Title: Annie John
Author: Jamaica Kincaid
Main Characters: Annie John, Her mother, Gwen(her friend)
Type of Novel: Bildungs Roman
Time period: British-Colonial
Synopsis: The fictitious novel tells the story of Annie John and her life until she becomes a young adult. It portrays a riveting tale of a girl growing up in the Caribbean country of Antigua with her parents, special attention given to the close relationship between Annie and her mother, which later breaks apart and leaves Annie resentful. She is a smart girl, but has quick lips and is often the "ring leader" which gets her into trouble. Annie rebels against authority, and cultural traditions, which rules out how a young lady should behave.
Overall Inpression: I can relate to the setting and many elements of the story as I am from the Caribbean myself. The novel offers excitement and insight to Annie's mind. Annie's bold and fierce attitude presents a strong point in the novel, which is heightened by the Writer's auto-biographical style.
Using the first person point of view allowed readers (me) to understand how Annie's thoughts about her life and her views of the world. This type of narrative is effective for the type of novel, as it gives an interesting insight to the complex world of a rebellious teenager in time period where gender expectations were constantly reinforced.
What I liked most: The novel is very detailed from Annie's physical features to the colour of a Flower, yet it never gets overwhelming. Each chapter is filled with humorous stories of Annie's life, most of which entail the trials of growing up and trying to discover oneself.
I could easily visualize as the setting is similar to my Home country, dialogues were easy to read and understand. Every part flowed, and transitions were smooth..
Low Point: The ending was the low point, without giving away any spoilers, I will only say that it is like the start of another story. Nevertheless, It did not leave me hanging, and did not present a major problem,
On that note there is nothing I would change about this Novel, It holds a special place on my bookshelf, and is one of the most memorable Novels in my possession.
To wet your appetites, here is my favourite quote from the Novel:
"In the year I turned fifteen,I felt more unhappy than I ever imagined anyone could be......My Unhappiness was something deep inside me, and when I closed my eyes I could even see it..." (Kincaid,J p.85).
If you are interested, the Novel is available for purchase from Amazon
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.