Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn
Published by: One World Publications
Release Date: July 2019
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Publisher (Review Copy)
For Patsy, a visa to America is her ticket to freedom, a passport to the ‘land of opportunity’. She yearns to be reunited with Cicely, her oldest friend and secret lover, but her plans do not include her religious mother or even her young daughter, Tru. As Patsy struggles to survive as an undocumented migrant, Tru grapples with her own questions of identity and sexuality. Can she ever understand, or even forgive, her mother’s decision to leave?
Dancing between the jittery streets of New York and the languid rhythms of Jamaica, Patsy is the story of what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a woman and, ultimately, a survivor. A passionate, moving and fiercely urgent novel tracing threads of love that stretch across years and oceans.
It has taken me an obscene amount of time and belly aching to get to this review and I can only attribute it to being lazy af. Patsy on the other hand has a different set of problems.
Nicole Dennis-Benn in her second novel takes us through the stories of mother and daughter duo, Patsy and Tru, following the decision by mom to leave her daughter in the pursuit of love and greener pastures.
Spoiler Alert: There is no green in the other pasture.
This will come as no surprise to any one who enjoyed Here Comes The Sun. Nicole Dennis-Benn has a way of spinning painfully bleak stories that you can’t seem to stop reading. However, where Here Comes The Sun was crisp, snarky and derpressing, Patsy was slow and just depressing.
I found Tru’s coming of age to be fascinating in itself and I would have read a book with just her in it with no problem. Maybe I just detest Patsy, which is a good thing for NDB, right? She brought a self possessed, childish, insensitive and insufferable character to life beautifully.
Of course, as in HCTS, the characters are what makes Patsy tick. Every single one has a purpose and depth that I imagine is difficult to pull off and as this is a story of love, family, betrayal, prejudices and more, being able to empathize with the people makes it much more valuable.
Read it. It’s a long one and slow in places but as a whole is definitely worth your time and space in your mind.