FOR THE LIFE OF LAETITIA by Merle Hodge

FOR THE LIFE OF LAETITIA

Age Range: 12 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 From Trinidadian writer Hodge, a novel with an authentic taste of Caribbean culture and several serious themes. Laetitia (``Lacey''), 12, has passed the exams for the distant secondary school, but the honor is overshadowed by the necessity of leaving the wise grandparents who raised her and moving to town to live with a self-important father she hardly knows. Lacey's own resourcefulness and intelligence, plus a friendship with Indian classmate Anjanee, help her endure the class prejudice of some of her teachers, as well as the abuse of her brutal father. For Anjanee, the cruel pressures of getting an education without the support of her traditional family are unbearable; even Lacey suffers a breakdown, but at least she finds a way to escape her father's domination and return to school. Anjanee's suicide is a compelling lesson: a woman who doesn't go to school is doomed to a life of slaving for others--and being invisible to them; Anjanee would rather be dead. The many colorful details of island life enrich the narrative without interrupting its flow; the dialogue incorporates some lilting island patois, mostly clear in context. A powerful picture of a resilient young woman who must challenge both racism and sexism in order to get the education that will allow her to escape both. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 1993
ISBN: 0-374-32447-6
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1992