One Foot in Jamaica: A Memoir
“A fast-moving and entertaining read, One Foot in Jamaica draws readers into the lives of four women in Jamaica and America as they experience both tragedy and joy raising their families during two World Wars and other challenges. Delightful!”
—DONNA CLARK, former publisher, Chatelaine
“…provides a window into the lives of early Jamaican emigrants to Boston and New York and how they negotiated their existence and moved between Jamaica and the United States… tells…of the tenacity to survive despite the odds in colonial Jamaica and the United States, rape, sexual harrassment in the workplace, patriarchy, exploitation, secrets, a determination to fight social injustice and the will to love…”
—NEIL ARMSTRONG, Jamaica Gleaner
One Foot in Jamaica is a remarkable story of remarkable women as they raise their families — and sometimes a little bit of hell — in Jamaica and Boston.
When Helen, a Jamaican teenager, loses her parents to malaria in 1880, she is forced to find work on a sugar plantation. There she is raped by the owner and gives birth to a daughter, Eva, setting into motion this captivating story of four generations of women — the adventures not only of Helen and Eva but also of Eva’s daughter Gwen and Gwen’s daughter Eleanor, the author of this book.
One Foot in Jamaica is a sweeping tale of Jamaica, including plantation life, the 1907 earthquake in Kingston, the country’s struggles during the war years, and what it was like to live at the centre of Island society as Gwen marries an up-and-coming Jamaican lawyer, the son of Jamaica’s former Treasurer. And it is a unique portrayal of Boston during days of racial prejudice and the Roaring Twenties, with that decade’s shocking rise and fall of hemlines and the stock market.