12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 22 November 2000
This book has raised issues in my mind that i'd never really thought of before. Adella is a struggling black woman, trying to gain a good life for herself. The novel takes us from Jamaica to England and is a bleak story with no hope or possibilities for a way out. The strong use of narration challenges the reader to think and act upon the story that is told. The novel takes us through all the pain and misery Adella is subjected to in her life; firstly through her pregnancy in Jamaica as an unmarried girl, which results in her family's and her society's rejection of her, to the racism and discrimination she is confronted with on her arrival in England. The novel acts as a conversation she is having within herself. She never tells anyone her true feelings. This highlights the idea of black women having a voice but being silenced, which began in this country five decades ago. Riley's novel seems to be addressing white women to engage them in her story. Riley makes Adella's experience public and comments on the idea of a "womanhood" rather than a "feminism". Ultimately, this novel is one of repression. As a woman Adella is repressed through her body as well as her origin and the realist conventions that Riley uses make a powerful effect on the reader.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 28 November 2002
This is a truely moving and touching story about a jamaican womans life. The injustices done to the narrator are made even more upsetting by her non-bitter, misguided tone of language. Riley's writing reminded me of Alice Walker in both the subject of black womens lives and her wonderful ability to tell a story. You really feel for the characters in the novel and want to challenge the system that cretes such injustice.
A wonderful, telling book- I would recomend it to everyone.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2004
This was by far one of the most moving stories I have read. The story of a Jamacian woman's life, told in various flashbacks, was a really emotive peice of work by Riley. I felt moved to tears by the events in this woman's life, the battles she went through for her family and the sacrifices she made to make life better for them. The book never lets up. I never found a dull moment in the story. I feel compelled to read some more of Riley's works for she is a true spiritual writer who can touch the heart strings without the usual plot cliches. Power to the written word of women!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2010
If you, like me, are looking for a book which you can culturally relate to. For me a young black woman having grown up in England. My mum, as much as I love her, has always been a mystery to me. Her life back in the caribbean, her true inner thoughts, etc. Along with the book 'Small Island' this book has been a eye opener for me. I would describe it as similar to 'Small Island' but without the humour, although still for me very deep and meaningful. The book is very well put together, and has a tidy, complete ending. I must say I missed Adella for days after I finished reading the book and definitely wanted more. I will never forget her. It is a little bit sad in places, but definitely thought provoking for me. Hope this helps you to decide whether or not this is for you. I think this book is quite unique and should have won some kind of award.