Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Annie John” as Want to Read:
Annie John
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Annie John

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  4,490 Ratings  ·  327 Reviews
Annie John: A Novel
Paperback, 160 pages
Published June 30th 1997 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1985)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Annie John, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Annie John

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Annie John is as succinct as a poem, saying only what is both necessary and beautiful, yet it has a dreamy atmosphere, the rhythm of a slow swimmer. The opening chapter introduces the lyrical imagistic style and tightly focused first person viewpoint with a meditation on death, which appears as tiny 'figures in the distance' and gradually stalks nearer, stripping illusions of safety and stability.

I related to the early parts of the novel which describe, very beautifully, the love and closeness b
Feb 09, 2014 Rowena rated it really liked it
Shelves: caribbean-lit
Annie John is the coming-of-age story of a 10 year old Antiguan girl. It’s a quick read;the thoughts of a very curious young girl obsessed with death and slowly taking in all the nuances that surround her, who becomes a highly intelligent adolescent who is uninterested in most things.

Annie is very much attached to her mother but finds, with the onset of puberty, that things will never be the same again, and she becomes resentful. Annie goes from idolizing her mother to almost hating her.

This boo
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is really 3.5 stars: the book gets points for a polished, literary writing style, but it is just so short, and most of it summarized. Its eight chapters could almost work as short stories, and Kincaid’s style often involves paragraphs that go on for a page or more, with few dramatized scenes.

This book is a coming-of-age story of a girl in Antigua, beginning when she’s 10 and ending when she’s 17. More than anything else the book focuses on Annie’s relationship with her mother; they are extr
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
The ambivalence of a grown child's love for his parents.

I have a nephew, well-mannered and intelligent, now 20 years old. All his life he has lived with his parents in California. Except for the last six years (his only sibling, a sister, was born six years ago), he was an only child. He now wants to leave home, go to Texas by himself, away from his family, to work or study. His parents could not understand it.

Jamaica Kincaid wrote this book from the point of view of a child like that. Except th
Leslie Reese
May 13, 2014 Leslie Reese rated it liked it
This book is a complicated meditation on the intimate evolution of a young girl’s relationship with her mother as she grows from being a sheltered child into becoming a young woman whose family sends her away to study in England, without assurances that she will ever return to them. Annie John is growing up in the mid-20th century on the island of British Antigua, in a world handmade by her parents and neighbors. Her bed, her linens, her clothes; the foods that she eats, the baths and medicines ...more
May 18, 2014 Abi rated it it was amazing
i cried multiple times reading this book. this is some heavy shit because it's so fucking real. everyone wants to be real and shit but this shit here is the truth. growing up is a horrible life experience but we all go through it. the sadness of it is long forgotten. to not be able to curl in your mother's arms and have the entire world be just fine is an unbearable pain. but we all lost that ability. we all fucking grew up. and now there are problems that can't be solved by hugging amma. how ...more
Sep 25, 2016 Bjorn rated it really liked it
Shelves: woc2016, antigua
It's a short novel - I burn through it in less than three hours - but there's hardly a wasted word. I find myself thinking the word "proto-Ferrantian" at some points while the language more evokes a less verbose GGM, which probably says more about my reading habits than about Kincaid's writing, but there you have it. A young girl's coming-of-age story that doesn't dip into clichés or gets sidetracked, but sticks to the shifting bonds between mother and daughter, between childhood friends, ...more
Jennifer D.
Feb 10, 2015 Jennifer D. rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-books
i'm just not really sure what i feel with this one. kincaid's writing is great, but there is something going on with this book, which i can't quite put my finger on, that caused it to be less awesome than i had anticipated. kincaid is clear and almost simple in her style, but there are so many undercurrents and things left unsaid, emotions left unexplored. at the heart of the book, kincaid looks at the deep, complicated nature of a mother-daughter relationship. initially a paradise (well, once ...more
May 25, 2011 Nic rated it it was amazing
Wow! Kincaid remembers and depicts the conflicts of only-childhood, both internal and external, with a vividness and absorption as powerful as youth itself. These stories transported me back to my own childhood. The security, the peace, the unconditional love, which leaves one bewildered when it is later marred by jealousy, anxiety, hormones and the compulsion to assert one's own will and test invisible boundaries. Kincaid's voice drew me in gently, firmly and I swam in the poetry of her words, ...more
Nadia Parbo
Jan 06, 2013 Nadia Parbo rated it it was ok
I wrote a whole review, but for some reason Goodreads decided not to save it. What a bummer! Anyway, the gist of what I wrote - unfortunately, you will never get the whole thing, and it was brilliant, I tell you - was that this would've been a much better book if the main character Annie was just a little likeable. Sometimes I didn't like her. Sometimes I was disgusted. Remember that part where she meets a former teacher who had the audacity to tell the students that she liked all of them ...more
Lisa Feld
Aug 17, 2015 Lisa Feld rated it really liked it
Annie John is, in a way, Jamaica Kincaid's amazing story "Girl" fleshed out as a full novel. I'd also call it the warmest of her books, which usually have a darker, more cynical tone that I'd compare with Philip Roth. Here, though, we get a complex but sympathetic main character who is caught in the painful struggle of adolescence: fighting for the independence to create her own identity while at the same time mourning the loss of her intense and loving relationship with her mother. The novel al ...more
Alicia Scully
Follows Annie John as she journeys through childhood and works her way through adolescence. Annie must learn about herself and her changing body while she must also deal with the complexities of interacting in her society. She struggles constantly with her mother, and they move from having an extremely loving relationship to battling with one another constantly. Anne resents that her mother does not retain the same level of familiarity with her once she reaches adolescence and her mother ...more
May 20, 2009 Jenn rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anne Rioux
Oct 30, 2015 Anne Rioux rated it it was amazing
What a gorgeous book! The chapters were originally published as stories in The New Yorker, so perhaps that is why the narrative jumps back and forth in spots. But as a novel, the lack of a straight, linear plot line really works. The is the story of a girl's painful transition from childhood to adolescence (from age 10 to 16), which is not a linear process (and which is not often the subject of literature). And that process is raw at times. The real drama of the book is the way Annie John's ...more
Oct 24, 2008 Risa rated it liked it
Jamaica Kincaid has a very honest writing style -at times to a painful extent. This is another book I've read for my Caribbean lit class. This short novel evokes that sort of squirmy recognition of all of those adolescent feelings we've long tried to forget, and succeeds in painting an truthful portrait of the mother-daughter relationship almost all women can relate to. I can't really tell you what's wrong with this book, but I can say that although it is a quick and enjoyable read, it's also ...more
Mar 28, 2015 Jenna rated it really liked it
I first read this book as a young adolescent, roughly the same age as eponymous protagonist Annie John is at the beginning of the narrative. Now I am an adult, and every time I visit my parents' house, I go up to the attic to find this book and reread parts of it. Unassumingly slim and muted in color as the paperback is, it magnetizes me.

As a preteen I consumed dozens and dozens of novels a year, but few engraved themselves as deeply in my memory as this postcolonial Caribbean coming-of-age tale
Mar 18, 2013 Gale rated it it was ok
Shelves: survival
“Facing the Dark Side of Adlosence”

Despite the cover’s implication that this book is about a little girl, this is Not reading suitable for young children. True--teenage girls may well identify with Annie’s painful process of emotional disengagement with her lovely mother. In eight sparse vignettes Kincaid bares her soul as she recounts her psychological journey from an adoring only-daughter of ten into a resentful and rebellious teenager.

Raised on the island nation of Antigua in the West Ind
Melody Peek
Jan 19, 2012 Melody Peek rated it really liked it
I read this book because my class was doing a winter book read, where we all got our own assigned book. I didn't pick this book thinking it was interesting, I actually thought It was kinda dumb, and just wanted to read it to get it over with so i could get back to my winter break. When I first picked the book up and started reading I had no idea what it was even about. As I read I was hoping the book would describe some parts that I didn't understand, like why there was so much detail about how ...more
Nov 07, 2012 Melissa rated it liked it
This coming-of-age story follows a young girl, Annie, as she grows up on the island of Antigua. There are eight episodes, each a picture of Annie's life as she tries to understand the world around her.

Annie wasn't a likeable character, though I suppose few young teenage girls are likeable in real life. So in that way Kincaid's portrayal of the girl felt very real, but at the same time, it's hard to love such a selfish and often cruel character.

Annie has a tendency to become obsessed with her f
May 19, 2013 Lucinda rated it liked it
Shelves: classic-fiction
This is an interesting and somewhat frustrating coming-of-age novel full of the inexplicable actions and impressions of a teenager. Kincaid's main focus is the transformation of her protagonists relationship with her mother, dealing to some extent with her changing sense of her place in her island village and with her school friends. I found myself wondering what kinds of betrayals can or do occur between parent and child in the process of transforming from child to adult. The relation ...more
Apr 22, 2016 Sawsan rated it really liked it
Jamaica Kincaid is a good storyteller, her style of writing is simple, touching and full of life
this's a story of Annie john, an intelligent young girl growing up in Antigua
her life from the age of ten until seventeen, a transition from childhood to adolescence
the misbehavior and naughtiness at the beginning of her teens and the changes in her relationship with her mother and her friends
till she finally decide to take her memories and travel for study and live her own life away from Antigua
a g
May 22, 2014 Dernica rated it really liked it
This coming of age story results in you disliking the main character Annie John. Her dislike for her mother is stemmed from her emotional greed, constantly craving love and affection from her mother. Her thoughts become aggravating, you just want to shake her and say "do you have any sense?!". However, Jamaica Kincaid's portrayal of the relationship between a mother and daughter was relatable in some places, reminding me of certain times in my own teenage years. It was a good book and easy read, ...more
Althea Ann
Jul 23, 2014 Althea Ann rated it liked it
A character study of a young girl growing up on a small island...
Initially she's very close with her mother, but as she matures, she develops an irrational vicious resentment against her. She explores proto-lesbian friendships with other girls, in which she experiences again that cycle of passionate attachment and separation. Eventually, her internal driving force leads her to leave behind her circumscribed life, and her island of Antigua, as she goes to study abroad.

I was interested in this bo
Apr 02, 2008 Jessica marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: anyone who was hurt before they were big. and loved through it.
Kincaid is perhaps my most important teacher. I started this book lying on rocks on a solo Maine retreat and every page is covered in multi-color ink, depending on how often I read it and when. Then I left it on a family vacation and never saw it again despite heroic efforts. The sheer emotional intensity of this book has me hesitating before engaging a new copy and finishing.

I cried with recognition through the first half. Kincaid has a searing perception and can damn and love in equal measure
Jessica Brant
I actually really liked this book. The beginning caught my attention from the start. I found Annie's character interesting.This book was focused on a mother daughter relationship that started of strong and ended weak, with both of them hating each other. It also shows Annie's appearance and viewpoints of death and her mother from the age of ten to seventeen. I was kind of disappointed in the end. I was expecting a better ending, the ending was predictable since the start. But overall I enjoyed ...more
Jun 10, 2012 Ardacan rated it did not like it
This is probably the worst book I have analyzed during my freshman year in college as a literature student which gives no broader understanding about anything and lacks any kind of reason to take your time with it. Totally hated it.
I think it would be impossible to not compare this novel with Lucy, and even though mistakingly I read Lucy first, it would be more apt to say that it picks off where Annie John finishes. This novel is also far superior in my opinion. Gone is the rather aimless narrative, and instead a similar - but yet still distinct - coming-of-age story begins with Annie as she navigates the various psychological perils of Antigua as she grows from girlhood into womanhood: love, school, and health reveals the ...more
K.M.J. K.M.J.
Sep 25, 2015 K.M.J. K.M.J. rated it really liked it

Hey ya'll,
So I was given the opportunity to review the novel, Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid and it was a very interesting read!

As always I like to be completely honest when writing my reviews and this book was very different from the typical novels I am used to reading. I loved how this book made me feel as if I were in this dream state watching Annie's life with her mother, father, and friends. I enjoyed feeling like a passenger in her life due to the fact that t
Jul 15, 2014 Sgodfrey rated it it was amazing
To understand why this work is amazing one has to place this novel squarely into the 'genre' in which it belongs: the coming of age novel. The uniqueness here is the Anglo Caribbean experience. Told in Annie's voice, the novel documents the relationship between Annie John and her mother. At first, typical of a young child, the relationship is lovely but as Annie John gets older, around the time of puberty, she sees a change in her mother that disturbs her. Annie John is no longer treated like a ...more
Aug 28, 2014 Janay rated it liked it
As a child I had found comfort in the blanket of my mother's hugs, her guidance and her direction. The warmth I get knowing that she will always be my mother makes even the most unforgiving winter in Canada bearable. The problem, however, is that even though she will always be my mother, I am not a child anymore. Like Annie John,you grow.You change. With that comes a change in relationships, in behaviour, in attitude. The relationship between Annie and her mother has been affected because of ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the World ...: Discussion for Annie John 7 39 Apr 23, 2016 10:14PM  
A fast read 2 24 Mar 06, 2012 11:28AM  
  • No Telephone to Heaven
  • Brown Girl, Brownstones
  • Spending
  • The Wine of Astonishment
  • Earthly Paradise
  • Crick Crack, Monkey
  • In Another Place, Not Here
  • In the Castle of My Skin
  • Krik? Krak!
  • Crossing the Mangrove
  • The Little Disturbances of Man
  • Gorilla, My Love
  • Broad and Alien is the World
  • The Face of War
  • The Joys of Motherhood
  • Unburnable
  • Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction
  • A Question of Power
Jamaica Kincaid is a novelist, gardener, and former reporter for The New Yorker Magazine. She is a Professor of Literature at Claremont-McKenna College.
More about Jamaica Kincaid...

Share This Book

“Like father like son, like mother like daughter!” 10 likes
“My unhappiness was something deep inside me, and when i closed my eyes i could even see it. it sat somehwere - maybe in my belly, maybe in my heart; i could not exactly tell - and it took the shape of a small black ball, all wrapped up in cobwebs. i would look at it and look at it until i had burned the cobwebs away, and then i would see that the ball was no bigger than a thimble, even though it weighed worlds. at that moment, just when i saw its size and felt its weight, i was beyond feeling sorry for myself, which is to say i was beyond tears. i could only just sit and look at myself, feeling like the oldest person who had ever lived and who had not learned a single thing.” 7 likes
More quotes…