Monday 7 September 2020

Patsy by Nicole Dennis - Benn

Patsy always dreamed of leaving the poor town of Pennyfield and joining her friend in America. So when she finally gets her visa to leave, she can't get on the plane soon enough. She doesn't even give her ageing mother and her five year old daughter a second thought. However, life in America doesn't match the dreams she had of it and she quickly discovers how hard life can be. 

I read this as part of the Tandem Collective Voices initiative.The book is told from dual perspectives in third person, so we get to understand how Patsy and her daughter Tru felt throughout the book.  At the start, I was excited to read it, but if I'm honest I found it a really slow read. It took me ages to finish it, because I didn't feel a connection to Patsy. I understood her reasons for leaving her daughter as the story progressed, but I still felt she was a little selfish. A child should never be held responsible for their parent's past.  I really loved Tru, her daughter though. She managed to win the love and respect of her father, unlike her step brothers and she seemed more grown up than Patsy.  

It is quite a depressing read at times as you come to terms with how illegal workers are treated in America.   Even though her life had been hard in Jamaica, I felt she soon realised that the grass is definitely not greener on the other side. There are long periods in the book where it felt that not a lot happened and then the story felt wrapped up too quickly for my liking at the end. 

I also really struggled with the use of Patois. I didn't always understand what they characters were saying. I know this gave the story authenticity, but I felt it slowed the reading process down even further.  On the whole it was an interesting read but I'm not sure I'd rush to read another book by this author. 

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