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Patsy

A Novel

by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn X
Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2019
    432 pages
    Genre: Novels

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  • Beverly J. (Hoover, AL)


    A Gem of a Story
    This sweeping tale is equal parts heart-wrenching, impactful and hopeful and highlights Dennis-Benn strong storytelling skills.

    The unflinching portraits of the complex characters each of whom is looking to be comfortable within their skin is told with compassion and psychological acumen and provides a new view into the immigrant tale of those who migrated and those who are left behind at "home".

    As the story expertly touches on self-discovery and identity in a meaningful way, the characters show us all of the intricacies of dreams, betrayals, colorism, motherhood, and sexuality especially when it crosses societal and cultural expectations.

    While reading about Patsy and her ordeals was thought provoking, I was enthralled by Tru, Patsy's daughter, and her struggles as a young girl to understand her place in family and friends lives and her place in her community. As Patsy and Tru had similar dilemmas, Dennis-Benn seamlessly shows the changing generational/cultural attitudes making for a stunningly emotive effect.

    Be prepared to be amazed by this bold, powerful and reflective read.
  • Xan


    Patsy
    This book was a great read from beginning to end! The author did a great job of introducing tough topics to include racism, sexism, classism, and even mental abuse. It was a great idea to keep us informed of how Patsy's decision to leave her daughter, Tru, behind as she selfishly goes to America in search of what she thought would be a better life. Ultimately, it appears that Patsy was more in search of her own identify and what could be considered a fantasy, in my opinion. The lesson could be that location doesn't necessarily guarantee happiness. It was a brilliant idea for the author to continuously take us back to Tru's story to update us on how the loss of a mother can impact a child. There were also other lessons of mental abuse experienced by Marva (a victim and culprit) and even Tru's stepbrother. Even though they weren't the main characters in the story, each character involved in the book had his or her own story. It was also an eye opener to discover so many forms of discrimination. Being from America sometimes hinders our judgement about life from the viewpoint of others. I hated for the story to end. Could there possibly be a sequel? I would definitely buy it!
  • Gwen C. (Clearfield, PA)


    Patsy
    I knew nothing about this book other than it had a bright cover when I packed it and headed out on a trip. From the beginning I was drawn in. The Jamaican dialect, daughter Tru, balancing wants and needs, and Patsy's plight(s). I was unsure how my companions would feel about immigrants and lesbians but at one point I HAD to share the story, and one of the best discussions ever evolved. One friend shared that her daughter was a lesbian and had kept it secret from us. Another rethought her views on immigration policies. And what it means to be a mother was, of course, the hot topic. This book should fare well in book clubs. Patsy and Tru make lasting impressions.
  • Lorri S. (Pompton Lakes, NJ)


    Honest and heartbreakingly true
    This is a book about searching for and being true to your authentic self, even in the face of deprivation, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, even in the absence of privilege. It is also a book about how motherhood--both as a mother and the mothered--can and does change everything. Dennis-Benn's Patsy is honest and the story feels heartbreakingly true. It is a must read for anyone who wants to better understand the life of an immigrant, the life of a complex woman, the life of someone trying to forge a life in a society that does not immediately see the value in all that she has to offer.

    Recommended for readers who enjoyed Behold the Dreamers by Mbue or any of Chimamanda Adichie's books.
  • Paula K. (Champaign, IL)


    Heart Wrenching and Heart Warming
    Nicole Dennis-Ben is an exquisite writer; in some ways is almost too good. She tells the heart-wrenching story of abandonment - both physical and emotional - of both Patsy and her daughter. Her characters are even more carefully layered than her story, making it both easy for readers to understand their actions and motivations and difficult for readers to separate themselves from the hard decisions each must make. We all know that life is a struggle, whether as a resident of an impoverished island or as an undocumented immigrant in the America of one's dreams. Patsy is hard to read at times and yet one doesn't want it to end. Dennis-Benn has prodigious talent that she puts to excellent use in this novel. I look forward to her next one.
  • Deb H.


    Delightful Read
    I am delighted to post this review of Patsy. This compelling read offers an insightful and heartfelt story of the internal tug of war experienced by a young Jamaican mother. Patsy struggles to achieve a sense of self as she immigrates to a new country. Alternating chapters follow the coming of age of Patsy's daughter Tru, whom she left behind in Jamaica.

    I loved so many characters in this story and appreciated the gut wrenching honesty that slowly unravelled as the novel progressed. God speed to you Patsy, Tru, Roy, Claudette, and Sore-Foot Marlon. Give this a read if you would like to reimagine the meaning of the word "home".
  • Pau J. (Bath, ME)


    Patsy
    I wasn't sure this was the book for me for the first one hundred pages...Patsy comes across as selfish and immature. Eventually as you get to know her, you understand more of her motivation for immigrating to America. And by the end of the book, you're cheering her on as she works to mend relationships.
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