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Patsy

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3.89  ·  Rating details ·  6,374 ratings  ·  927 reviews
When Patsy gets her long-coveted visa to America, it comes after years of yearning to leave Pennyfield, the beautiful but impoverished Jamaican town where she was raised. More than anything, Patsy wishes to be reunited with her oldest friend, Cicely, whose letters arrive from New York steeped in the promise of a happier life and the possible rekindling of their young love. ...more
Hardcover, 419 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Liveright
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Joan Albino Ricky shouts, grinning from ear to ear.
Joan Ricky is saying now the world will see that Tru is a great football player and may be thinking, I taught her that play. "Pennyfield (their town) to th…moreRicky is saying now the world will see that Tru is a great football player and may be thinking, I taught her that play. "Pennyfield (their town) to the world!"(less)

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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,374 ratings  ·  927 reviews


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Roxane
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nicole Dennis-Benn has written an engrossing novel about a woman who chooses herself over her child in emigrating, alone, to the US and estranging herself from her young daughter. There is a really epic, sprawling quality to this novel, this sense of grandness in seeing Patsy make a life for herself in the States and, slowly, messily, grow into who she should be. There is a love story at the heart of this--a childhood love that could become something more if only it was easier for people to get ...more
Thomas
Such a powerful, well-written novel about Patsy, a woman who leaves Jamaica and her daughter behind to pursue an independent life in America, only to encounter a fractured version of the American dream full of challenges. I loved this book because the characters feel so complex and human and Nicole Dennis-Benn writes their emotions with such rawness and vibrancy. For example, Patsy leaves her daughter behind in large part because she had her daughter before she felt ready for motherhood. Dennis- ...more
Christine
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Christine by: Apple books of year
4.5 stars rounded to 4 stars

After a bit of a slow start, this book turned out to be wonderful. Patsy is a young Jamaican mother who doesn’t think she is cut out to be a mother for her 5-year-old daughter Trudy Ann (Tru) as she still hasn’t come to terms with how she feels about herself. Her goal is to get to America and reunite with her childhood friend Cecily, for whom she feels great love.

This novel covers a lot. It’s a story about the life of an illegal immigrant in a new land, which isn’t q
...more
Michael
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, recs
As with Dennis-Benn’s debut, Here Comes the Sun, Patsy explores the rich inner lives of a Jamaican mother and her daughter. At the story’s start Patsy moves to America to pursue romance with her childhood friend Cecily, leaving her five-year-old daughter Tru in Jamaica, under the care of her distant father Roy. Once in America Patsy finds Cecily happily married and unwilling to abandon her conservative husband; rejected but reluctant to return to Jamaica and assume the role of mother, Patsy emba ...more
Reggie
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-favorites
Some time ago there was this popular dweeb who said something about shithole countries. It sent people into an uproar, and, rightfully so. People have pride in where they come from, and they should. During the response you saw a lot of people mention how such and such from said "shithole country" is a lawyer. Such & such this other country is a doctor. Such & such from over there started a successful business. Wonderful accolade after wonderful accolade listed when describing these immigrants.

He
...more
Caroline
***NO SPOILERS***

Given the premise, Patsy should have been more emotionally resonant. Nicole Dennis-Benn wrote about the experience of a Jamaican immigrant (Patsy) in America after she leaves her young daughter (Tru) behind in Jamaica. The relationship between the two isn't established strongly, so I didn't feel the sadness Dennis-Benn wanted me to feel. The main character's struggle to understand and accept her sexual identity feels similarly distant.

Also disappointing is the shallow depiction
...more
Michelle
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am not quite sure how to articulate what I feel after reading Patsy. In Dennis-Benn's second novel we are once again asked to explore diverse subject matter: immigration, LGBTQ+, religion, colorism, politics . . . motherhood. Although I left motherhood for last this is the part of the book that I struggled with the most. When Patsy decided that she is going to chase after the American dream and leave her daughter behind I was judgemental. As a mother I was pissed and unsympathetic. I could not ...more
BookOfCinz
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Nicole Dennis-Benn's debut novel Here Comes The Sun so much so Patsy was one of my most sought after ARC for 2019.

We meet Patsy, a twenty something Jamaican living in Pennyfield- what one would call a ghetto. Patsy is a government worker, but gets paid so little, she ends up doing some on the side work that is she not too proud about. Patsy is the sole breadwinner, but she is hardly able to provide for her daughter Tru and her mother who stopped working after fin
...more
Jessica Woodbury
4.5 stars. With PATSY, Nicole Dennis-Benn has with just two novels declared herself as one of our best and most important writers. It's not a small feat. Dennis-Benn writes urgent, beautiful, heartwrenching stories about the women the world ignores.

Patsy has made a surprisingly good life for herself for a woman in a poor neighborhood in Jamaica. Her life has not been easy, her mother is so obsessed with religion that she doesn't contribute to the family at all, and Patsy's daughter was an unpla
...more
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
I did not enjoy this one nearly as much as her first book. Despite its length, this book failed to provide much clarity on the title character or her motivations throughout much of the story. The book was also unfocused and the narrative shifted too often - a love story, an immigrant story, a coming of age story? She is a good writer, but couldn’t seem to find the guiding story for the title character. 2.5⭐️
Abbie | ab_reads
Jun 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars


Another brilliant read for #ReadCaribbean, hosted by @bookofcinz! I bought this one because of Cindy and Jesse @bowtiesandbooks and I absolutely devoured it. Anything to do with motherhood in a book, however unconventional, always ticks a huge box for me. This sprawling saga, spanning two decades across Jamaica and America, hooked its claws in me from page one.
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Patsy leaves Jamaica for New York almost straight away in the book, determined to start a new life for herself and rekindle he
...more
Joc
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lesbian, lgbtqia
My wife has set herself a challenge to read books by black women authors this year and somehow, I find myself reading reviews and gravitating towards the same kind of book. Patsy is the story of a young woman with a five-year-old daughter living in a poor area of Jamaica. She is desperate to get to America to find Cicely, her love and best friend from childhood, at the cost of just about everything she has, including her daughter. She finally manages to get her visa but what she finds in Brookly ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
After loving this author's last novel (Here Comes the Sun), I was looking forward to this one. I'm slightly disappointed that it isn't the same narrator because while this one is good, the previous one was luminous. I ended wondering if the characters in the first know the characters in the second but couldn't find out for sure.

At first this seems like another immigration novel, of a person trying to make it in America and finding it harder than they expected. And surely that is present in the
...more
jo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kiki
Nicole is a Jamaican writer who, from book to book, reveals more new things about life in Jamaica that I didn't know.

She levelled up in this sophomore title producing an imagery laden, emotionally precise novel about two characters who exist outside society's prescribed bounds of womanhood. The light and the darkness, birds in flight or caged, curses and blessings, that scent of blood...

I don't know that I ever liked Patsy but I ached for her. Tru had my whole heart. The book ended a little too
...more
Camryn
Jun 26, 2019 added it
Nicole Dennis-Benn is an amazing writer. This was just too depressing for me. It was very real, but it just seemed like everything about both women's experiences was horrible, even within the good parts. I kept reading because the writing pulled me in so much. The characters were real and I definitely have experienced and seen the patriarchy and misogyny and homophobia of Jamaican culture that is displayed here. I liked that none of the characters were perfect or even really good.

I also liked t
...more
Karee
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scribd, 2019, audiobook
Just like Here Come the Sun, Patsy has left me wanting more from these characters. This is more than a coming of age story. More than a story about heartache, abuse, love, self denial, family, poverty, and relationships. It's a story that weaves a tale of folks just trying to fill their lives with happiness and love. These 2 things did not come easy and without a heavy price, some may never find it.

Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn is a genius! I could have easily read 200 more pages of this novel. Patsy wi
...more
Karen (idleutopia_reads)
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Do you ever have that feeling when you don’t even want to put words on paper because no words could fully encapsulate the brilliance of a book you just read? That’s how I feel with Patsy. I am going to be a mediocre guide trying to give you a semblance of an idea of what this book is about. There are so many amazing articles circulating around that you must read so that you can get help in uncovering the layers of this book. As always, my best method of trying to review this book is to show what ...more
Jonathan Pool
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-lit
Synopsis
The eponymous Patsy of the books title is the person we, the readers, follow, and empathise with throughout the book. We want to love our lead characters, right? Or at least despise them unequivocally if they are guilty of bad behaviour.
Patsy doesn’t conform to this norm. The reader has her back, all the while knowing, from the outset, that she has abandoned her only child, and made false promises to that young girl.
Patsy does not follow the expectations of women, to aspire to motherhood
...more
Candace Hernandez
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Patsy immigrates from her impoverished city in Jamaica to America, leaving behind her five year old daughter, Tru. The book alternates POVs and we get to hear from Patsy, who discovers life in America isn’t at all what she expected and Tru, who speaks of her time growing up with her father in Jamaica.

I was rooting for Patsy throughout the novel and just adored her character. The entire cast of characters add so much oomph to this book as well! So many themes are discussed in this book. Immigrati
...more
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
This was a compelling read, Patsy and the other women in this novel were particularly well characterized and developed. The focus of the narrative, Patsy’s decision to leave Jamaica and her young daughter to start a new life in NYC, is one that the reader increasingly feels the weight of as the novel processes. Through Patsy’s observations about American life and the social privileges and prejudices she observes and experiences, we get a really fulsome discussion about the immigration experience ...more
Moonkiszt
Sep 04, 2019 marked it as done-not-finishing
Can't seem to get beyond first chapter. . . I'm out.
Allison
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ahhh wow Nicole Dennis-Benn's characters and stories are like no other. This book was stunning. I loved her first novel and I think I loved this one even more. I will never forget the characters of Patsy and her child Tru. Dennis-Benn examines how the world has set them up to fail - poor, queer, immigrant, women, Black, and dark-skinned - and the impact this has on their personal relationships, and how they continue to seek freedom on their own terms.
Jan
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kudos to Dennis-Benn for creating strong but problematic characters and keeping us on their side as they make tough choices to survive in the face of poverty, institutional racism and family dysfunction. Wonderful use of the settings in Jamaica and Brooklyn. Maybe 4.5 stars, because I’m feeling downright emotional about almost every one of these characters. This is a step up from Dennis-Benn’s debut novel, and I’ll be excited to see her career unfold.
Tia
Whew 💆🏽‍♀️

This book had my emotions everywhere. Tru!!!! Tru had my heart hurting for chapters. The prolonged process to maneuver through this book was due to Tru and Minerva. They didn’t give my anxiety any rest. I’m so pleased with my decision to start this book over from the beginning and go slow with it. I don’t regret giving this book and characters my full attention.

I highly recommend!

Thank you to Netgalley and W.W. Norton & Company for the opportunity to review this title.
...more
Christina
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ripped my heart out. Started reading and couldn't put down. Complex character driven novel that is brutally real.
Andre
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Impressed. Bold decisions by Patsy, and even bolder by Nicole Dennis-Benn to explore these themes in fiction. It is a rare feat and only happens with the very best fiction, that an author creates a character that gets into your head and stays long after the book has been put down, Patsy is such a character. I begin to think of this woman as a real individual, that’s how lush and authentic was the story and prose. The life of immigration is under the scope here and Patsy makes a decision to go to ...more
Robert Sheard
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Throughout the novel, everyone seems trapped by circumstances and there's an overwhelming sense of misery. And yet at the end we're still hopeful? It's an interesting story about families, responsibilities, guilt, depression, and the lengths people often must go to in order to survive and create a life.
Classy
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is such an enthralling book. I went through every emotion possible while reading. Ms. Benn unapologetically discussed topics that many refuse to talk about such as the struggle of motherhood, absent, but present parents, rape, sexuality, gender, and many more. I struggled with many of the decisions Patsy made, but came to understand her by the end of the book. I highly recommend this book.
Floor Flawless
Read for the Booktube Prize Octafinals

This book is so powerful! <3
...more
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Play Book Tag: Patsy / Nicole Y Dennis-Benn - 4**** 2 12 Feb 10, 2020 03:17PM  
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#ReadWithJenna: Questions for Patsy author, Nicole Dennis-Benn 1 42 Aug 27, 2019 07:25AM  

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Nicole Dennis-Benn is the author of the novels PATSY (June 4, 2019) and HERE COMES THE SUN (Liveright, 2016), which won the Lambda Literary Award, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, and the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and was longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award.

HERE COMES THE SUN was named a New
...more

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