A memoir that chronicles the misadventures of a Jamaican-born “drifter.”
After first-time author Philip was born in Jamaica, his father wrapped him up in his jacket, took him outside before the dawn, and held him up to the heavens, praying that he would survive because his mother had lost at least five other babies. Philip has led an eventful life ever since, which he chronicles in his sometimes-entertaining, sometimes-bewildering memoir, styling himself as a “drifter” on a “spiritual journey.” “In this story I have put together a portfolio of my life experiences...to show how the drifter triumph [sic] over evil for good, with the hope that others may learn something from his experiences,” he writes. Philip’s meandering took him to England, back to Jamaica, to the Congo, and then back to England, spanning at least two marriages, extensive marijuana use, a spell as a musician, and even an arrest for rape that landed him in a Jamaican jail cell for six months. He was never convicted. In the “land of my birth my own people locked me up in a room full of human shits,” he laments. Some readers may find this tale to be, at the very least, self-indulgent, the stream of consciousness of a “ganja”-addled misfit who is incapable of maintaining a relationship with another human being. The book is also rife with malapropisms—for example, “she was showing me the autonomy of the woman’s body parts.” But Philip is cleareyed about the poverty of his homeland and the racism he encountered as a schoolboy in England, recalling that one teacher “felt like giving all of us blacks and Pakistani to cane but he is going to wait until the lesson is over.” And there is a picaresque flavor to the book—his life as a musician was “just sex Drugs and Rack an Roll and free food sometimes”—as Philip drifts from one misadventure to another.
Observant but often jumbled and in dire need of editing.