Author: Jamaica Kincaid
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: YES
I have visited: NO
This is my 38th read for the year.
This was such a short little book, that I finished it in about 1 1/2 hours. I like squeezing in a really short one among the big ones that I have yet to come. Ticking another book off the very long list.
One of my favorite parts of this challenge is doing a search for the country's flag and map. It is interesting to see all the different flags (I might have to do a post in the end of just the flags). Some are really cool. I also like seeing exactly where some of the countries are located. I usually have a GENERAL idea, but pinpointing it exactly is half the fun.
This is the history of Antigua told from the author's point of view. She begins the book by talking about what a tourist will see when they come to Antigua, and the reality of the island itself. An island that is only 12 miles long and 9 miles wide, it is among the smallest in the Caribbean.
Hidden on this island (From the tourist unknowing eye) is a world of corruption and racism. She speaks of the history of the island (which belonged to England for a long time. Shocker) Slavery and Colonialism oppressed the citizen of Antigua and the negative effects of these are still visible today. While Antigua has its own government, the author states that political affiliations (for example - the exclusive use of expensive Japanese cars on the island) leads to continued abuse and suffering of the native people.
This book was very short but packed with a high level of how the author feels about the state of her country. She condemns the forces that shaped her homeland, and doesn't hold back. She blatenly lets the reader know how white colonization has essentially destroyed everything that was true and good about the island.
This is an interested read, and I cannot fault her point of view. I could never understand a person who is a native in a country because I would only have the opinion of an outsider. She did leave me feeling pretty guilty about what happened to the people of Antigua. It is one long attack on the past wrongs, and it became hard to not get muddled down by it all. HOWEVER - I will give her credit where credit is due for nicely wrapping it up in the end with the following last sentence:
"Of course, the whole thing is, once you cease to be a master, once you throw off your master's yoke, you are no longer human rubbish, you are just a human being, and all the things that adds up to. So, too, with the slaves. Once they are no longer slaves, once they are free, they are no longer noble and exalted; they are just human beings."*
Stars: 3 1/2