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Frying Plantain

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  62 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Kara Davis is a girl caught in the middle — of her Canadian nationality and her desire to be a “true” Jamaican, of her mother and grandmother’s rages and life lessons, of having to avoid being thought of as too “faas” or too “quiet” or too “bold” or too “soft.” Set in “Little Jamaica,” Toronto’s Eglinton West neighbourhood, Kara moves from girlhood to the threshold of adul ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Astoria
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4.13  · 
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 ·  62 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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Never Without a Book™
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Growing up Black, and a child of immigrants can be tough. This is a collection of interconnected stories rooted in the Toronto neighborhood of Eglinton West and Marlee. Kara Davis who is caught in the middle of being a true Jamaican like her mother and growing up in Canadian.
I am a child of Caribbean immigrates so I know Kara’s story all too well.

Growing up in two different worlds is not an easy task. Kara and her mother butt heads at times but the friction between Kara’s mother Eloise and gra
Nadia L. Hohn
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a wondrous collection of short stories! This reads almost like a novel as it is a continuous narrative arc featuring Kara but it goes from the age of 12 to about 19. Kara is a second-generation Jamaican teen living in three of Toronto's neighbourhoods-- Wilson/Bathurst, Eglinton West (little Jamaica), and downtown. This book is about community and so many raw specific incidents. This book had me wondering how much of it was autobiographical since I could relate to so many incidents. Nana re ...more
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
this is SUCH a good collection! so well done. she captures the specific childhood and teenage fears and tenderness we have about our families so elegantly. i found so many of kara’s stories to be deeply universally relatable, even though details of my and kara’s upbringing are very different. she holds space for the sociocultural and micro factors of what makes a person themselves and that universal fear of you know, being seen by your mom sneaking around doing something you shouldn’t. i grew up ...more
Seema Rao
Feb 07, 2019 rated it liked it
tl; dr: Young Jamaica girl learns to live with the classism and racism of Canada.

There were so many good things about this book. The book reads like a memoir. The foods are mouth-wateringly described. The main character, a young Canadian-Jamaica girl, is really wonderfully drawn, so are her mother and grandmother.

The challenge for me came with the pacing. This is a short book, and as such, you expect the pace to be fast. It felt as if this could have had a little stronger outline befor
Kim Trusty
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredible first collection of short (connected) stories by Zalika Reid-Benta. Superbly crafted, microscopic look at The Lives of Black Girls and Women in/around Toronto's Little Jamaica. Can't lie: the validation I felt reading "Frying Plantain" was almost overwhelming, but entirely welcome.
Teena in Toronto
Jul 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: canadian
Though she was born here in Canada, Kara's family is Jamaican. Her grandparents live in Toronto but don't get along ... her grandfather has his own apartment and sees other women and occasionally goes home to the family house. Eloise, Kara's mother, got pregnant with her at age 17 and doesn't want the same thing to happen to Kara. Kara has no contact with her father and Eloise is doing the best she can ... she want her daughter to do well in school and have a better life. Because she is carrying ...more
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a great debut. A collection of short, interconnected stories following Kara and her navigation of the in-between. In-between Jamaican and Canadian. In-between girl and woman.

The stories explore Kara's rather fraught relationship with her iron-willed and controlling mother, her very intense grandmother and detached grandfather. As a first generation Canadian, Kara is unsure of how she should exist, how she should portray herself to the white kids at her elite school and how to balance h
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For more of my book content check out

I loved this book!
I started this book yesterday and finished it this morning!! This collection is so impressive! The way the author has interconnected these stories is superb! She managing to capture growing up caught between two worlds, highlighting complicated mother-daughter relationships cultural differences, and race in such an insightful way. I'm floored! Reccomended Reading for sure!
This is Available Tomorrow!!

Thank You to
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For a first-generation Canadian from any island (or perhaps from any country) growing in Toronto, this book is entirely relatable. The facts may differ from your own stories, but the feelings are so very true.
Ingrid T
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great coming of age book with relatable characters. Especially enjoyed reading about Caribbean-Canadians.
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable and easy to read, with a lot of heart and depth.
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional read, great detail & dialogue. Easy to emphasize with Kara’s life & growing up despite different cultural background.
Can’t wait to read more from this author!!
Brian Howell
rated it liked it
Jun 25, 2019
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book Frying Plantain tells the story of Kara, a Jamaican-Canadian girl growing up in Toronto. This book is a series of short stories that follows her as she grows up, trying to balance living between two different cultures and in the midst of familial conflict. This book offers an interesting new perspective on these two themes, as it tells it from the perspective of someone whose family is from Jamaica. I also found the short stories to be an effective method of telling her story. In genera ...more
Kathleen Paradon
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Jul 11, 2019
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Karen Christian
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Goodreads Librari...: please add cover 4 18 Dec 20, 2018 03:39PM  
Zalika Reid-Benta is a born and bred Toronto writer, TV fanatic and cheeseburger enthusiast. In 2011 George Elliott Clarke recommended her as a “Writer to Watch”. Her work has appeared on the CBC website, in the TOK 7 anthology and in Apogee Journal. She is an alum of the 2017 Banff Writer’s Studio and received an MFA in fiction from Columbia University in 2014. Her work explores matters of interg ...more