Saoirse's Reviews > Annie John

Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid
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U 50x66
's review
Jan 02, 2012

really liked it
Recommended for: females
Read from June 22 to 23, 2013 , read count: 1

Simple and short! Perfect for a rainy day.

"In the year I turned fifteen, I felt more unhappy than I had ever imagined anyone could be. It wasn't the unhappiness of wanting to go to cinema on a Sunday afternoon and not being able to do so, or the unhappiness of being unable to solve some mystery in geometry, or the unhappiness at causing my dearest friend, Gwen, some pain. My unhappiness was something deep inside me, and when I closed my eyes I could even see it. It sat somewhere- maybe in my belly, maybe in my heart; I could not exactly tell- 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. After I had sat in this way for a while, to distract myself I would count my toes; always it came out the same- I had ten of them" (85-86).
- Ch8, Somewhere Belgium

I absolutely loved it! The novel consists of the essential cornerstones of Kincaid's childhood and it's the literary equivalent of eating comfort food. I love the simple and minimalist writing style. It has an elementary quality about it like an old adage yet not much detail, which makes it even more perfect, as if she always says exactly all she needs to say, and nothing more. It reads like a mother's bedtime story voice, lullabying me to sleep with her childhood after I'd pleaded for her not to leave out any details.
It begins with her first foray into death, then to her loving mother who suddenly frowns at her when she hits puberty, then to her first and second lesbian love, her rebellious years of stealing books and playing the masculine/forbidden game of marbles, her first celebrated writing in class, her developing body and the secret girls circles that taught them how to enlarge their breasts (shine them in the moonlight, my personal fave lol) It appropriately ends with her overseas journey to begin college in England, leaving behind everything she's ever known and 'won't ever see again,' for which she is grateful (for the time being?). The symbolic end of her childhood and thus the perfect end of the novel.

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Reading Progress

06/22/2013 marked as: currently-reading
06/22/2013 page 41
27.0% "Ch3 Gwen"
06/22/2013 page 111
75.0% "Ch7 The Long Rain"
06/24/2013 marked as: read

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