Annie John (1985)

“PARADISE WITH SNAKE” (The New York Times)

Author, Susan Kenney, reviews Jamaica Kincaid’s, Annie John on April 7, 1985 in the New York Times. She explores Kincaid’s fascination with the complex relationship between mothers and daughters. However, she centers her review around this quote: “It was in such a paradise that I lived” and expanded on how though we sometimes live in “paradise”, there will still be snakes.

“A new life for Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Annie John'” (The Los Angeles Times)

Book editor, Carolyn Kellogg, wrote about Annie John winning the Clifton Fadiman Medal from the The Center for Fiction, on March 25, 2010. She referenced her colleague, Los Angeles Times book columnist, Elaine Kendall, who said “So neon-bright that the traditional story of a young girl’s passage into adolescence takes on a shimmering strangeness.”


Coco Caribe is a blog that promotes Caribbean culture and on March 16, 2014, the blog reviewed Annie John. They specifically explored the book and how it aligns with the Bildungsroman genre, which is “a type of novel concerned with the education, development, and maturing of a young protagonist”. Although, Bildungsroman is normally associated with European literacy with a white male protagonist, Coco Caribe believes that Annie John is a revision of the genre because “it is still a story that closely follows protagonist’s psychological and intellectual maturity and is anchored within European literary tradition, but Kincaid’s novel differs in terms of adding a new dimension: the main protagonist is female, black and living in a colonial country”.

“Jamaica Kincaid and Annie John: A Childhood Cut Short”  (Literary Traveler Review)

On September 20, 2006, Jennifer Ciotta blogged about her 1999 trip to the West Indies. During that time, she was introduced to West Indian writers, specifically Jamaica Kincaid. As she touched on Annie John, she compared Kincaid’s life to the main character’s, as well as she “tests the limits on ‘goodness'”.

“From Longing to Loss: Mother-Daughter Relationships in the Novels of Jamaica Kincaid”  (Florida State University)

In 2008, Shannon E. Seanor crafted a study based on her novels, where she talks about how Kincaid gives a powerful voice to women, especially Annie John. However, she also discusses how she explores slavery and colonialism and how they affected West Indian women.

“Obvious and Ordinary: Desire between Girls in Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John” (John Hopkins University)

In 2004, Keja Valens sparked a discussion based on how the female narrator announces her love for girls throughout the novel. Of course by mentioning that the novel is a “coming-of-age” story, she sounds like many other reviews. However, by tackling the story from the narrator’s sexuality, she sets her discussion a part from the others.

“Contextualizing Subjectivity: Speaking (Back to) Colonialism in Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John, Lucy, and A Small Place” (Grand Valley State University) also touches on Lucy and A Small Place

In Sierra Holmes’ thesis (May 2014), she tackles how the female characters struggle to find their senses of self in Jamaica Kincaid’s novels.  In Annie John, Holmes sees how the narrator desires to find herself, but is attached to her mother so much, that it’s nearly impossible to do so.

Lucy (1990)

“Girl-Child in a Foreign Land”  (The New York Times)

Poet Thulani Davis, reviewed Lucy on October 28, 1990. She gives covers Lucy’s desire to leave her home of Antigua, only to discover that life away from home isn’t that great. However, Davis concludes that though Lucy is a great novel, with loads of descriptive language, it is still very scattered and a little confusing.

“Third-World Person Singular : LUCY By Jamaica Kincaid”  (The Los Angeles Times)

On October 21, 1990, Richard Deder believes that Lucy is very transparent and very angry. He explores Lucy’s anger, but makes a point to compare Lucy to a Third World country, because after she leaves her home of Antigua, she becomes linked to a woman named Mariah in New York, who she somehow gets tricked into slaving for.

The Autobiography of my Mother (1995)

“A World as Cruel as Job’s”  (The New York Times)

On February 4, 1996, Cathleen Schine reviewed this novel, praising it for being “elegantly and delicately composed”. Schine explains that though the main character doesn’t have that connection to her mother, their relationship is still so important to the story.

“Sculpted From Fire : THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MY MOTHER, By Jamaica Kincaid”  (The Los Angeles Times)

On January 14, 1996, Richard Eder utilizes the irony that this story is told at the end of the main character’s life and is the autobiography of her mother, who died when she was born. He also calls the novel a “beautiful” and “harsh” story to read and write about.

“Dwight Garner reviews Jamaica Kincaid’s book “The Autobiography of My Mother””  ( 

On January 13, 1996, journalist Dwight Garner reviews the novel, prior to an interview he conducted with Jamaica Kincaid. Calling this book Kincaid’s “most accomplished yet”, he makes the connection that the main character Xuela Richardson, may have been based off of Kincaid’s own life.

Mr. Potter (2003)

“Maya Jaggi follows an unresolved foray into past lives in Mr Potter by Jamaica Kincaid” (The Guardian)

The Guardian’s literary critic, Maya Jaggi, reviewed this work on August 2, 2002. She points out that while most of Kincaid’s works discuss mother-daughter relationships, Mr. Potter focuses on the “spectre” of an absent father, showcasing an “emotional truth” and leading readers to think that this book also mirrors Kincaid’s personal life.

See Now Then (2013)

“Jamaica Kincaid talks about ‘See Now Then'” – (Chicago Tribune)

Chicago Tribune’s Kevin Vance covered Kincaid’s See Now Then on February 16, 2013. Vance believes that under the surface, this book focuses on the aspect of time, as one of its characters says, “the seeing of Now being Then and how Then becomes Now”.


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