Book Reviews: Annie John
Thursday, December 16, 2010Posted by Melissa (Avid Reader)
by Jamaica Kincaid
This coming-of-age story follows a young girl, Annie, as she grows up on the island of Antigua. There are eight episodes, each a picture of Annie's life as she tries to understand the world around her.
Annie wasn't a likeable character, though I suppose few young teenage girls are likeable in real life. So in that way Kincaid's portrayal of the girl felt very real, but at the same time, it's hard to love such a selfish and often cruel character.
Annie has a tendency to become obsessed with her friends. She lets one girl become the focus of her world and then, just as quickly, she loses interest in her and moves on. Kincaid has said in interviews that she never meant for Annie's character to be interpreted as homosexual, but at the same time, the relationships feel more like crushes than friendships.
As a child Annie idolizes her mother, but as she grows older she begins to hate her. She develops a deep resentment of her mother and never overcomes it. The book skirts around many issues and in doing so left me wanting. It touches on depression, giving the reader a glimpse
of that condition in Annie, but just as quickly drops it. Overall it was an interesting read, but didn't really work for me.
If the basic story sounds good I'd recommend, The Meaning of Consuelo and The House on Mango Street. I enjoyed both of those books more than Annie John and they have similar premises.