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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Island Girl's Coming of Age in the States
This classic, Kincaid's tale of a West Indian girl who comes to the States and becomes an au pair to a wealthy white couple, has been re-released. I first read this novel about ten years ago as my introduction to Kincaid's writing and was both intrigued and in awe of her language, themes, and symbolic language.
Until she was nineteen years old, Lucy Potter had not...
Published on October 21, 2002 by Dera R Williams

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 and a 1/2 stars
One thing you should know before picking up this book is that the main character, Lucy, is an extremely f**ked up kid who, overall, is wholly unlikeable. That being said however, the book does have its strong points. Lucy is a girl from the West Indies who comes to North America as an au pair. Her journey through the book not only shows us some of the prejudices she must...
Published on September 22, 2005 by Fitzgerald Fan


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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Island Girl's Coming of Age in the States, October 21, 2002
By 
Dera R Williams (Oakland, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lucy: A Novel (Paperback)
This classic, Kincaid's tale of a West Indian girl who comes to the States and becomes an au pair to a wealthy white couple, has been re-released. I first read this novel about ten years ago as my introduction to Kincaid's writing and was both intrigued and in awe of her language, themes, and symbolic language.
Until she was nineteen years old, Lucy Potter had not ventured from her own little world on the small island where she was born. Now she is living with a family and learning a culture that is very different from her own. Lewis and Mariah and their four daughters want Lucy to feel like she is part of the family but at first she finds it difficult to fit in. She just wants to do her duty and in her off-hours discovers a new world through her friend Peggy and sexuality through young men, Hugh and Paul.
Lucy often reflects on her life back on the island; the conflicts between she and her mother, and the British influence on the islanders. She remembers when she and her friends would read the Book of Revelations using the passages to terrify each other. She also remembers the time her mother showed her how to mix herbs that supposedly would cleanse a woman's womb but what they both knew was an abortion remedy. Lucy knows what is expected of her, to study for a respectable job like a nurse and to honor her family. She finds out that the tidy, neat world of the family she has come to love is not all it purports to be and how silence is a universal language.
Kincaid's language is outstanding in remembering her home; "the color of six o'clock in the evening" is just one example. It is well known that her writing draws from her life experiences as in The Autobiography of My Mother and My Brother and I look forward to her latest offering, Mr. Potter which is reportedly based on her father's life. Kincaid was my introduction to writers of Caribbean descent and remains one of the greats. I actual rating for this book is a 4.5.-----
Dera Williams
Apooo Bookclub
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply and Beautifully Rendered, April 27, 2000
This is a very simple story which starts off with several conventional plot twists but ends on a poignant, and somewhat surprising, note. However, by the novel's end, Lucy manages to captivate the reader, and the story somehow manages to resonate within the reader long after the novel has been finished. Kincaid tells Lucy's story eloquently and lyrically and convincingly draws out several themes which help to give the story breadth and depth. Dispossession and alienation from one's homeland and family, mother-daughter relationships, the middle class family, and Lucy's sexuality are only some of the themes that are explored in the novel. Lucy's voice is strong and individual, and she clearly emerges as a character of complexity and strength.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, Provocative, Thought-Provoking, and Angry, December 25, 1999
By A Customer
In a graceful and simplistic, yet deceptive, writing style, Caribbean author Jamaica Kincaid examines and scrutinizes the [white middle class] American way of life in LUCY. This novel is 164 pages of pure social commentary, whether it be of America or of Kincaid's native Antigua. Throughout her work, Kincaid confronts challenging issues related to mother-daughter relationships, marriage, puberty and sexuality, and love. This book was meant to be talked about.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 and a 1/2 stars, September 22, 2005
By 
Fitzgerald Fan (Troy, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Lucy: A Novel (Paperback)
One thing you should know before picking up this book is that the main character, Lucy, is an extremely f**ked up kid who, overall, is wholly unlikeable. That being said however, the book does have its strong points. Lucy is a girl from the West Indies who comes to North America as an au pair. Her journey through the book not only shows us some of the prejudices she must endure, but more ironically shows the extremes of her own prejudices.

I found a lot of the book to be seemingly hopeless and exasperating, but it is also an eye opener in the realm of the subjugated. There is also something of a ray of hope at the book's finish.

Lastly, this book is very much manifested from some of the author's own experiences as a native of Antigua and it would really do a reader good to read Jamaica Kincaid's easily readable yet extremely angry essay, "On Seeing England for the First Time," before delving into this book.

"Lucy" is short and worth the time it takes to finish as I believe the story is more defined by what is furtively omitted (yet alluded to) than what is actually displayed in black and white.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The price of freedom, June 16, 1999
By A Customer
Jamaica Kincaid has wonderfully portrayed the life of a young woman from the Caribbean who, in search of freedom, migrates to the U.S. Freedom comes with a price, though, and Lucy is paying it, as she fails to find the peace she hoped she would have gained.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple Yet Beautiful, July 20, 2010
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This review is from: Lucy: A Novel (Paperback)
The complex and seemingly sinister disposition of "Lucy", appropriately named as the feminine version of Lucifer, is told in a simplistically subtle beauty that was either appreciated or lost on the members of the Uptown Girls Harlem Book Club. The story is of a young Caribbean au pair who recounts her experiences of her native land as she makes a home for herself in a cold New York-like city. Through her eyes the reader watches the dissolution of a flimsy marriage whose end is solidified when the handsome cultivated husband licks the neck of his wife's best friend.

Lucy has a sour personality that is surpirsingly delicate. The issues of finding oneself, the relationships between mother and daughter, and the liberation, or lack thereof, of a young woman in the late 1960s is explored in a an unassuming wisdom that is quiet yet poignant. The book is short and makes for a quick read but the topics discussed are timely and easily filled, at least, an hour of our meeting.

The book is sexy. Despite the sexual exploits of Lucy with males and a female, the book lacks the vulgarity prevalent in popular fiction today. The author is almost surgical with vocabulary and punctuation usage which makes for a delightful read whose beauty is either noticed instantly or comes to fruition like a sunrise when the words are fully reflected upon.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply authentic, June 14, 1999
By A Customer
I'm from the Caribbean and it is ironic that I had never heard of Jamaica Kincaid until I was in college. For that particular class we studied an excerpt from Annie John called the Circling Hand. That book was so great I searched and found more books by Mrs. Kincaid. Lucy was next. I absolutly loved this book. The angst that Lucy felt is so familiar to young women who immigrate from one country to another. I could feel all of her resentment and rage, her joy and her hopes her fitting in and not fitting in. I laughed and cried when I read and reread this book. As a matter of fact I think I will reread it again...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply authentic, June 14, 1999
By A Customer
I'm from the Caribbean and it is ironic that I had never heard of Jamaica Kincaid until I was in college. For that particular class we studied an excerpt from Annie John called the Circling Hand. That book was so great I searched and found more books by Mrs. Kincaid. Lucy was next. I absolutly loved this book. The angst that Lucy felt is so familiar to young women who immigrate from one country to another. I could feel all of her resentment and rage, her joy and her hopes her fitting in and not fitting in. I laughed and cried when I read and reread this book. As a matter of fact I think I will reread it again...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surfaces, May 10, 2002
By A Customer
Lucy is a well written book about a young girl coming of age, separated from her home and all that is familiar to her. The book deals with issues like displacement, sex, mothers, and rage. I was tempted to dismiss this book as pointless after reading it for the first time, but something about this book stayed with me. Like the ocean Lucy lived by and the Great Lake she visits, there is more to this book than just the waves on the surface. I recommend reading this book more than once and delving deeper than the first layer, you won't be disappointed.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Realistic, authentic, at first not read voluntarily, June 20, 2001
We were asked to read this book in our English course. If we had read it out of our own motivation we would have probably all liked it, since it deals with issues that are interesting and important for teenagers. The novel is about a 19 year old girl who emigrates from the Caribbean to New York to work as an au pair. There she is faced with a totally different culture and environment. Her long immigrant journey is presented in a precise, passionate and honest writing style. We think that it is recommendable for schools to give pupils of our age an insight into the thoughts and feelings of a girl who decides to leave her home country to start a new life in a new world.
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Lucy: A Novel
Lucy: A Novel by Jamaica Kincaid (Paperback - September 4, 2002)
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