27 July, 2018

REVIEW: LUCY by Jamaica Kincaid

Title: Lucy
Author:  Jamaica Kincaid
Series: -
Genres: Fiction, Feminism, YA
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Release: November 6th, 2002
Source: Paperback
Pages: 163

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Lucy, a teenage girl from the West Indies, comes to North America to work as an au pair for Lewis and Mariah and their four children. Lewis and Mariah are a thrice-blessed couple--handsome, rich, and seemingly happy. Yet, almost at once, Lucy begins to notice cracks in their beautiful facade. With mingled anger and compassion, Lucy scrutinizes the assumptions and verities of her employers' world and compares them with the vivid realities of her native place. Lucy has no illusions about her own past, but neither is she prepared to be deceived about where she presently is.  At the same time that Lucy is coming to terms with Lewis's and Mariah's lives, she is also unraveling the mysteries of her own sexuality. Gradually a new person unfolds: passionate, forthright, and disarmingly honest. In Lucy, Jamaica Kincaid has created a startling new character possessed with adamantine clearsightedness and ferocious integrity--a captivating heroine for our time.

EXPECTATIONS: I read this book in university as a compulsory read in one of my female writers class. At the time when I read this, I remember I had a weird feeling about it. To me it was this interesting book about exploring - becoming familiar with another world and your own self. 

THE WORLD: I read this a little way back so I can't say what year this book is set. But we get see two worlds in this book. The world of Lucy's life back in West Indies as a girl, growing up, going to school, and seeing her mother and father. And her life in America as a an au pair (sort of a house keeper). However, we are never told in what American city the plot takes place, I for some reason, always assumed it was New York, so I will stick with this theory.

CHARACTERS: Our main character is named Lucy. She is a young West Indies born girl, who goes to all girl school, has a love/hate relationship with her mother, wants to understand why her father is the way that he is, and loves her grandmother. Lucy, to me was a very complex character. In the novel we get see her become a woman who is at the end damaged by the mistakes her parents made. When Lucy is 19 she has to travel to America to become an au pair, this sort of house keeper/nanny type of a maid for four kids of this well made family. Lucy goes through cultural shock, the understanding that she needs to do her job, and finding the right balance on how to do that, since the kids are not all golden coins. I only liked the littlest girl, I think Miriam was her name. We also get to see how Lucy explores her sexuality. She has several lovers in the course of this book. She understands what a man can give her, and what a woman can give her. Hugh, a kind man shows her what love is, but she eventyally find herself more attracted to her best friend Peggy. We also get to understand how difficult it is for Lucy to truly love someone, since she is so damaged by the relationship of her parents. 

The family Lucy has to work for: Mariah and Lewis, are a typical American upper class people, I would say. Married because society told them too, unhappy because they are too different. Lewis has affairs and Mariah has her kids. I think that was the reason why Lucy got so attached to these people, because they shadowed her own parents relationship. 

ROMANCE: As I said before, Lucy explores and tries to find herself in the book - sexuality vise. In the end I think she needed to first understand that she was not her mother nor her father and open herself, to happiness. Love, well more exploration of it is a big part of the book, but there is no flully, fuzzy love in this book. 

GOOD: I think this book serves a little as an autobiographical novel, since the author of the book experienced something like that too. But in general this book was very real to me. It was a journey of a young woman who tried to discover who she really was and what her place in the world was. 

BAD: I can't really think of anything.

OVERALL: I think this is a very good book to recommend to anyone, who enjoys reading real stories. Stories about self establishment, about finding who you are and how sometimes the need to be anything bu something, ends up hurting only you. This was fantastic! I highly recomment it!

What do you think about LUCY?



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