Patsy by Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn


A beautifully layered portrait of motherhood, immigration, and the sacrifices we make in the name of love from award-winning novelist Nicole Dennis-Benn.When Patsy gets her long-coveted visa to America, it comes after years of yearning to leave Pennyfield, the beautiful but impoverished Jamaican town where she was raised. More than anything, Patsy wishes to be reunited with her oldest friend, Cicely, whose letters arrive from New York steeped in ...

Details Patsy

Release DateJun 4th, 2019
GenreFiction, LGBT, Literary Fiction

Reviews Patsy

  • Caroline
    ***NO SPOILERS***Given the premise, Patsy should have been more emotionally resonant. Nicole Dennis-Benn wrote about the experience of a Jamaican immigrant (Patsy) in America after she leaves her young daughter (Tru) behind in Jamaica. The relationship between the two isn't established strongly, so I didn't feel the sadness Dennis-Benn wanted me to feel. The main character's struggle to understand and accept her sexual identity feels similarly di...
  • BookOfCinz
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading Nicole Dennis-Benn's debut novel Here Comes The Sun so much so Patsy was one of my most sought after ARC for 2019.We meet Patsy, a twenty something Jamaican living in Pennyfield- what one would call a ghetto. Patsy is a government worker, but gets paid so little, she ends up doing some on the side work that is she not too proud about. Patsy is the sole breadwinner, but she is hardly able to provide for her daughte...
  • Michelle
    I am not quite sure how to articulate what I feel after reading Patsy. In Dennis-Benn's second novel we are once again asked to explore diverse subject matter: immigration, LGBTQ+, religion, colorism, politics . . . motherhood. Although I left motherhood for last this is the part of the book that I struggled with the most. When Patsy decided that she is going to chase after the American dream and leave her daughter behind I was judgemental. As a ...
  • Allison
    Ahhh wow Nicole Dennis-Benn's characters and stories are like no other. This book was stunning. I loved her first novel and I think I loved this one even more. I will never forget the characters of Patsy and her child Tru. Dennis-Benn examines how the world has set them up to fail - poor, queer, immigrant, women, Black, and dark-skinned - and the impact this has on their personal relationships, and how they continue to seek freedom on their own t...
  • Karen (idleutopia_reads)
    Do you ever have that feeling when you don’t even want to put words on paper because no words could fully encapsulate the brilliance of a book you just read? That’s how I feel with Patsy. I am going to be a mediocre guide trying to give you a semblance of an idea of what this book is about. There are so many amazing articles circulating around that you must read so that you can get help in uncovering the layers of this book. As always, my bes...
  • Katherine
    Patsy is a sensual, thoughtful perusal through the layers of womanhood, of race, of class, of gender, and of nostalgia for a home and for people that no longer exist as time passes.Dennis-Benn’s writing is mesmerizing and colorful. As the reader is transported back and forth from Brooklyn to Jamaica, the different emotions and moods the places evoke are palpable.Patsy’s hometown in Jamaica is poor - if she stays there, she knows the exact pat...
  • Peta
    A Great read! See why here ->
  • MissFabularian
    Ripped my heart out. Started reading and couldn't put down. Complex character driven novel that is brutally real.
  • Karen Hogg
    I was absolutely in love with the plot and characters until Dennis-Benn kept adding so many elements that I lost sight of the story's core meaning. If three or four plot twists had been eliminated, it would have been perfect.
  • Audrey
    Patsy abandons her daughter and mother to come to the United States to seek a long lost love. Things in the states are so much harder and different then she imagines. In return, she finds struggle and loneliness as she tries to survive as an undocumented worker. Meanwhile, her daughter is lost and confused and tries to find her place in her new family. She also struggles with identity that parallels Patsy. This story of these two unforgettable ch...
  • Sarah
    Wow, the words ‘epic saga’ certainly fit this book- it is so rich in detail, both imagery-wise and plot-wise, that I almost feel like I have a hangover from it. Like Dennis-Benn’s previous novel, there are a huge array of characters here, all of whom are flawed but sympathetic, which is no easy feat. And despite the number of characters, I didn’t feel lost as to who was who- also not easy to pull off.The mother-daughter duo at the center ...
  • Andrienne
    Heartwrenching and wise. A young mother leaves behind her country and child to pursue a life she can only imagine in her dreams. Patsy follows her childhood friend to NY but things are much harder than she anticipated. Meanwhile, her daughter Tru is struggling with her own feelings of abandonment and place in small town. This is a powerful story about immigrant life, self-identity, sexual freedom, family and hope. Thanks to the publisher for acce...
  • Smileitsjoy (JoyMelody)
    I had not read Nicole Dennis-Benn's first book; however, Patsy kept circling the bloggers I followed on Instagram and I requested an ARC. I received one in exchange for an open and honest review. Writing a glowing review about this novel is not hard because this book TRULY is impeccable. We first meet Patsy when she is trying to procure a visa to get to the United States. She has no intentions of taking her daughter nor returning when she is gran...
  • Sarah Evan
    Patsy is an amazing read I could not put down. Not often do queer stories get told with such narrative complexity and dexterity and feature women/NB individuals of color who are layered in their struggle with mental health issues, societal challenges, and parents. Patsy and Tru are intriguing in their relationships and lives, a mother and child whose lives run on two different paths, but share traits. Dennis-Benn does a masterful job.There's an e...
  • Aleatha
    Was excited to read because of the subject but lord this was a dull and predictable read with an unbelievable, in a bad way, ending.
  • Hilary Zaid
    Nicole Dennis-Benn is a brilliant writer. All the rest is commentary.
  • Gabriella
    !!!!!!!!! Headed to training week, real thoughts soon
  • Reagan Elly
    Woah this was amazing I cried and didn't want it to end now I'm so sad and don't know how to even start anything else cuz why bother I'll just reread it in an infinite loop I guess
  • Becky Spratford
    Full review here: Words That Describe This Book: immigrant experience, female driven narrative, brutally honest
  • Kathleen Gray
    A stunner of a novel which transcends so much. Patsy is a Jamaican immigrant to the US who has left her daughter Tru behind with the thought that she would be better cared for by her father as Patsy finds her feet in her new environment. That turns out, as you might imagine, not to be the case, especially in Tru's mind. Patsy believes that she will be able to reconnect with her long time love Cecily and that turns out to be more optimistic than P...
  • Nickeisha
    Patsy yearns for a better life. She longs to join her friend and secret lover in America, and live the dreamed she has long for. When she finally gets a visa, she doesn’t hesitate, leaving behind her young daughter, Tru. When Patsy finally makes it, things do not turn out the way Patsy expected.Dreams shattered, Patsy tries to navigate life on her own as an undocumented woman in a country where she knows no one. It wears on her physically and m...
  • Cindy H.
    Many thanks to NetGalley and W.W. Norton Publishing for gifting me with an ARC of Nicole Dennis-Benn’s new novel, Patsy. Below is my unbiased review in exchange for the ARC.Patsy is an immersive story of heartache, longing, doubt and acceptance. A story about motherhood and immigration, expectations and reality. Patsy leaves behind her young daughter, Tru when she is able to secure a tourist visa to America. But unbeknownst to Tru, Patsy has no...
  • Eliana
    I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway!This book was definitely different than I was expecting--I was expecting way more romance, so the first half of the book was a little difficult for me to get through until I re-calibrated my expectations from the book. (This is probably my fault for not reading the summary closely enough.)Once I got into the story, I found myself caring deeply about the characters and feeling totally invested in thei...
  • Alice, as in Wonderland
    I feel that Dennis-Benn is unparalleled in writing the insidious unforgivables. The mother who can't find love for her daughter, the more-than-friend who takes everything you give them and never gives back, the daughter told to be a "good girl" who finds difficulty doing either of those things for the woman who ends up raising her. Like her debut, this novel is filled with characters tormented by the compromises they made but whose character Denn...
  • Liz
    Via my book blog at and Tru, are the mother and daughter in alternate chapters of this heartbreaking story of chasing a dream of love and freedom from Jamaica to Brooklyn. Patsy's childhood was rough, and she decided at a young age that she would get a visa to go to New York to be with her best friend, Cicely. After several attempts, Patsy wins her coveted prize and plans for her trip. Patsy's determinat...
  • Sharon
    A mother- recently immigrated to America, and a daughter- left behind in Jamaica, both embark on a journey to find peace within themselves and strive to find a way to come to terms with their right to confidently claim space in the universe. The lyrical narrative touches upon issues of race, wealth, societal expectations, sexual norms, and more. It is a heartbreaking tale of the undocumented immigrant experience told in bold, unrelenting strokes,...
  • Ebony Rose
    4.25 stars!Another beautifully written story with an important message throughout by Nicole Dennis-Benn. Patsy was a slow, often sad, powerful rumination about motherhood, sacrifice, self-love and identity that crept up on me slowly but then swept me away all at once. Nicole is an incredibly gifted author and I am grateful for the existence of this book, and particularly for the existence of its main characters, Patsy and her daughter Tru. In thi...
  • Emily
    Motherhood holds a sacred and revered place both in society and in literature, and when women become mothers, there seems to be significant pressure on them to prioritize this identity, and their child/children, above all else. I think this is why Patsy is such an affective and important read.Patsy's character is flawed, yes, and I'd understand disagreeing with her actions on the surface, but as we get to know her better, we start to understand h...