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From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her Island

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"Throughout her life my mother [Doris] lived in two places at once: Kingston, Jamaica, where she raised a family of nine children, and Harvey River, in the parish of Hanover, where she was born and grew up." In the tradition of Michael Ondaatje's Running in the Family and Carlos Eire's Waiting for Snow in Havana comes Lorna Goodison's luminous memoir of her forebears—From H "Throughout her life my mother [Doris] lived in two places at once: Kingston, Jamaica, where she raised a family of nine children, and Harvey River, in the parish of Hanover, where she was born and grew up." In the tradition of Michael Ondaatje's Running in the Family and Carlos Eire's Waiting for Snow in Havana comes Lorna Goodison's luminous memoir of her forebears—From Harvey River. When Doris' English grandfather, William Harvey, discovers a clearing at the end of a path cut by the feet of those running from slavery, he gives his name to what will become his family's home for generations. For Doris, Harvey River is the place she always called home, the place where she was one of the "fabulous Harvey girls" and where the rich local bounty of the land went hand in hand with the Victorian niceties and comforts of her parents' house. It is a place she will return to in dreams when her fortunes change, years later, and she and her husband, Marcus Goodison, relocate to "hard life" Kingston and encounter the harsh realities of urban living in close quarters as they raise their family of nine children. In lush prose, Lorna Goodison weaves memory and island lore to create a vivid, universally appealing tapestry.


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"Throughout her life my mother [Doris] lived in two places at once: Kingston, Jamaica, where she raised a family of nine children, and Harvey River, in the parish of Hanover, where she was born and grew up." In the tradition of Michael Ondaatje's Running in the Family and Carlos Eire's Waiting for Snow in Havana comes Lorna Goodison's luminous memoir of her forebears—From H "Throughout her life my mother [Doris] lived in two places at once: Kingston, Jamaica, where she raised a family of nine children, and Harvey River, in the parish of Hanover, where she was born and grew up." In the tradition of Michael Ondaatje's Running in the Family and Carlos Eire's Waiting for Snow in Havana comes Lorna Goodison's luminous memoir of her forebears—From Harvey River. When Doris' English grandfather, William Harvey, discovers a clearing at the end of a path cut by the feet of those running from slavery, he gives his name to what will become his family's home for generations. For Doris, Harvey River is the place she always called home, the place where she was one of the "fabulous Harvey girls" and where the rich local bounty of the land went hand in hand with the Victorian niceties and comforts of her parents' house. It is a place she will return to in dreams when her fortunes change, years later, and she and her husband, Marcus Goodison, relocate to "hard life" Kingston and encounter the harsh realities of urban living in close quarters as they raise their family of nine children. In lush prose, Lorna Goodison weaves memory and island lore to create a vivid, universally appealing tapestry.

58 review for From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her Island

  1. 5 out of 5

    BookOfCinz

    Beautiful, utterly beautiful… a memoir from a daughter about her mother…. The BEAUTY! A sweeping memoir set in Jamaica starting from the 1890s to the 1950s with Lorna’s mother Doris Goodison being the center. This book is packed with history of fascinating tidbits about Jamaica, in writing about her mother, Lorna Goodison takes us in what is was like living in Jamaica during that particular time period and she did it so seamlessly. This is a beautiful memoir that I highly recommend to Jamaicans Beautiful, utterly beautiful… a memoir from a daughter about her mother…. The BEAUTY! A sweeping memoir set in Jamaica starting from the 1890s to the 1950s with Lorna’s mother Doris Goodison being the center. This book is packed with history of fascinating tidbits about Jamaica, in writing about her mother, Lorna Goodison takes us in what is was like living in Jamaica during that particular time period and she did it so seamlessly. This is a beautiful memoir that I highly recommend to Jamaicans or anyone who loves history and strong females. From Harvey River: A Memoir of my Mother and Her Island we are introduced to the Harvey family, how they came to settle in Hanover and develop an entire community around the Harvey River. Lorna introduces us to her Great Grandparents, Grandparents, and every other family member who came from English, African and Irish heritage. We meet Margret and David and their offspring who included Doris who is Lorna’s mother. Lorna writes about her mother meeting her father, moving from her childhood home of Lucea to St. Elizabeth, then to Kingston. We see how her life changes with each move and what it means to raise a family in Kingston through sheer grit. I know I keep using the word Beautiful to describe this book but that is exactly the feeling I got when I read this book. It was pure, it was joyous and truly an ode to Jamaica, a Jamaican family and daughter honoring her mother. The book was so easy to read because of the writing, Lorna totally immerses you into the Harvey/Goodison history to the point where you felt like you knew each of them individually. There are so many greatness contained in this, there is the history of Jamaica- we learn so much about what is happening at each time period. From the Morant Bay uprising, to the abolition of Slavery, the change in rule, there is so much social commentary that shows us the thinking at that time. There such atheneite and simplicity in how the family was depicted. I particularly loved the depiction of a family from the country because I am from the “country” part of Jamaica and a lot of what the Harvey clan went through felt so familiar. I loved how Goodison wrote about the community the family finds themselves surrounded by. What some family member faced when migrating. Themes such as love, grief, loss, religion, migration, family and hardships are explored in such depth. I do not know how Goodison is able to convey so much in so little space. I could gush and go on and on about this book, I wish more people would read this masterpiece. What a beautiful memoir!

  2. 5 out of 5

    James F

    The current read for the World Literature Group on Goodreads, Lorna Goodison represents the "middle generation" between Claude McKay (whom she read in school as a "classic") and the more recent Jamaican writers we have been reading for the group (such as Kei Miller and Margaret Cezair-Thompson); she is a poet and story writer who now teaches in Ann-Arbor (unless she has retired or died in the last ten years). To make a more personal connection, she was born about midway between my parents and my The current read for the World Literature Group on Goodreads, Lorna Goodison represents the "middle generation" between Claude McKay (whom she read in school as a "classic") and the more recent Jamaican writers we have been reading for the group (such as Kei Miller and Margaret Cezair-Thompson); she is a poet and story writer who now teaches in Ann-Arbor (unless she has retired or died in the last ten years). To make a more personal connection, she was born about midway between my parents and myself, and her mother was almost exactly contemporary with my maternal grandmother. I read one of her poetry collections earlier, and will be reading a collection of her short stories next. The subtitle is somewhat misleading, as the book deals with her entire family, and is almost more about her grandmother Margaret and her many aunts and uncles than about her own parents (her mother was one of eight children, and the author has eight siblings of her own). This is a Jamaica which is poor but less violent than the Jamaica of Cezair-Thompson and Marlon James, perhaps because much of the book takes place in Harvey River, a rural area where the Harveys (her mother's family) are the original founders, although the later chapters move to Kingston; perhaps because she moved to the continent (New York, Michigan and Toronto) about a decade before the violent period described by those authors. As with her poetry, it is less political and more personal than the other Jamaican writers I have read. The book is largely about people, and she brings them to life, not only the family members but even those neighbors and others who only feature in one or two paragraphs; the style is more like fiction than I expected in a memoir (and she admits to have adjusted some details, especially of chronology, for the sake of the narrative.)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Missy J

    A wonderful family memoir of a Jamaican family in the late 19th to early 20th century. The third Jamaican author my book club is reading during this year's Jamaican literary journey. The setting of her story is radically different from the Jamaicas we have encountered in Kei Miller's and Margaret Cezair-Thompson's work. Goodison's Jamaica is calm, quiet, pastoral and remarkably non-violent. She traces her mother's side of the family, focusing closely on the lives of her strong and strict grandmo A wonderful family memoir of a Jamaican family in the late 19th to early 20th century. The third Jamaican author my book club is reading during this year's Jamaican literary journey. The setting of her story is radically different from the Jamaicas we have encountered in Kei Miller's and Margaret Cezair-Thompson's work. Goodison's Jamaica is calm, quiet, pastoral and remarkably non-violent. She traces her mother's side of the family, focusing closely on the lives of her strong and strict grandmother Margaret and her strict and loving mother Doris. This memoir felt like stories told amongst relatives over a long family meal. At times it was heart-warming and funny. Sometimes boring and slow-going. But in general, it felt like oral history. So, I'm glad to have read this work in order to get a different perspective of Jamaica. Goodison's prose is clear and evocative. She is very good in bringing the old Jamaica back to life. She mentions songs people listened to back then, habits and the way of life before urbanization and the inevitable, gradual changes that occur in any society. Goodison's description of the relationship between colonial Jamaica and the colonizer Britain was very interesting and went beyond the usual, cold and simple narrative of economic colonization. She evoked a time when Britain was still referred to as the "motherland." By the end of the book, I didn't want the memoir to end, because I felt so attached and close to the characters. Definitely a very nostalgic story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    Read this book to "absorb" Jamaican culture, with a little history thrown in. The author gives us an amazingly honest appraisal of her family (not only her mother, but also siblings and aunts and uncles and grandparents) and their relationships to each other. It is amazingly true that each one of us has a character that is unmistakable. One is happy-go-lucky, another is dour. You look at all these people from the same family and each one has a particular essence. There is no way you can mix up o Read this book to "absorb" Jamaican culture, with a little history thrown in. The author gives us an amazingly honest appraisal of her family (not only her mother, but also siblings and aunts and uncles and grandparents) and their relationships to each other. It is amazingly true that each one of us has a character that is unmistakable. One is happy-go-lucky, another is dour. You look at all these people from the same family and each one has a particular essence. There is no way you can mix up one with the other. I liked the honesty of the book, the honesty with which the relationships are depicted. Don't you sometimes wonder what one's own essence would be if it were to be summarized in a book? How would I be described? I found the Jamaican dialect, untranslated in this book, confusing, even if it does promote the ambiance of the time and place. There are great black and white photos.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Surabhi Chatrapathy

    From Harvey River by Lorna Goodison is a memoir of her mother and her island. The author through her maternal family's story brings to you pre-independence life in Jamaica. She beautifully brings the food, the landscape, the language and the culture into the story. She shows the country life, the town life and the hard city life. She introduces us to all different ethnicities living in the island as a result of colonialism. Native Indians, Africans, English and Indians. Her family belonging to t From Harvey River by Lorna Goodison is a memoir of her mother and her island. The author through her maternal family's story brings to you pre-independence life in Jamaica. She beautifully brings the food, the landscape, the language and the culture into the story. She shows the country life, the town life and the hard city life. She introduces us to all different ethnicities living in the island as a result of colonialism. Native Indians, Africans, English and Indians. Her family belonging to the upper class of society, see both the luxuries of mingling and marrying European men. But also the downfall that came with the war and above all of not being considered English enough. The book is a light, heartwarming read. I like how she brings in the history of the place, the art, architecture and literature, while narrating her mother's life.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    This book was a much-needed homecoming.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kiki

    Another 4.5er. This didn't feel like a read but a sail. 100 pages went by in 15 minutes. Heart full. Update: December 26, 2019. To read this is to savour sweetness beyond compare: a book that will go down your throat smooth and sweet as honey and make your heart full. 'From Harvey River' spans 3 generations of a Jamaican family from the late 19th to the late 20th c. The first half focuses on Goodison's grandmother Margaret, her husband--both the offspring of interracial couples--and their 7 childr Another 4.5er. This didn't feel like a read but a sail. 100 pages went by in 15 minutes. Heart full. Update: December 26, 2019. To read this is to savour sweetness beyond compare: a book that will go down your throat smooth and sweet as honey and make your heart full. 'From Harvey River' spans 3 generations of a Jamaican family from the late 19th to the late 20th c. The first half focuses on Goodison's grandmother Margaret, her husband--both the offspring of interracial couples--and their 7 children in Hanover. The second half centres her mother Doris, her parents' marriage, and their move from the plentiful countryside to "Hard Life" in Kingston, the nation's capital. I'm not a memoir reader but I have a special relationship with Goodison's poetry. While another writer's move into memoirs would have made me curl my lips, I inwardly shrieked when I saw this book on the nonfiction shelf. For the few days I sailed through this read--the 1st time years ago, the 2nd in February--I wore a silly grin the entire time. Goodison's Jamaican English is simply the prettiest I have ever seen: lyrical, light, buoyant, playful. It's strange but it almost didn't feel like reading, as though she had skipped a step in the process to conjure the words directly into my neural pleasure network. To know this family is to know Jamaica. At least, a facet of Jamaican life at a particular time in the smallest island parish, Hanover. Goodison pairs family history with relevant research to reveal home, parts known and parts previously hidden behind a mist. You will not step a foot in this book's land without deft delineations of the people's history and culture palpable in every aspect of everyday life. This is a different Jamaica than what you may have read in more popular novels but it is one of our truths, lovingly elucidated. (This includes Goodison's less than respectful/understanding portrayal of Rastafari, a far more common attitude in Jamaica than outsiders would first assume.)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    The book traces the fall of one family from a life of abundance in rural Hanover, Jamaica to a "hard-life" in Kingston, Jamaica in the mid 1900s. Lovers of Goodison's poetry will be interested to see that she weaves lines from past-published poems throughout the narrative. Particularly interesting from a historical point of view, Goodison traces her family tree as far back as her Great Great Grandparents, who on both the maternal and paternal sides of the family were pairs between black Jamaican The book traces the fall of one family from a life of abundance in rural Hanover, Jamaica to a "hard-life" in Kingston, Jamaica in the mid 1900s. Lovers of Goodison's poetry will be interested to see that she weaves lines from past-published poems throughout the narrative. Particularly interesting from a historical point of view, Goodison traces her family tree as far back as her Great Great Grandparents, who on both the maternal and paternal sides of the family were pairs between black Jamaican women descended from enslaved Africans and white European men visiting the island in the height of British colonialism. The book lends insight to the complex racial history of many families in Jamaica and illustrates chilling memories of pre-emancipation Jamaica. Also very interesting, by the time the family moves to Kingston Goodison is able to catelogue Independence and pre-Independence as well as the intellectual/political revolution which led to full adult sufferage and the emergence of a black empowerment movement (Marcus Garvey) and Rastafari. These historical anecdotes are, however, minor in comparison with the main focus of the memoir, which is on the lives and experiences of Goodison's family members.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    A fictionalized memoir of Lorna Goodison's mother Doris as well as Doris's siblings and descendants from the family tree of the Harveys and Wilsons in Jamaica, at least back to the great-grandparents of the early nineteenth century. There are photographs of Doris, Doris's mother and father, and Doris's sisters known as 'The Fabulous Harvey Girls'. Among the highlights are distinctive characterizations through detailed stories about the characters, the social context in which the ups and downs ar A fictionalized memoir of Lorna Goodison's mother Doris as well as Doris's siblings and descendants from the family tree of the Harveys and Wilsons in Jamaica, at least back to the great-grandparents of the early nineteenth century. There are photographs of Doris, Doris's mother and father, and Doris's sisters known as 'The Fabulous Harvey Girls'. Among the highlights are distinctive characterizations through detailed stories about the characters, the social context in which the ups and downs are lived, the inward and outward responses to those changes of fortune, the nurturing environment of foods, childrearing, luxuriant nature, rural bountifulness, adolescent social life, &c. Besides recreating her family's lives and surroundings and bringing her imagination into play to do so, Goodison sometimes transcends the worldly into disembodied dreams about her ancestors.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

    Delicious. I have often said that prose can't carry a novel, and that's true--without something to say, prose is just words. This novelised memoir, however, is fascinating both due to its subject matter and the writer's prose. I devoured it in less than 48 hours, swept along by the strong characterisation and hypnotic, lyrical writing. After several less than felicitous reading choices over the past month or two, this was just what I needed. Delicious. I have often said that prose can't carry a novel, and that's true--without something to say, prose is just words. This novelised memoir, however, is fascinating both due to its subject matter and the writer's prose. I devoured it in less than 48 hours, swept along by the strong characterisation and hypnotic, lyrical writing. After several less than felicitous reading choices over the past month or two, this was just what I needed.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Keith Taylor

    This is both a richly textured memory of Goodison's childhood in Jamaica, and an evocative history of her people there, long before she was born. After time spent in Canada and the States, she has become the Poet Laureate of Jamaica, so her love of the place as captured here is now clearly reciprocated. And it needs to be said: This is a book about Love! Above all else, it is that. This is both a richly textured memory of Goodison's childhood in Jamaica, and an evocative history of her people there, long before she was born. After time spent in Canada and the States, she has become the Poet Laureate of Jamaica, so her love of the place as captured here is now clearly reciprocated. And it needs to be said: This is a book about Love! Above all else, it is that.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    This is a nice story of a family living in Jamaica, but it is to its detriment that I happened to read The White Woman on the Green Bicycle first. Nothing could be quite as compelling or vibrant after that! I also wish this had included more information on Lorna's life, because I think that would have put more of her mother's life into a perspective. As far as culinary inspiration, I need to track down a recipe for a gratto! "The girls had a particular fondness for the small, buttery loaves called This is a nice story of a family living in Jamaica, but it is to its detriment that I happened to read The White Woman on the Green Bicycle first. Nothing could be quite as compelling or vibrant after that! I also wish this had included more information on Lorna's life, because I think that would have put more of her mother's life into a perspective. As far as culinary inspiration, I need to track down a recipe for a gratto! "The girls had a particular fondness for the small, buttery loaves called gratto, a word which was probably a corruption of the French "gateau." "Aunt Fanny was their father David's sister, and she ran the bakery with her husband, a silent man who had traveled to Panama and there learned the art of baking. In his case, he had learned the secret art of baking, for he refused to share his recipes with anyone, including his wife. He insisted on being alone when he prepared the dough for the buttery gratto and French bread, the meltingly delicious cashew and molasses biscuits, and the fancy pastries."

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karris Hamilton

    I don’t know if I can even find the words to describe how I feel about this book. It is a story of family, perseverance, life and death, struggle and history. I really connected with the story. It made me long to know my grandmother’s mother, her father, to know more about her sisters and brother. It made my heart ache for my grandmother who was really my link to Jamaica. The person who connected me to an island I had only been to once, up until this year. I think when we lost her my connection I don’t know if I can even find the words to describe how I feel about this book. It is a story of family, perseverance, life and death, struggle and history. I really connected with the story. It made me long to know my grandmother’s mother, her father, to know more about her sisters and brother. It made my heart ache for my grandmother who was really my link to Jamaica. The person who connected me to an island I had only been to once, up until this year. I think when we lost her my connection to Jamaica grew stronger, in my wanting to be close to her. When I saw her name in this book I cried. I wasn’t expecting it and it took me completely off guard. It was beautiful to simply see a family’s history that reflected my own on a page. Moral of the story is, go read this book if you want a warm heart, to laugh out loud and eyes filled with tears. It is magical.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    This memoir was a little disjointed; I kept getting the generations mixed up. I was also confused about where the Harvey River was.....I thought it was in the States! It took me awhile to figure out that the family lived in rural Jamaica and relocated to Kingston. My nephew married a girl who grew up in Jamaica, and I was curious about the culture. It's a great narrative of the Jamaican culture. Very interesting. This memoir was a little disjointed; I kept getting the generations mixed up. I was also confused about where the Harvey River was.....I thought it was in the States! It took me awhile to figure out that the family lived in rural Jamaica and relocated to Kingston. My nephew married a girl who grew up in Jamaica, and I was curious about the culture. It's a great narrative of the Jamaican culture. Very interesting.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Donald

    I enjoyed this book. It presents the history of Harvey River in Jamaica and the lives of the Harvey's who founded the town. It follows three generations of the author's family. I thought the book could have been more politically and historically anchored (outside of the family history) - although she certainly does cover themes of slavery and there is a small section of Rastafari (mainly a negative light). I enjoyed this book. It presents the history of Harvey River in Jamaica and the lives of the Harvey's who founded the town. It follows three generations of the author's family. I thought the book could have been more politically and historically anchored (outside of the family history) - although she certainly does cover themes of slavery and there is a small section of Rastafari (mainly a negative light).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jolene

    A really touching memoir. It got a little confusing with all the different generations involved, but I loved how many details were included for each family member. And luckily the author included a family tree at the beginning of the book :)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Evie

    This is an amazing exploration of the life of a very real woman with the dilemmas of a real woman. What courage! And what lyrical writing. this is the kind of book you read and re-read!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Areebacee

    "From Harvey River" was a joy ride for me even though I read it for school. Exploring the genealogy of Doris's family to really experiencing Doris hardships after marriage. Doris character was something else she was so charitable and compassionate. Those pictures Goodison presented of the Harvey Girls just made my stomach filled with butterflies. I loved how this book got me to reflect on my own culture in pakistan. It was filled with diversity of the Jamaican background. I also appreciated how "From Harvey River" was a joy ride for me even though I read it for school. Exploring the genealogy of Doris's family to really experiencing Doris hardships after marriage. Doris character was something else she was so charitable and compassionate. Those pictures Goodison presented of the Harvey Girls just made my stomach filled with butterflies. I loved how this book got me to reflect on my own culture in pakistan. It was filled with diversity of the Jamaican background. I also appreciated how Goodison made herself a character too according to the novel. Some disapprovals I had with this book are that I didn't love how Goodison explained the history with the genealogy of her family. That got me confused and didn't let me interpret the Jamaican history properly. I feel she should have given more eloberation on each history. Because, this went through several historical events that led to Jamaica getting freed on August 1st. I just didn't get the gist of the historical events. On the other hand, Doris's childhood was not explained very well. All her brothers and sisters childhood was presented very well, but her history in part 1 I didn't see a lot of at all. I would like to give this a 3.5 stars because I loved the genealogy aspect this book enclosed, plus the three different generations shown in this book. But, the historical events kind of got me off guard. On the whole, I still enjoyed this novel very much.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline Smith

    The book lives up to its title; paying homage mostly to Dear Dor, but also memorializing other members of the Harvey clan, and venturing here and there into the story of the island itself. I'm from Harvey River, Jamaica. My maternal family name is Harvey. I am thrilled to be so close to the stories, to recognize some of the people, the places, the manner of speaking, the stories, the ways of walking through the world. I haven't said "I long to see you so till a short" in a long time, but that's on The book lives up to its title; paying homage mostly to Dear Dor, but also memorializing other members of the Harvey clan, and venturing here and there into the story of the island itself. I'm from Harvey River, Jamaica. My maternal family name is Harvey. I am thrilled to be so close to the stories, to recognize some of the people, the places, the manner of speaking, the stories, the ways of walking through the world. I haven't said "I long to see you so till a short" in a long time, but that's only because I've been away from home for so long. The village was only a shadow of itself when I lived there, I've heard some of the lore from my mother and couldn't be more thrilled to see it in print. I didn't realize that the croton shrubs you see at some very unlikely places are probably grave markers. I didn't know that some of the revolutionaries fled St. Thomas after the Morant Bay Uprising and found refuge in Hanover. I thought Goodison is fairly honest about race and class tensions on the island. There is drama galore. Love stories can't done. Food for thought by the bundle. If you're Jamaican, this is a must-read. If you're a citizen of the world, interested in people and places, this makes a fascinating read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    I came upon a scrap of a review, saved from 15 or so years ago. I found the book and read it. A very straightforward linear memoir, the story of four generations of a family from rural Jamaica, and where life took them. Well-told, the reader comes to know the family members well. Somewhat surprised at the acclaim, though -- the story so personal to that family that it feels less like a public publication and more like something passed down thru the generations for family consumption.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dee Kelly

    Very well written. A captivating story of family, values, culture and history. We have visited Lucea Hanover Township Jamaica 16 times ( Jamaica, a total of 20 times) and this is where we fell in love with Jamaica. I so enjoyed going back in time and taking the Historical Journey of this beloved area. The writing was rich and descriptive and painted a visual picture for me as well.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shonti

    Sweeping memoir of a Jamaican family that at times i felt the writer exposes her 'colonial' ways of thinking in, which sees her connection to whiteness, Europe, coloursm and an anti-African identity exposed. Definitely a writer of her time, one which I hope is being faded out in Jamaican society and lierature. Sweeping memoir of a Jamaican family that at times i felt the writer exposes her 'colonial' ways of thinking in, which sees her connection to whiteness, Europe, coloursm and an anti-African identity exposed. Definitely a writer of her time, one which I hope is being faded out in Jamaican society and lierature.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Wallace

    Riveting, intimate...From Harvey River gives a glimpse into Jamaica's rich language and culture through the eyes of Doris and her family. Beautiful! Riveting, intimate...From Harvey River gives a glimpse into Jamaica's rich language and culture through the eyes of Doris and her family. Beautiful!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Jamaica & Family Great read on family and history in Jamaica. Paints a vivid picture of Kingston and lessons on humility and compassion.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    I really tried, but found the cast of characters incongruent and overwhelming . Moved on to Island Queen - similar but different in a good way.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Books-treasureortrash

    Four Treasure Boxes In From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her People Goodison tells her mother’s story through tales from the past. Although the book is a memoir, much of it is fiction because it is an imaginative reconstruction of Goodison’s family history using both fact and fiction. Goodison utilizes ghosts—the specters of her ancestors—as a method of linking the past to the present, and tells the story through voices from the past. Almost all memories of Margaret (Goodison’s grandmo Four Treasure Boxes In From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her People Goodison tells her mother’s story through tales from the past. Although the book is a memoir, much of it is fiction because it is an imaginative reconstruction of Goodison’s family history using both fact and fiction. Goodison utilizes ghosts—the specters of her ancestors—as a method of linking the past to the present, and tells the story through voices from the past. Almost all memories of Margaret (Goodison’s grandmother) are reimagined, because as Goodison writes, “[e]xcept for the eldest siblings, Barbara and Howard, most of the children had no real memory of Margaret”. Yet “they always felt her presence, for Doris [Goodison’s mother] quoted her every day” (Goodison 254). Ghosts are the history of the past coming forward, reappearing, and providing insight on prior events. Lorna Goodison is a poet, an author of short stories, and an artist. She has received several awards for her work, and she has been writing poetry since her teens. She was born in Kingston, Jamaica on August 1, 1947, and From Harvey River is the legacy of Goodison’s roots. Much of the writing reflects the impact of her family’s heritage—a legacy that is driven by spirits and ghosts derived from both African and Jamaican beliefs. The book itself is a return to childhood, and contains the forgotten and unknowable history of the past, of Goodison’s past, of her mother’s past, and of her mother’s people’s past. Ghosts are non-corporeal beings that are manifestations of ethereal or metaphysical conscious energies. The appearance of ghosts in this story is the transcendence of people from the past moving through linear time and space in order to interact with the characters. This communication creates cracks in space and makes room for a connection between the past and the present, and this breach is often transcended through dreams. Goodison informs the reader the book itself was “handed” to her by her mother’s ghost, when the author “began to ‘dream’ her [mother], as Jamaicans say” (Goodison 2). From Harvey River is a memoir of Goodison’s mother. On the surface this history appears unremarkable, but the combination of fiction, history, and family lore, told from the point of view of spirits in the past, creates an interesting and intriguing tale. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found it touching, and at times it made me laugh, and other times it made me cry. If you enjoy a good read about interesting people in a unique and fascinating setting then I recommend this book as an excellent read. For more of my reviews go to http://books-treasureortrash.com

  27. 5 out of 5

    Charisse

    Beautiful, lyrical prose. What a poetic, warm-hearted depiction of a family history through several generations set against the backdrop of Jamaican life, landscapes, and history. Picked up this book as I was headed to Jamaica and am so glad I did, and got much more out it than I could ever have imagined. Lorna Goodison's being a poet shows through in her writing. Rich in imagery, sensory detail, and insight, it really brought to life Jamaican culture and history as seen through the lives of her Beautiful, lyrical prose. What a poetic, warm-hearted depiction of a family history through several generations set against the backdrop of Jamaican life, landscapes, and history. Picked up this book as I was headed to Jamaica and am so glad I did, and got much more out it than I could ever have imagined. Lorna Goodison's being a poet shows through in her writing. Rich in imagery, sensory detail, and insight, it really brought to life Jamaican culture and history as seen through the lives of her ancestors--and as shaped by her perceptions and imagination. It's also light-hearted and humorous, making it a very enjoyable read. The book touches on all the important aspects of the Jamaican experience--rural and urban; colonialism and slavery; class and religion; food and culture; and everything in between.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Parita

    This is a true memoir...a story as common as your and my story. Ups and downs of life in a foriegn land. It took me quite a while to finish the book for the same reason...it was listening to a life story of a any common man...no unexpected twists and turns...life just as it is. And yet, I give it 3 stars...for life, just as it is, teaches you so much. The story reflects common joys and sorrows, common heroes and battles won and talks a world about another culture. It talks of 3 generations of th This is a true memoir...a story as common as your and my story. Ups and downs of life in a foriegn land. It took me quite a while to finish the book for the same reason...it was listening to a life story of a any common man...no unexpected twists and turns...life just as it is. And yet, I give it 3 stars...for life, just as it is, teaches you so much. The story reflects common joys and sorrows, common heroes and battles won and talks a world about another culture. It talks of 3 generations of the Goodison family and their journey of life, ending with the present day situation of the author. a good read if you like to listen to other people's stories, irrespective of how plain they may be...or else, the book might prove to be a little thick to get through.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    I'm not sure what is most surprising, that I've never heard of Lorna Goodison or that it's taken me this long to read this wonderful memoir that has been on my shelves for a few years. It's nearly perfect. I fell in love with the Harvey family and wish I could have met all of them. Goodison also does an amazing job of portraying the country and city side of Jamaica alongside the cultural aspects of language, food, music, and more. For anyone out there thinking "who would care about my memoir?", I'm not sure what is most surprising, that I've never heard of Lorna Goodison or that it's taken me this long to read this wonderful memoir that has been on my shelves for a few years. It's nearly perfect. I fell in love with the Harvey family and wish I could have met all of them. Goodison also does an amazing job of portraying the country and city side of Jamaica alongside the cultural aspects of language, food, music, and more. For anyone out there thinking "who would care about my memoir?", read Goodison's story. She's not famous but every word is worthwhile.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Teddy

  31. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

  32. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  33. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

  34. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  35. 5 out of 5

    Masked Editor

  36. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Marie

  37. 5 out of 5

    Shirley J

  38. 4 out of 5

    KC

  39. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

  40. 4 out of 5

    Antoinette Kelly

  41. 5 out of 5

    Constantine

  42. 4 out of 5

    Mego

  43. 5 out of 5

    glasses like clark kent

  44. 5 out of 5

    Jobie

  45. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

  46. 4 out of 5

    The Library Lady

  47. 4 out of 5

    Marie

  48. 5 out of 5

    Jesa

  49. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Dempster

  50. 5 out of 5

    Lori

  51. 4 out of 5

    J

  52. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  53. 5 out of 5

    Romy

  54. 4 out of 5

    Monica

  55. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

  56. 5 out of 5

    Lynne

  57. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

  58. 5 out of 5

    Sonia

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