Kara Davis is a girl caught in the middle — of her Canadian nationality and her desire to be a “true” Jamaican, of her mother and grandmother’s rages and life lessons, of having to avoid being thought of as too “faas” or too “quiet” or too “bold” or too “soft.” Set in “Little Jamaica,” Toronto’s Eglinton West neighbourhood,
Kara moves from girlhood to the threshold of adulthood, from elementary school to high school graduation, in these twelve interconnected stories. We see her on a visit to Jamaica, startled by the sight of a severed pig’s head in her great aunt’s freezer; in junior high, the victim of a devastating prank by her closest friends; and as a teenager in and out of her grandmother’s house, trying to cope with the ongoing battles between her unyielding grandparents.- Goodreads
There are books that have a very clear audience and then there are books that do not. This book has a clear audience and I was not the intended audience.
Frying Plantains is a well written, detailed book that is narrated by Kara. I don’t say that the book is about her because it is and then it isn’t. The book focuses on her, her mother and then her grandmother. What ties these stories together is Kara and her growing up but it doesn’t exactly give you a focus on the main picture or point of the novel.
What I mean is Kara’s mother doesn’t have the best relationship with not only Kara but with her mother. You can see from the point of contact that Kara’s mother is trying to make it being a single mother but cannot get past her attitude and in general the chip on her shoulder. This affects her relationship with Kara because she is extremely hard on her.
You can see where she gets this from when you met Kara’s grandmother. However, she isn’t as hard as you think and that is more than likely due to her losing steam. But I slightly digress with my point.
This book gives you a look into the life of a young Canadian/Jamaican girl, who initially you believe is trying to balance being “true” Jamaican. This is the point you start off with but it is quickly lost as Kara gets older. You begin to wonder what is the point of the book? Is it meant to just show a life of a young Canadian/Jamaican girl, is it suppose to show the dynamics of family in the United States or is it just to show you that what you think you know, you really don’t?
When I mentioned earlier that this book was intended for a specific audience, nothing in me believes its audience is for Black women but for other women who may not have had to deal with specific expectations from their family, dealing with the past mistakes of the women in their family and having to grow on your own in all of that.
The fact that Kara is Jamaican plays a background part into this story. It pushes the story to remind you the struggles of an immigrant parent and how they raise their child(children).
Its a good solid story. A good book to read in between books. Its colorful, detailed without being boring and I can see, without a doubt, this book winning some awards.
I recommend reading this book because it provides a different outlook that most people do not even consider or see.