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stephaniespines

Stephanie Spines

I like dem pages. Find me youtubin' http://www.youtube.com/user/stephandtimread

Brown Girl in the Ring

Brown Girl in the Ring - Nalo Hopkinson Brown Girl in the Ring is set in a future dystopian Toronto, where the wealthy have fled to the suburbs following a large-scale economic collapse fuelled by failed negotiations with local First Nations communities. Infused with magical realism, it follows Ti-Jeanne as she reconnects with her Caribbean culture, largely via her grandmother, Gros-Jeane (who is, as one may call her, an obeah woman) to take down a local gang lord, Rudy.At first, I really connected with Ti-Jeanne, a single mother with a young baby. I thought she was strong and flawed and thus, quite human. I connected very much to the dialect, being Caribbean-Canadian myself. The setting was also great, as a current Torontonian. I was able to picture the ruins of the places that Ti-Jeanne visited and actually that made it quite scary! Plot-wise, it was quite gritty and intense at some points. particularly Gros-Jeanne's brutal murder. Speaking of which, my main issue with the plot was how Ti-Jeanne forgives Tony in the end. Am I supposed to interpret that as strong and diplomatic? Because I interpreted it as stupid and unrealistic. If my baby's father smashed my grandmother's head in with a hammer, no matter WHAT the motive, I think I might have to kill him myself. I thought it was absurd that Ti-Jeanne forgave him. I thought the writing was quite disjointed and at times difficult to follow. I struggled through some of it, but where this novel fails in prose, it definitely makes up for in cultural authenticity. I cannot praise this book enough for its references to Caribbean folklore and myth, as well as things like obeah. It was an enlightening experience to read in this sense, particularly for me, a Caribbean-descended woman living in Toronto. Further, we could spend some time interrogating and unpacking what it means for these Caribbean cultural references to have permeated a largely white-, male-dominated genre and industry and how powerful an act of resistance has been created in this work. But I'll save that for an essay.Brilliant.