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A Novel

by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn X
Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn
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  • Published Jun 2019
    432 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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There are currently 21 member reviews
for Patsy
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  • Nancy K. (Perrysburg, OH)
    Powerful and Sad
    I would have to hesitate before I would recommend this book to just anyone. True it is very well written, filled with powerful scenes of a New York and Jamaica that the ordinary person would never see. Much of the time the author has the characters speak using the Jamaican patois which is a little hard for the average reader to understand, Patsy comes to America from Jamaica leaving her young daughter behind. She thought she would find love, employment and happiness. As it turns out all she finds is disappointment and terrible hardships. Tru, her daughter grows up with unhappiness and many challenges. Overt racism are present in both their lives.

    This is a sad story about immigration that the author has told it so well that if I were making a list of the top five books about immigration this would be on it. Hard to read but worth it!
  • Jeanette L. (Marietta, GA)
    Patsy is the story of a Jamaican woman who Leaves her family and her 5 years old daughter Trudy-Ann (Tru) and travels to New York to follow the woman she has fallen in love with.
    Patsy leaves Tru with her father Roy and Marva his wife; Tru never really adapts to living here, all she wants is her mother, but apart from her first Christmas when she received a card from her mother from New York it's been 10 years of silence.
    Patsy's life in New York has been a total disappointment, her friend Cicely never described her actual life, and her letters were full of fancy, funny stories. When Patsy got there Cicely lived in a good side of town in some expensive Brownstones which belong to the man she married in order to get her citizenship. Marcus was his name and after a few days he kicked Patsy out. This is when Patsy's life became very difficult, no papers no money and no friends.
    I found this story a little slow and drawn-out but good it opens our eyes to what the undocumented in this country go thru, and I wonder sometimes, is it worth it?
  • Paula W
    Patsy a novel
    After many tries Patsy has been given a visa. Finally she is leaving Jamaica and going to America where her best friend is living. Going to the land of opportunity and success. She is leaving behind her six year old daughter. Once there she realizes her friend has changed and she is on her own. This is the story of her struggle in America and her daughter's struggle being abandoned my her mother and now living with a father she barely knows and his family. Heartbreaking but beautifully written, the author ends with "In memory of the unsung stories of undocumented immigrants in search of trees with branches." Certainly a timely novel.
  • Caroline
    A literary novel lacking feeling
    Given the premise, Patsy should have been more emotionally resonant. Nicole Dennis-Benn wrote about a Jamaican immigrant's experience in America after she leaves her young daughter behind in Jamaica. The relationship between the two isn't established strongly, so I didn't feel the sadness Dennis-Benn wanted me to feel. The main character's struggle to understand and accept her sexual identity feels similarly distant. What redeems Patsy is Dennis-Benn's writing, which is literary and contemplative without ever being fussy.
  • Marcia S. (Ackley, IA)
    Misguided dreams
    I wasn't a big fan of the main character, Patsy. She basically abandons her daughter, Tru, to join her friend (former lover) Cicely in America. Cicely has lied about her life in America and is actually married and has a child. Patsy works hard to build a life, but ignores her daughter back home. Tru and Patsy both suffer because of Patsy's decisions. The book is well written. I don't think my book club of older ladies would like it.
  • Bobbie D. (Boca Raton, FL)
    Patsy and Tru
    "As your mother-in-training the least I can do is set you free." The quote is sent to Tru in a letter written by her mother Patsy. Though this book Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn is "fiction" a lot of it seems to be part of the authors life. Abuse, sexual preference and infidelity run throughout the lives of these Jamaican communities.
    Patsy, a single mother, leaves her young daughter in Jamaica to go to America to try to earn money and be able to send it home. Her daughter Tru is sent to her father in a nearby town. He has a wife and three sons. The book divides its time between Patsy and Tru.
    Quite a bit of the dialogue is written in Patois to remind you of the Jamaican ethnicity. The characters are well developed and you come to care for them. How they grow and age is this interesting story.
  • Ruth H. (Sebring, FL)
    Poor Patsy
    When I first started this book I had such high hopes for Patsy. By the middle of the book, I was feeling less sympathy for her. The end of the book made me so angry I wanted to give her a good slap, "Snap out of it!" As the story pieces together, many questions came to light. First thing, why would any mother leave her child behind? I was a single mom and would have not dreamed of leaving my little girl with someone else. Why didn't she return to Jamaica when she found out that Cicely was married. Love or not, she was illegally in New York with no opportunities for further education, housing assistance, or anything that required a Social Security number. She did find work, menial labor at best, so why wasn't she able to save money to go back, or bring her daughter here? And the lack of contact with her daughter really was uncalled for, it made me mad, how hard is it to write a letter? By this time, I am disgusted by Patsy, was that the emotion the author was looking for?
    Tru, you poor abandoned child, I give you great respect for trying to make a life for yourself after being dumped on your Father's doorstep. Maybe it was a blessing that your mother left you based on her retched life she lived. I hope that you make a better life than your mothers. Thanks Roy and Marva for giving Tru some stability in her life, though some times it was rough on a day to day basis. Thank God for football, I think it gave Tru an outlet for her emotions. Patsy, you are a major disappointment to me, a mother never leaves her children behind, no matter what!
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