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Annie John

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  7,000 ratings  ·  594 reviews
Annie John is a haunting and provocative story of a young girl growing up on the island of Antigua. A classic coming-of-age story in the tradition of The Catcher in the Rye and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Kincaid's novel focuses on a universal, tragic, and often comic theme: the loss of childhood.

An adored only child, Annie has until recently lived an idyllic
Paperback, 148 pages
Published June 30th 1997 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published June 1st 1985)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  7,000 ratings  ·  594 reviews

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I had the privilege to briefly exchange a few words with Jamaica Kincaid after a session she attended at a book fair last weekend.

Lining up with other readers to get my copies of her books signed, I was torn between greed and love for my daughter, deliberating inside my head whether this new copy of Annie John, bought for my 13-year-old (I have my own, read copy at home), should really be hers, or whether I should keep the signed copy and give her the old one, thus outing myself as a true book
Laura Anne
This book is a classic - something everyone should read. The main story is about the relationship between the daughter, Annie John and her mother. It's a love/hate dynamic as experienced by many young women and their mothers who become separated through a process of social change as reflected through different values and expectations from one generation to the next, more prevalent of course in social changes for women.
Annie is bright, far more competent academically than any of her peers in her
Apr 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Jamaica Kincaid is a good storyteller, her style of writing is simple, touching and full of life
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 at the beginning of her teens and the changes in her relationship with her mother and friends
it's a growing up novel, showing moral, intellectual and emotional developments of Annie's character
Kincaid also draw a picture of soci
Jamaica Kincaid writes here a coming of age story about an Antiguan child. It is fiction with elements of her own childhood thrown in. The author was born in St. John's, Antigua, in 1949. Jamaica Kincaid is her nom de plume, her name at birth being instead Elaine Potter Richardson. The central protagonist of the novel is Annie John. We follow her from the age of ten to seventeen, when she is to leave the island for Britain to be educated as a nurse. Kincaid also left Antigua at seventeen, but sh ...more
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
Raul Bimenyimana
I love stories about childhood, so it was no surprise to me that I really liked this one. My first Jamaica Kincaid book and a wonderful one at that too. Annie John, the narrator of this story, is a girl from Antigua, and through Kincaid's brilliant prose we are able to look at her development, her friendships, her relations with her parent especially her mother and the simple and not-so-simple joys and miseries that accompany that crucial moment in life.

It has been interesting to discover that J
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting coming of novel set in Antigua in the 1950s, when it was still under British rule. It concerns Annie John and takes us from when she is ten until she is seventeen and is leaving the island to go to England. Kincaid covers a wide range of issues, but in particular mother/daughter relationships, education, the tension between local indigenous beliefs and those imposed by the colonial power (especially in the realm of health), teenage sexual exploration, poverty and the effec ...more
Feb 09, 2014 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 bo
Timothy Urges
Jun 25, 2020 rated it liked it
What perfection we found in each other, sitting on these tombstones of long-dead people who had been the masters of our ancestors! Nothing in particular really troubled us except for the annoyance of a fly colliding with our lips, sticky from eating fruits; a bee wanting to nestle in our hair; the breeze suddenly blowing too strong. We were sure that the much-talked-about future that everybody was preparing us for would never come, for we had such a powerful feeling against it, and why shouldn’t ...more
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
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fiction

When I picked up Annie John at a used bookstore recently, little did I know that I was about to discover an author who would have a profound effect on me. From the first pages, I was utterly entranced. The writing is deceptively simple, but the images are so vivid and powerful that I could not only picture them in my mind’s eye but feel them in my flesh as if I were Annie.

The novel opens with a chapter exploring young Annie’s fascination with death. This quickly progresses from an interest in wa

Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is my very first book by Jamaica Kincaid and I am not disappointed. Annie John tells the story of a young girl coming of age. She encounters a need to be around death and it is the beginning of her innocence being swept under her. She starts to see and experience things that will change her understanding as a young girl.

Her once perfect mother who she shared a bond with no longer seemed so pure. Her mom is now part enemy to her and she begun to fake a connection. She struggled with underst
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Definitely not my thing. Very strange main character and a book without much of a plot either.

Takes place in Antiqua and is a sort of autobiography of Annie John, who starts out being around 5 when the book begins and 17 and leaving home by its end.

She is a very odd kid, and odd not in a good or quirky way either. She constantly 'falls in love' with girls in her school and it does not take much for her to take off her clothes with either boys or girls in secluded places.

One of her great 'loves'
Leslie Reese
May 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: readcaribbean
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 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 fu ...more
Feb 09, 2015 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 a ...more
Aug 26, 2017 rated it liked it
3+ Jamaica Kincaid is a fine writer and I appreciated (from a distance) these vignettes about a young girl growing up in Antigua.
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Celia by: Elyse Walters

Jamaica Kincaid was born in Antigua. She has set this coming of age story in her birth country.

Annie John is an only child and too precocious for her own good. She is very smart, 'gets it' before anyone else in the class, so gets into trouble, talking and defacing at least one textbook. She gets soundly punished for that mistake.

Her relationship with her mother is tenuous at best. Some days she is loving, but others down right hateful.

So... Annie John is n
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
Nadia Parbo
Nov 18, 2012 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 equall ...more
Anne Rioux
Oct 22, 2015 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 inte ...more
Jerrika Rhone
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
I have never been able to appreciate Jamaica Kincaid the way others do. I try and try and try and just find her work, okay. This book, I actually really didn't care for much(1.5 stars) because the whole time I was reading all I can think of was how spoiled this child is. I suppose we all go through that sh*tty phase when we are are younger but gawd I don't want to read about it. Sorry mom and dad. ...more
Karen (idleutopia_reads)
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
The loss of self and an affirmation of an identity are themes that haunt the story of Annie John. When we are first introduced to her, she is only ten years old. The world where we meet her is a paradise, in complete harmony, surrounded by the strong love of a beautiful mother towards her beautiful child. The journey is paved with no obstacles and any that may come Annie’s way are completely eradicated by her mother. Suddenly, the rug is pulled out from under us and Annie’s mother begins treatin ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can't decide if I should give this four or five stars. This is the best, most accurate story about girlhood I have ever read. I didn't grow up in Antigua in the 80s, but there were so many aspects of girlhood that I kind of forgot about; loving female friends so fiercely, the way girls used to get along and seem to love each other, the fierce love and devotion to a mother and then growing a bit older and wanting nothing to do with her. I also loved the stories about her grandmother and her "wi ...more
Alicia Evans
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 attempt ...more
May 17, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 25, 2011 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
Jun 10, 2012 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.
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book but it felt so flat and rushed for me. I could not for the life of me connect with Annie. I really tried, I think I may have to revisit this book.
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A well down coming of age story. It was a great introduction to Jamaica Kincaid. Watch my review here -> ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Could you please combine those books? 1 13 Jun 11, 2020 07:12AM  
Reading 1001: Annie John by Kincaid 5 21 Jun 02, 2020 08:01AM  
Around the World ...: Discussion for Annie John 7 55 Apr 23, 2016 10:14PM  
A fast read 2 26 Mar 06, 2012 11:28AM  

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Jamaica Kincaid is a novelist, gardener, and former reporter for The New Yorker Magazine. She is a Professor of Literature at Claremont-McKenna College.

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