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Red Jacket

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3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  38 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Growing up as part of a large, loving family on the Caribbean island of St. Chris, Grace Carpenter is happy but puzzled about her identity. Although her extended family is black, she is a redibo, with copper-coloured skin, freckles, reddish hair, and grey eyes. Sometimes she gets called names, but the question of why she is different is never explained.

As this masterful n
...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by Tap Books (first published February 28th 2015)
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Friederike Knabe
Jun 26, 2016 Friederike Knabe rated it really liked it
A story of family and belonging, of searching for that belonging and growing into more than one culture. Sounds complex and multifaceted? It is. Spanning from one fictional island in the Caribbean to a fictional small country situated between Mali and Burkina Faso, the author explores real issues and landscapes, populates her story with many plausible characters and follows her characters in their human struggles, physical, emotional and spiritual. An important theme is how faith and religion ...more
Jennifer D.
Mar 29, 2016 Jennifer D. rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian, arc, 2016-books
What an interesting reading experience this book was for me. Mordecai's novel (her first one) is definitely a smart and accomplished work, though the themes are pretty heavy, and there are many layers within the story. Mordecai has had success as a poet, evidenced in her wonderful writing style - I definitely enjoyed how she played with language in Red Jacket and it was some impressive linguistic gymnastics, to be sure. Mordecai is a master!

I also really appreciate the lens she offers on such im
...more
Megz
Apr 05, 2015 Megz rated it it was ok
I think Red Jacket is exceptionally hard to review. Although I didn’t give it very highly-starred rating, I think this is an exquisite, many-layered work of fiction.

Pamela Mordecai created two fictional nations for this book: St. Chris, a small Caribbean Island, and Mabuli, a country in Sahelian Africa. This is the first feat, as she has formed these countries intimately and uniquely, with their own blends of languages.

Much of the book is written in various degrees of Creole, which was pleasan
...more
Krista
Oct 26, 2015 Krista rated it liked it
Shelves: can-con, africa, 2015
She off-loads her cargo of grief, the burden of a self that she now judges to be ruined at the root: Grace the dump pikni; the red jacket in a black family; the child too terrified to open her mouth; the sibling with a sister who disclaimed her; the misfit at St. Chad's.

The beginning of Red Jacket was certainly intriguing: We meet Grace Carpenter, a little girl living on the fictional Caribbean island of St. Chris who has a close relationship with her large family and especially with her Gramp
...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
Feb 23, 2015 Lolly K Dandeneau rated it it was amazing
This story is full of meaty characters and the dialect is beautifully written so the reader is immersed in the culture. Grace is a curious little girl who is a misfit in her own dark skinned family. Peculiar with her red hair and skin different from her siblings she is left to ponder her origins. Gramps is her rock, full of heart and wisdom. As she thinks, Gramps could give lessons to Papa God. He is also the bearer of the burden carrying the truth of her origins. Suddenly, handing over her ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Apr 12, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of Red Jacket in a goodreads giveaway, and I really appreciate getting it because it was a brilliantly-written, gripping, emotional and intriguing novel.

Can you imagine being adopted and knowing absolutely nothing about your birth parents? For Grace, this is a reality. She adores her large family and the beautiful island of St. Chris where she lives, but she's the only one in her family who isn't black and she routinely gets teased for it. So one day she finds out that she was
...more
Tucker
Apr 18, 2015 Tucker rated it liked it
After a long, cold winter I was ready to escape to a warm island and the “Red Jacket” transported me to the delightful Caribbean island of St. Chris. Grace, who was adopted into a large, loving family still wants to know about her birth mother and why she was given up for adoption. Grace’s story, her strong bond with Gramps, and the story of Grace’s biological mother were absorbing, compelling, and full of heart felt emotions. This wasn’t just an island escape, but a moving novel about what ...more
Pamela
Apr 14, 2016 Pamela rated it really liked it
(view spoiler) ...more
Jane Mulkewich
Mar 29, 2016 Jane Mulkewich rated it really liked it
I met Pamela Mordecai at a recent literary event in Hamilton, and decided to read her book, understanding it to be (at least in part) about the mysterious origins of a young girl who is raised without knowing who her real parents are. This is a many-layered book, and it ends up being about so much more than that, with several subplots - it took me a while to read as I would put the book down to digest and to try to transition between very different storylines, which don't all come together until ...more
Melissa
Apr 14, 2015 Melissa rated it liked it
Shelves: ebooks, africa, arc
If I were to rate this book purely on writing ability, I would give it a 5, but as it stands I find formatting of the story very clunky and awkward. The story begins with Grace, a girl living on the Caribbean island of St. Cris. I immediately fell in love with her story and the prose. Then the story shifts to other characters in other countries. Here's where the clunkiness begins. Eventually the characters connect, but until then you are left jumping back and forth between unconnected stories. ...more
Nancy Whited
Sep 04, 2016 Nancy Whited rated it it was ok
This book didn't really kick in until I was 3/4's of the way finished. Although the prose was detailed, there was a lack of connectedness for me. I felt the characters were half-finished except "Jimmy". It took a long time to finally put things together. There was an abundance of description, but it didn't weave a full picture for me. As for the ending; it just ended, without too much leading the reader to any possible conclusions. Unfortunately, I probably would not recommend this as a "good ...more
Amanda Connery
Jul 28, 2016 Amanda Connery rated it it was ok
This book was quite a difficult read. The way it was written (the wording) I found very difficult to follow. It also jumped around quite a bit with perspectives as well as time. Unfortunately I was unable to finish reading the book.
Danielle West
Jul 19, 2015 Danielle West rated it it was ok
I received this book for free through GoodReads First Reads program

It was a good book, but I had trouble really getting into it. I couldn't really figure out what the point of the story was, so I wasn't motivated to keep reading. Also the ending was weird.
Beth Damery
Nov 03, 2015 Beth Damery rated it it was ok
Wish the book stayed on the island of St. Chris - was more real,interesting when it was a tale of a girl growing up there.
Emma Bochinski
Emma Bochinski rated it did not like it
May 08, 2015
Yulia
Yulia rated it really liked it
May 02, 2016
Margaret Bryant
Sep 11, 2014 Margaret Bryant rated it it was amazing
Fabulous web of intriguing characters and sophisticated plot.
Donna Hughes
Donna Hughes rated it really liked it
Mar 24, 2016
Heidi Leus
Heidi Leus rated it really liked it
Apr 04, 2016
YouHadMeAtBooks
YouHadMeAtBooks rated it really liked it
Feb 11, 2016
Sheryl Loeffler
Sheryl Loeffler rated it it was amazing
Sep 10, 2016
Janine Thompson
Janine Thompson rated it really liked it
Nov 13, 2016
Jenny
Aug 12, 2015 Jenny rated it did not like it
Got to chapter 4 and stopped! Yuck!
Celia
Celia rated it did not like it
Dec 10, 2015
Grace
Grace rated it liked it
Sep 19, 2016
Cindy
Cindy rated it really liked it
May 31, 2016
Liesbeth
Liesbeth rated it really liked it
Feb 02, 2016
Diane L. Paquette
Diane L. Paquette rated it really liked it
Oct 31, 2015
Farzana Doctor
Farzana Doctor rated it really liked it
Aug 22, 2016
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Pamela Mordecai was born in Jamaica. She has published five collections of poetry, five children's books, a book of short fiction, and a reference work on Jamaica (with her husband, Martin). She has also edited/coedited anthologies of Caribbean writing as well as numerous textbooks In 2010, her play, "El Numero Uno" had its world premiere at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People in Toronto. ...more
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“maybe she should take out a book and read, for it don’t make no sense to just lean against the shop front, doing nothing, and she start to search in her bag, when she hear Pansy shout, “Lord Jesus! Oh God, help me!” Pansy bawling for help louder and louder, so Grace get frighten. She drop her schoolbag, run quick into the shop, and push on the door to the back room with all her might. After a couple tries, it fly open. Staring at her are one pair of feet with brown socks, one pair of feet with no socks, four legs with no covering and Mortimer’s bare bottom rising and falling with a motion that remind her of when he was using the saw. Grace look, turn right around, march out, pick up her school bag, and start walking home. First she is furious with Pansy, but then she start to laugh. Mortimer have a nice body, but he is short. Pansy is a good-sized girl. Grace remember Gramps say, “Tiny insects pollinate sizeable flowers,” 0 likes
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