Nicole Dennis-Benn's sophomore novel, Patsy, offers a searing portrait of a young Jamaican woman and her quest to make a better life for herself--even if that means leaving her young daughter behind when she sets out for the United States. But the U.S. is not what Patsy imagined, and she is faced with an impossible choice: struggle to make ends meet in New York and remain cut off from her daughter, or find a way home and admit defeat in the eyes of her family and neighbors in Jamaica--a land "full of people who have discovered that certain seeds the land will not nurture."
Dennis-Benn (Here Comes the Sun) brings to life the bustling energy and sometimes frenetic hope of two distinct but colorful places: New York City and Jamaica. Set against these vivid backdrops, Patsy and her daughter, Tru, struggle and mourn and grow and change. "But di weirdest t'ing 'bout life is dat it's only understood backward. Yuh neva known what's at di end a dis tunnel waiting fah you, sweetheart," Patsy is reminded by a friend in New York. Though it is but a small line in a large novel, this sentiment lies at the heart of Patsy and Tru's story as they learn to lead the lives they expect for themselves, rather than what others expect of them. In Patsy, Dennis-Benn delivers a novel of love and sexuality, parenthood and childhood, hardship and opportunity whose every page sparkles with complex and imperfect characters fighting to make their way in a harsh world. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm