Small Island by Andrea Levy and I’m now on a mission to read every single one of her books. Very seldom am I drawn to a book after seeing the movie adaptation but when Small Island aired on PBS (yes, I’m a public television junkie-PBS Kids, Masterpiece Classics, Independent Lens, American Experience…I love it all… but I digress) I missed the first hour of the four hour miniseries and was then put off by the ending. Not put off in a bad way but just left wanting more, thinking “I must have missed something.” The novel details the lives of Hortense, Gilbert, Queenie and Bernard. We follow Hortense and Gilbert from their homeland of Jamaica to 1940’s England where there lives intersect with Queenie and Bernard. I loved the way in which each chapter was a character’s point of view and I was amazed at Levy’s ability to give authentic voice to four vastly different characters. I think it’s the mark of a gifted writer to be able to capture the voice of a character totally unlike themselves (ie. a black woman writing as a white man, etc.) in a way that is not stereotypical or contrived. Andrea Levy is truly gifted. I loved this book and recommend it to lovers of historical fiction and anyone interested in learning about the black experience abroad.
Write in the voice of someone of the opposite sex.
Dude, when she told me I just freaked out. I didn’t know what to do! She was crying and all upset, and all I could think about was my scholarship and my parents. They are going to kill me, man! She’s asking me “What are we going to do?” and I’m like “What are we going to do? You’re going to take care of it! I’ll give you money.” I know, man. I can’t believe I said it either but I was just so scared. I love her but I’m not ready for this. A baby, what are we going to do with a baby!