Patsy

A Novel
Narrated by: Sharon Gordon
Length: 17 hrs and 10 mins
Categories: Fiction, African-American
4 out of 5 stars (237 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When Patsy gets her long-coveted visa to America, it comes after years of yearning to leave Pennyfield, the beautiful but impoverished Jamaican town where she was raised. More than anything, Patsy wishes to be reunited with her oldest friend, Cicely, whose letters arrive from New York steeped in the promise of a happier life and the possible rekindling of their young love. But Patsy's plans don't include her overzealous, evangelical mother - or even her five-year-old daughter, Tru.

Beating with the pulse of a long-withheld confession, Patsy gives voice to a woman who looks to America for the opportunity to choose herself first - not to give a better life to her family back home. Patsy leaves Tru behind in a defiant act of self-preservation, hoping for a new start. But when Patsy arrives in Brooklyn, America is not as Cicely's treasured letters described; to survive as an undocumented immigrant, she is forced to work as a bathroom attendant and nanny. Meanwhile, Tru builds a faltering relationship with her father back in Jamaica, grappling with her own questions of identity and sexuality.

Expertly evoking the jittery streets of New York and the languid rhythms of Jamaica, Patsy weaves between the lives of Patsy and Tru in vignettes spanning more than a decade as mother and daughter ultimately find a way back to one another.

©2019 Nicole Dennis-Benn (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"It's tough to imagine anyone other than Sharon Gordon narrating this culture-rich novel about a Jamaican immigrant living in New York City. Gordon's portrayal of a variety of Jamaican voices - from softly melodic Jamaican-American dialect to hearty Kingston street patois - keeps this performance soaring despite the hardships of the characters." (AudioFile Magazine)

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

If heroes are required... Avoid!

My excitement about this book dimmed as I got to know the characters. I was prepared for an immigration story -- the push and pull of characters between home and the world of one's dreams, between old and new intimacies, and between the truths of the past and the lies of one's present and future. And I got plenty of this even as I became more and more irritated with the characters that journeyed through these conflicts. The author spends most time on the minds, hearts, and challenges of a decidedly feminine space since the title character is a Jamaican lesbian who leaves her mother and gender non-conforming daughter for the US to find and reunite with the best-friend-turned-romantic-interest of her primary school days. The story alternates between recounting Patsy's experiences in the US and her daughter's life growing up with her father, stepmother, and half-brothers in Jamaica. While I can appreciate the author's attempt to people a story with a cast of characters both black and queer, these two (and most of those they interact with are either black or queer or both) are hardly sympathetic. Meanness, selfishness, and self-hatred abound with little to mitigate these characterizations save perhaps naivete, poverty, and powerlessness. To be sure, the worlds and the journeys were interesting and guide the reader to ask important questions about whether and what good things can emerge from problematic systems and circumstances. But the plot and settings were ultimately rendered much better than the characters, and this mismatch makes for a caricatured and less believable story -- a flawed reflection of the lives lived by people in some woefully underrepresented categories in our literary landscape.

59 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A thorough audiobook

I appreciated Sharon Gordon’s reading that took me back to my childhood listening to my Jamaican parents in my home. It was enthralling and unforgettable, the most colorful and vivid experience I had listening to an audiobook. Sharon read the patois in an incredibly vivid way. The patois was written by Nicole Dennis-Benn in an incredibly descriptive way. I highly recommend listening to this audiobook. -RF.

11 people found this helpful

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Meh!

First off, the book was long. I don’t mind a long book as long as it keeps moving and at the end of a long long story, all the loose ends are tied up, all the characters are fully developed and the ending is satisfying. This book just fell flat! To many things were just tossed into the book and just left there leaving you wondering, hmmm I wonder why he was j traduces, I wonder what ever happened to him/her. And the ending was just like this really weird leap to “and they all lived happily ever after” like the published said ok look you’ve got 5 minutes to wrap this whole book up. It was pretty bad. And the narrator though for the most part did an awesome accent, parts were either poorly read or poorly edited and those parts (and there were many) were very distracting. It was as if she was stumbling over words or she forgot to kick in the Jamaica accent or a mix of both but it bad. This book was recommended to me by a friend which is why I read it but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone I know, it was just poorly written and poorly performed.

10 people found this helpful

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Summary

I really strughled to finisg this book. The narrator was very flat and boring. I liked the concept of the story but in many places it fell short.

7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Unlistenable

I loved Nicole Dennis-Benn's first book, Here Comes the Sun, which had an excellent narrator. Unfortunately Sharon Gordon's narration caused me to flee from the book after 5 hours. I just couldn't take it any more. She had such a gaspy/raspy voice, as though she was running out of oxygen, and such a strange cadence in which she paused after every phrase in a sentence, which often meant 3-6 pauses per sentence. This created a jerky, interrupted flow, slowed the pace of listening to a crawl, and distracted me from the storyline so much I finally couldn't take it any more. It irked me a lot to have to abandon this book due to bad narration. I'm really disappointed because I'm curious where Nicole Dennis-Benn will take the story. I will have to finish in hard copy. Sometimes I really wonder who makes these choices of narrator. Do they actually listen to the person reading a book before they select them? Did someone listen to Sharon Gordon and say, "Oh, that makes for a great listen"? Astonishing and disappointing.



7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love and time runs a long race...

This is a beautifully written novel by Nicole Dennis-Benn and narrated into life like a Reggae beat by the talented Sharon Gordon. You will be intrigued by relationships between Patsy, her mother, step-father, daughter Tru, her lovers and friends that are as complex as the explosion of fruit flavors folded into the traditional rum and wine-soaked Jamaican wedding cake.

Patsy’s well-planned escape from a life of altered dreams in Jamaica to the promise land of America is as fulfilling as fools’ gold unlike this novel. Patsy’s sacrifices, love delayed, unrecovered time, and aspirations worn down like the hibiscus’ shedding petals crushed underfoot like her ambition will capture your imagination as you root for some measure of happiness for her.

Writer, Ms. Dennis-Benn captures the rhythm of Jamaican life and a slice of its culture for this struggling young mother and shines a bright light on the common sacrifices of immigrants irregardless of class, faith, ambition and place of birth. This story will carry you along a Caribbean wave of emotions from sadness, frustration to sheer joy as Ms. Gordon’s narration weaves you through decades of lyrical and sometimes dark passages of Patsy and Tru’s lives that exhilarates and then leaves you wanting more. Bravissimo!!

7 people found this helpful

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Amazingly written

Topics like Queerness, being undocumented in America, colorism and love had me at a loss for words for the entirety of the listen. Wow, AMAZING! I ended up buying a physical copy of the book after listening to it on Audible.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Pasty is a page turner!

After listening to this novel, I can only think about how to bring this story to the silver screen. Dennis-Benn spins a beautiful story of a troubled family who overcomes generational curse of mental instability and emotionally imbalanced mothers who either ran from their truths or hid behind their guilt of failing to love the gift of a girl child. This book is about acceptance as it shines a light on the truths of immigration and the harsh reality of life in the great USA for some, but it also shines a light on broken dreams, broken friendshios, and how one's selfishness can destroy the lives of those who love and trust one the most. Great ending to an almost tragic story. The narrator is great. I couldn't stop listening. Highly recommend this one.

3 people found this helpful

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good book

Interesting book not what I was going to be about but a very good book. its a look at someone life and what can happen when you make changes to your life.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A true Jamaican tale

Loved it! The story lines, the characters, the joy and triumphs... can't wait until the next one.

3 people found this helpful