of a long-witheld confession, Patsy gives voice to a woman who looks to America for the opportunity to choose herself first―not to give a better life to her family back home. Patsy leaves Tru behind in a defiant act of self-preservation, hoping for a new start where she can be, and love, whomever she wants. But when Patsy arrives in Brooklyn, America is not as Cicely’s treasured letters described; to survive as an undocumented immigrant, she is forced to work as a bathroom attendant and nanny. Meanwhile, Tru builds a faltering relationship with her father back in Jamaica, grappling with her own questions of identity and sexuality, and trying desperately to empathize with her mother’s decision.
Expertly evoking the jittery streets of New York and the languid rhythms of Jamaica, Patsy weaves between the lives of Patsy and Tru in vignettes spanning more than a decade as mother and daughter ultimately find a way back to one another.
As with her masterful debut, Here Comes the Sun, Nicole Dennis-Benn once again charts the geography of a hidden world―that of a paradise lost, swirling with the echoes of lilting patois, in which one woman fights to discover her sense of self in a world that tries to define her. Passionate, moving, and fiercely urgent, Patsy is a prismatic depiction of immigration and womanhood, and the lasting threads of love stretching across years and oceans.
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars
Review: I knew when the book was released I was going to read this at some point, since I enjoyed Here Comes the Sun, Benn’s first novel, and enjoyed it so much. When Jenna Bush Hagar selected it as the August pick for the Today Show, I bumped this up to the top of my list.
This is a true immigrant story. The story begins with Patsy in Jamaica who is trying to get a Visa to the United States, She has tried several times, but is hoping this time it will work out for. She get’s the Visa, with no intention of coming back. She chooses to leave her daughter Tru behind with her father Roy, and start a life in New York. She has good intentions to help her family, but comes to the realization that the money she is making that is not possible. She starts doing menial jobs until she finally find her niche working as a nanny. Alternately this story goes back to Tru, now motherless, dealing living with her Father and Step-mother. Threaded in this story is a love story between two “star-crossed” lovers. Yes, Patsy is hoping to go to New York to have a relationship with Cicely her best friend.
This book falls into the epic category, as it spans many years. This book should be mandatory, as it is extremely relevant with what is going on with our news cycle, It is extremely enlightening, and will drop you right into center of Patsy’s story. Nicole Dennis-Benn is an immigrant herself and I felt that she has really put herself into this story. It is heartbreaking most of the time, but the writing is good, it well worth the strife.
If you want to walk in another’s persons shoes for a bit, read this book.