Summary: A coming-of-age novel set in Antigua as Annie begins to mature and become aware of a widening gulf between her and her previously doting mother.
Musings: I teach an excerpt of this novel at the beginning of the school year, but I had never actually read the book myself. It's a short read, but after finishing it, I'm not sure quite what to think.
One of the things that most befuddled me was my absolute inability to see a real person in Annie. She seemed strange and foreign--not in a "person from another country" kind of way, but in a non-human kind of way. Her relationships with her classmates and her mother, while not unusual, still felt odd to me. I don't know how to describe it any better.
Annie's increasing distance from his mother and conflicting feelings of devotion and hatred I imagine are typical of many teenagers, but they also were confusing to me. I've always had a good relationship with my mom, even as a teenager, so perhaps I just can't empathize with the situation.
Annie's mysterious illness which leaves her bedridden for months (?) signifies the book's leap into a kind of magical realism. I assume there has to be a lot of symbolism there, but the cloud of confusion that followed me through the book didn't let up.
Kincaid has a unique style that is both straightforward and imaginative. Her novel explores the ways in which mothers and daughters grapple for power and understanding while often failing to achieve both. Nonetheless, I don't think it's a book I appreciated as a stand-alone read; it would probably work better in a literature classroom.