Date Read: May 22nd 2014
Published: September 4th 2002
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Lucy, a teenage girl from the West Indies, comes to North America to work as an au pair for Lewis and Mariah and their four children. Lewis and Mariah are a thrice-blessed couple–handsome, rich, and seemingly happy. Yet, almost at once, Lucy begins to notice cracks in their beautiful facade. With mingled anger and compassion, Lucy scrutinizes the assumptions and verities of her employers’ world and compares them with the vivid realities of her native place. Lucy has no illusions about her own past, but neither is she prepared to be deceived about where she presently is.
At the same time that Lucy is coming to terms with Lewis’s and Mariah’s lives, she is also unravelling the mysteries of her own sexuality. Gradually a new person unfolds: passionate, forthright, and disarmingly honest. In Lucy, Jamaica Kincaid has created a startling new character possessed with adamantine nearsightedness and ferocious integrity–a captivating heroine for our time.
Review – ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Lucy is a quick read and was wonderfully written. I really enjoy Jamaica Kincaid’s style of writing – it is clean and simple yet laden with deep meaning. Lucy, the protagonist of the novel is a sorrowful, bitter person and I blame her abandoned upbringing and the love-hate relationship she has with her mother as the cause. The novel in general is full of misery – not only from the protagonist, but also from the family Lucy is working for (Mariah and Lewis).
Even after Lucy obtains all the things she once longed for – freedom to do as she pleases and to be away from home (a nameless Caribbean island) she still isn’t fully satisfied with life. The bond she forms with her friend Peggy and her romantic relationships with men don’t seem completely sincere in love. There is a deep void in Lucy’s life and I believe only her mother’s love can fill it but her mother was quite controlling and hostile to Lucy as a child. What kind of mother tells her daughter that she was named after Satan because she was a botheration from the moment she was conceived? And that ‘Lucy’ is the girl’s name for Lucifer? Crazy.
This story could be seen as a sequel to Jamaica Kincaid’s novel, Annie John. There are a lot of similarities in the protagonists of the two stories. Kincaid seems to enjoy writing on mother-daughter relationships in these two novels… and they are both quite tragic! Kincaid’s ability to articulate emotions and feelings of joy, vulnerability, sorrow, pain and grief are very palpable in her novels. This is why I love her books and I highly recommend this one!
★★★★★ (5 stars) – Amazing book, I loved it. Absolutely recommend!
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