Tag Archives: Lisa Allen-Agostini

Looking back some more, and forward

When I had the idea to cover more [than my average] black fiction during June, I came up with a lot of titles and authors. And then I realised that many of these authors were white, which is what much of the criticism of books featuring black characters has been about. So I vowed to avoid those books, however great they may be.

I also came up with a list of books I wanted to read, but was unable to fit into one month. If nothing else, it would have been unfair to the books, as I wouldn’t have given them the time they deserved.

Two ‘recent’ books were Mare’s War by Tanita S Davis, and Home Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini. The former is about black American women serving in Europe during WWII, and the latter is about being an immigrant in a very white part of Canada. Neither is typical and I enjoyed them. Also, the two authors are not really household names, which adds to the fun.

Speaking of household names, I am getting a lot closer to reading Toni Morrison. And despite her being very well known, I have to admit to wanting to read Michelle Obama’s autobiography. And Kwame Alexander’s The Undefeated which, while being a picture book, is so much more.

Home Home

Lisa Allen-Agostini’s book Home Home is a short novel about many different big topics; depression, going to live somewhere new, getting on with your parents, race, sexuality, plus the ‘normal’ teen kind of angst most of us have known. It’s a lot to put into one book.

Lisa Allen-Agostini

It’s not until the last page that the reader learns the name of the narrator. She’s Kayla, and she’s 14 and has recently moved from Trinidad to Canada to live with her lesbian aunt to get over having tried to kill herself because of depression.

As you can see, a lot to deal with.

Much as I’m glad to see depression making it into a teen novel, it’s so short, that I feel it’s mostly there to explain why Kayla has come to Canada, without her mother, to live with an aunt she barely knows, and the aunt’s partner/wife.

But it is very interesting reading about the various difficulties of ending up somewhere so different from your home home, as she calls it. Everything is new, like the weather, where Kayla feels cold when the locals undress because it’s warm. Being one of the few black faces in a white area. Coming to terms with same sex relationships.

There could – should – be more books here, or one much longer.

And I occasionally wish that part of the solution wasn’t in meeting a gorgeous boy who really likes you. It’s a fairy tale [temporary] ending to a bad situation, and one that few of us would experience. I’d like to know more about how Kayla and her depression will work out.