Patsy by Nicole Y. 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 the promise of a happier life and the possible rekindling of their young love. But Patsy’s plans don’t include her overzealous, evangelical mother―...

Details Patsy

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

Reviews Patsy

  • Roxane
    Nicole Dennis-Benn has written an engrossing novel about a woman who chooses herself over her child in emigrating, alone, to the US and estranging herself from her young daughter. There is a really epic, sprawling quality to this novel, this sense of grandness in seeing Patsy make a life for herself in the States and, slowly, messily, grow into who she should be. There is a love story at the heart of this--a childhood love that could become somet...
  • Thomas
    Such a powerful, well-written novel about Patsy, a woman who leaves Jamaica and her daughter behind to pursue an independent life in America, only to encounter a fractured version of the American dream full of challenges. I loved this book because the characters feel so complex and human and Nicole Dennis-Benn writes their emotions with such rawness and vibrancy. For example, Patsy leaves her daughter behind in large part because she had her daug...
  • Christine
    4.5 stars rounded to 4 starsAfter a bit of a slow start, this book turned out to be wonderful. Patsy is a young Jamaican mother who doesn’t think she is cut out to be a mother for her 5-year-old daughter Trudy Ann (Tru) as she still hasn’t come to terms with how she feels about herself. Her goal is to get to America and reunite with her childhood friend Cecily, for whom she feels great love. This novel covers a lot. It’s a story about the l...
  • 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...
  • Reggie
    Nicole Dennis-Benn has done it again. What a wonderful way to begin a literary career.More fleshed out thoughts to come.
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    I did not enjoy this one nearly as much as her first book. Despite its length, this book failed to provide much clarity on the title character or her motivations throughout much of the story. The book was also unfocused and the narrative shifted too often - a love story, an immigrant story, a coming of age story? She is a good writer, but couldn’t seem to find the guiding story for the title character. 2.5 I did not enjoy this one nearly as m...
  • Jessica Woodbury
    4.5 stars. With PATSY, Nicole Dennis-Benn has with just two novels declared herself as one of our best and most important writers. It's not a small feat. Dennis-Benn writes urgent, beautiful, heartwrenching stories about the women the world ignores. Patsy has made a surprisingly good life for herself for a woman in a poor neighborhood in Jamaica. Her life has not been easy, her mother is so obsessed with religion that she doesn't contribute to th...
  • Joc
    My wife has set herself a challenge to read books by black women authors this year and somehow, I find myself reading reviews and gravitating towards the same kind of book. Patsy is the story of a young woman with a five-year-old daughter living in a poor area of Jamaica. She is desperate to get to America to find Cicely, her love and best friend from childhood, at the cost of just about everything she has, including her daughter. She finally man...
  • jo
    I am in awe of two things in this book: a) its courage and b) its complexity. a) CourageThis is the first non-indie-published book I've read that addresses lesbian desire on pretty much every page. It does so without much fanfare or identity quest. In fact, if you don't know to find it, at first you will not be certain that that's what you should call it. The lesbian desire here is born as best-friend-from-childhood sweet sweet attachment and dev...
  • 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...
  • Karee
    Just like Here Come the Sun, Patsy has left me wanting more from these characters. This is more than a coming of age story. More than a story about heartache, abuse, love, self denial, family, poverty, and relationships. It's a story that weaves a tale of folks just trying to fill their lives with happiness and love. These 2 things did not come easy and without a heavy price, some may never find it.Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn is a genius! I could have ...
  • 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...
  • Jonathan Pool
    SynopsisThe eponymous Patsy of the books title is the person we, the readers, follow, and empathise with throughout the book. We want to love our lead characters, right? Or at least despise them unequivocally if they are guilty of bad behaviour.Patsy doesn’t conform to this norm. The reader has her back, all the while knowing, from the outset, that she has abandoned her only child, and made false promises to that young girl.Patsy does not follo...
  • Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
    This was a compelling read, Patsy and the other women in this novel were particularly well characterized and developed. The focus of the narrative, Patsy’s decision to leave Jamaica and her young daughter to start a new life in NYC, is one that the reader increasingly feels the weight of as the novel processes. Through Patsy’s observations about American life and the social privileges and prejudices she observes and experiences, we get a real...
  • Andre
    Impressed. Bold decisions by Patsy, and even bolder by Nicole Dennis-Benn to explore these themes in fiction. It is a rare feat and only happens with the very best fiction, that an author creates a character that gets into your head and stays long after the book has been put down, Patsy is such a character. I begin to think of this woman as a real individual, that’s how lush and authentic was the story and prose. The life of immigration is unde...
  • Jan
    Kudos to Dennis-Benn for creating strong but problematic characters and keeping us on their side as they make tough choices to survive in the face of poverty, institutional racism and family dysfunction. Wonderful use of the settings in Jamaica and Brooklyn. Maybe 4.5 stars, because I’m feeling downright emotional about almost every one of these characters. This is a step up from Dennis-Benn’s debut novel, and I’ll be excited to see her car...
  • MissFabularian
    Ripped my heart out. Started reading and couldn't put down. Complex character driven novel that is brutally real.
  • Tia
    Whew chile......QTThis book had my emotions everywhere. Tru!!!! Tru had my heart hurting for chapters. The prolonged process to maneuver through this book was due to Tru and Minerva. They didn’t give my anxiety any rest. I’m so pleased with my decision to start this book over from the beginning and go slow with it. I don’t regret giving this book and characters my full attention.I highly recommend and rtc. Whew chile......💆🏽‍♀...
  • Peta
    A Great read! See why here ->
  • 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...
  • Kiki
    Nicole is a Jamaican writer who, from book to book, reveals more new things about life in Jamaica that I didn't know. She levelled up in this sophomore title producing an imagery laden, emotionally precise novel about two characters who exist outside society's prescribed bounds of womanhood. The light and the darkness, birds in flight or caged, curses and blessings, that scent of blood...I don't know that I ever liked Patsy but I ached for her. T...
  • Jaclyn Crupi
    This was a powerful and beautiful rumination on the intersection between female desire and race, class and ethnicity. I loved my time with Patsy and Tru, memorable nuanced characters with very real problems. Dennis-Benn blew me away with her debut novel Here Comes the Sun and this is a very strong follow-up.
  • Jessie
    Nicole Dennis-Benn’s Patsy was a masterpiece, plain and simple, despite my taking (a sizeable) issue with the ending a bit. This book, about Patsy, a woman who immigrates undocumented to the US from Jamaica, leaving behind her five year old daughter with her father and his family, tells the story of a woman who could not adequately love her daughter because she had never been allowed to properly love herself. Issues from growing up in a strictl...
  • Marcia
    I have so many mixed feelings about this book and how to rate it. Nicole Dennis-Benn is a talented author and brings forth a depressing tale that is both urgent and timely, but very long and filled with dialogue in Jamaican patois that is very difficult to read. The characters were well depicted and although I really didn’t like most of them, I was drawn into their lives. Patsy is an unmarried mother of a five year old daughter, Trudy Ann ( Tru...
  • Gabrielle
    How many ways do I love thee? Let me count the ways. It is clear that this novel was a labor of love, a stroke of genius, and piece de resistance all wrapped into one. Patsy is one of the most complex, challenging, and heartbreaking novels I have read in a long time. I just finished this book and I need to come up for air before I can really express my thoughts. More soon, but in the meantime: start reading this book!
  • 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...