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Slipstream Paperback – 1 Aug 2002
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About the Author
Rachel Manley is the author of the Governor Generals Award-winning memoir Drumblair: Memories of a Jamaican Childhood, and of three acclaimed books of poetry. A former Bunting Fellow for Literature at Radcliffe College, she divides her time between Toronto and Jamaica.
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The memoirs cover a troubled childhood with a succession of stepmothers, (Manley was married five times), and half-siblings and awkward family situations. To a large extent, her beloved grandparents, "Mardi" and "Pardi" took the place of absentee parents - the mother who remained in England and the father who was deeply involved in politics.
It presents a fascinating portrait of a Jamaican childhood at the heart of one of Jamaica's most well-known families - her grandfather was the much-respected politician Norman Manley, and her grandmother, Edna, was the well-known sculptor and artist.
What gives the story its poignancy is that it is told from the perspective of Michael Manley's long and painful battle with cancer, looking back on earlier days. The memoir does not minimise the pain and suffering of the former leader seen through the eyes of his eldest daughter. Thus, on a broader perspective, it is not only a portrait of a Jamaican childhood and a leader's long and painful decline, but is also a wider presentation of physical suffering and resulting strain on relatives.
Rachel's relationship with her father was often a troubled one but she shows clearly that the family bonds were nevertheless unbreakable.
I would recommend the book both as a portrait of a prominent Jamaican family at an interesting time in the country's history, and also as an honest picture of human suffering. At one time, Mandela hopes to visit the ailing politician - but Manley cannot face the ordeal of greeting him in his altered state.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book taught me, it touched me, and I will be recommending it to others. If you find a copy of this little known book, read it...treasure it.