This was my first semester as an official English major at my university. I had two literature classes one focusing on African American Women Writers and the other on Renaissance Poetry and Prose. There were a couple of books I really enjoyed and other that I hated… a lot.
AUTHOR: Toni Morrison
SUMMARY: Sethe, who killed her own daughter years ago, must now cope with her baby’s ghost and the scars slavery left her.
QUICK REVIEW: I already did a review for this book CLICK HERE
TITLE: Their Eyes Were Watching God
AUTHOR: Zora Neale Hurston
SUMMARY: A light skinned African American woman marries twice before falling in love with a younger man.
QUICK REVIEW: I really liked this book the second time around. With my first read (back in high school) I felt rushed and skipped whole chapters to be somewhat on schedule with the rest of the class. Although I wouldn’t consider it a love story, I did like seeing Janie’s quest for love. It shows that sometimes you have to try a couple of times to get it right. Gender differences is more emphasized than the other problems she faces like race.
NOTE: She writes in a dialect but it’s easy to get used to the farther you go along.
TITLE: Brown Girl, Brownstones
AUTHOR: Paule Marshall
SUMMARY: The young daughter of Barbadian immigrants must cope with her parent’s decaying marriage and the racial tensions growing up in 1940s New York.
QUICK REVIEW: This was the first book of the semester I disliked. The reason it doesn’t have a rating of 2/5 is because the ending saves it, a little. I hated Selina’s home life. I hated the mother and father, both of them are villains while also sympathetic. Meanwhile, Selina is stuck in the middle of their troubled marriage. I didn’t particularly like the writing either.
TITLE: The Farming of Bones
AUTHOR: Edwidge Danticat
SUMMARY: Amabelle lives through the horrible mass murders of Hatian people living in the Dominican Republic by order of General Trujillo (a dick-tator).
QUICK REVIEW: I loved this novel. It might even be my favorite of the semester. I remember actually wanting to read it instead of dreading it like I did with Brown Girl, Brownstones. I love the writing, the mixture of Spanish, Creole (even I don’t speak it), and English was amazing. I also loved learning about the history between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, even if it’s not a happy story to tell. Amabelle’s story kept me on my feet from start to finish. For me, it was one of the more interesting reads of this semester.
TITLE: No Telephone to Heaven
AUTHOR: Michelle Cliff
SUMMARY: A Jamaican family leave their island and move to the USA.
QUICK REVIEW: I hope my professor never finds this because I didn’t finish this novel. I read the first two chapters and I was immediately put off by the weird time line. I don’t like novels that don’t explain what’s going on, like the Maze Runner (also the reason I never finished it). All I can say is that the second chapter was much more interesting to read than the first. That’s all I have to say.
AUTHOR: Jamaica Kincaid
RATING: 2/5 SUMMARY: A young immigrant girl leaves her home in the Caribbean and is hired as a nanny for an American family.
QUICK REVIEW: I was most excited to read this book because it was also the shortest, but it was also the most boring. It’s all told from Lucy’s point of view and she narrates the ENTIRE story. There is barely any dialogue and that’s a problem for me because it makes her so incredibly unreliable, and not even the fun kind of unreliability. I didn’t like the writing, the wording, or Lucy. I read maybe 3 quarters before giving up and looking up a summary of the book.
TITLE: The Old Arcadia; Astrophil and Stella
AUTHOR: Sir Philip Sidney
SUMMARY: Philip Sidney writes about love and the crazy stuff it makes people do.
QUICK REVIEW: Personally I’d advised you to steer clear of renaissance prose, unless you like long running sentences and confusing archaic language. I’m not giving this a formal rating because I think it would be unfair of me because I hated it, but maybe if I had grown up in the upper class echelon of English Renaissance society I would have. But “alas” I am not. Instead, I am 21st century female college student who was forced to read his work.
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