essays

READ THE WORLD – Antigua and Barbuda: A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid

Narrated by Robin Miles.

An essay drawing on Kincaid’s experiences of growing up in Antigua and how the Antigua tourists may see is vastly different to the one Antiguan’s live in.

A Small Place is a piece of creative non-fiction. Jamaica Kincaid refers to the reader as if they were a tourist visiting the island, describing what they may see, what they think of the beautiful beaches, the food, and the people. But soon after describing how wonderful everything can look to a tourist, a little bit of paradise, she goes onto talk about the parts of Antigua that a tourist wouldn’t notice or understand. The corruption, the dilapidated schools and hospitals, the places that the Black Antiguans are not allowed. The club houses, the government buildings, certain beaches. She delves into the history of Antigua and how the British shaped the island and the long-lasting impact of colonisation.

I think having an essay that’s full of dark humour as well as hard-hitting truth’s that are full of anger, is a really effective way to describe what a country and its people are like, and how slavery, segregation, and now tourism can affect them. It makes this place, this ten-by-twelve-mile island, and its history easy to understand and it also makes you think. Especially as it goes into the effects of tourism on the country, how there are certain things tourists are blind to like political corruption and how people’s homes and communities are not at all like the fancy hotels a tourist may stay in.

A Small Place also has autobiographical elements of Jamaica Kincaid’s childhood. She recounts the experience of having an Irish schoolteacher, the casual racism she and her classmates experienced without being able to put the word “racism” towards it as European rule or influence had been so prevalent on the island.

A Small Place was written in 1988 so things may have changed a bit for Antiguans over the past thirty years but then again, it may have not with the prevalence of racism and corruption in the world. A Small Place is a great insight into how colonialism can affect such a small nation and how tourism can be just as harmful when the best land and the most money goes towards tourism-related endeavours rather than the communities. 4/5.

REVIEW: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

FullSizeRender (68)Bad Feminist is a collection of essays that not only cover intersectional feminism but race, gender, politics, sexuality and representation of women and people of colour in the media.

I loved this book, like, a ridiculous amount. I loved that it covered a range of topics related to women and feminism. I liked that there were sections where Roxane Gay talked about her life and how that has shaped her ideas on feminism and influenced her. I really liked the section on Race and Entertainment as representation of women and people of colour in the media is something I’m really passionate about – even if it’s something that can often make me angry.

My favourite essays were the ones that hit me like a punch in the gut, that could have been because it was so relatable or so frustrating or just so well thought out that Gay had put my scattered thoughts into a cohesive essay that explained how I feel about the world and women’s place in it.

Here’s some of essays that I really loved are:
– How to Be Friends with Another Woman
– The Careless Language of Sexual Violence
– Blurred Lines, Indeed
– The Last Day of a Young Black Man
– When Twitter Does What Journalism Cannot
– The Racism We All Carry

There were some essays that I didn’t like as much or couldn’t really relate to for whatever reason but they were still very interesting to see someone else’s point of view regarding feminism.

I can’t recommend Bad Feminist enough – whether you consider yourself a feminist or not, it’s a fascinating read and can open your eyes to the way the world works. 5/5.