This is a book that will make you feel all the things. It begins in 1998 in Jamaica where Patsy is living in Pennyfield, Jamaica… single mother to a 5 year old daughter, Tru. Her dream is to move to America. Years ago, her best friend (who became more than a friend) Cicely fled to America and now writes to her with stories of a better life (and the possibility of reigniting their love). Patsy makes the heartbreaking (I thought) decision to leave Jamaica forever to follow her dreams – leaving Tru with her father, Roy. This book follows them over the next thirteen or so years. Patsy arrives in America and it quickly hits her hard that things are not going to be the way she had thought they would be. Cicely is married, with a family and an overbearing husband. And as an undocumented immigrant, she has to work as a bathroom attendant and nanny – just to afford a tiny room in Crown Heights. Meanwhile, Tru grows up and becomes a teenager, struggling with her own sexuality and also unable to understand why her mother abandoned her. The story follows both of their stories. It’s ultimately hopeful, but broke my heart so many times, too. I felt angry with Patsy for abandoning her daughter, but also empathy for her as she struggled to find her “American dream.” I was heartbroken for Tru. These characters are complicated and real and I really think that every person should read this book.
Author: Nicole Dennis-Benn