Stephanie Spines's Reviews > Brown Girl in the Ring

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
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really liked it
bookshelves: own

Brown Girl in the Ring is set in a future dystopian Toronto, where the wealthy have fled to the suburbs following a large-scale economic collapse fuelled by failed negotiations with local First Nations communities. Infused with magical realism, it follows Ti-Jeanne as she reconnects with her Caribbean culture, largely via her grandmother, Gros-Jeane (who is, as one may call her, an obeah woman) to take down a local gang lord, Rudy.

At first, I really connected with Ti-Jeanne, a single mother with a young baby. I thought she was strong and flawed and thus, quite human. I connected very much to the dialect, being Caribbean-Canadian myself. The setting was also great, as a current Torontonian. I was able to picture the ruins of the places that Ti-Jeanne visited and actually that made it quite scary! Plot-wise, it was quite gritty and intense at some points. (view spoiler) Speaking of which, my main issue with the plot was (view spoiler)

I thought the writing was quite disjointed and at times difficult to follow. I struggled through some of it, but where this novel fails in prose, it definitely makes up for in its inclusion of cultural ceremonies, language and folklore. I cannot praise this book enough for its references to Caribbean folklore and myth, as well as things like obeah. It was an enlightening experience to read in this sense, particularly for me, a Caribbean-descended woman living in Toronto. Further, we could spend some time interrogating and unpacking what it means for these Caribbean cultural references to have permeated a largely white-, male-dominated genre and industry and how powerful an act of resistance has been created in this work. But I'll save that for an essay.

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Reading Progress

December 21, 2012 – Shelved
March 7, 2013 – Started Reading
March 9, 2013 –
March 12, 2013 – Finished Reading
February 21, 2014 – Shelved as: own

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Reese I'll be interested in reading your comments on this book.

Stephanie Spines So far, so good! I'll post some thoughts when I'm finished. :)

message 3: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Reese thanks!

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