Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid
(Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1997, 148 pages)
Annie John is a slim novel that is essentially comprised of connected short stories detailing the transition from being a girl to becoming a young woman. Set on the island of Antigua we meet our protagonist, Annie John, who adores her mother. As the book goes on and Annie John enters adolescence we see the relationship between mother and daughter begin to shift. Intertwined with details about Annie John’s life at school and interactions with friends we hear about the changing dynamic between her and her mother and while it can be painful to read about, it’s also very true to what this time of life often consists of for young women. It’s a time of finding your own identity while also tending to rebel against what feel like constraints imposed by your parents.
I appreciated this novel and am glad I finally picked up something written by Kincaid. This book certainly makes for a quick read but I definitely wouldn’t classify it as light-hearted. As the book progressed I found myself feeling a little depressed by the subject matter, but that shouldn’t deter anyone from picking up Annie John – it’s considered a classic for a reason.