Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta

On my first visit to Jamaica I saw a pig’s severed head.” And so begins our time with Kara, a second-generation Jamaican-Canadian who, unlike her Jamaican cousins, does not feel comfortable with dead animals, and whose Jamaican accent is not strong enough for her Jamaican-Canadian friends. Yet around her white classmates, Kara feels too Jamaican. Who is she, anyway?

I kept walking. I always lost when I went head-to-head with Anita anyway; her comebacks were harsher and her accent was better. Real. Not something she had to put on. The rest of us just cobbled together what we could from listening to our parents or grandparents, but Anita was fresh from Jamaica – there was no competing, especially when I had the weakest accent out of all the Canadian-borns.

The full review of Frying Plantain can be found at THE MIRAMICHI READER*.

*James and I have swapped book reviews for the last three summers. If you’re interested in checking them out, here’s the list…

My other book reviews at The Miramichi Reader: Advocate by Darren Greer and Perfect World by Ian Colford

The Miramichi Reader book reviews at Consumed by Ink: Mountain by Ursula Pflug, The Madrigal by Dian Day, and The Afrikaner by Arianna Dagnino


A final note on Frying Plantain… 

My final nudge to read this book came from the inaugural Briny Books line-up. I had already read and loved three of them, so I thought I’d better finish them off. The reader(s) at Briny Books have excellent taste!

(My thoughts on the other three Briny Book selections: Crow by Amy Spurway, Bad Ideas by Missy Marston, and The Luminous Sea by Melissa Barbeau.)

I lent “Crow” to a friend. (As one should.)


10 thoughts on “Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta

  1. buriedinprint says:

    I really enjoyed this collection, the way she moves between segments but we still feel connected to her character. It was a good choice, too, I think, for the first story: easy to relate to her sense of not-being-enough-ness.

    • Naomi says:

      I thought so, too. I found I could relate to it in *other* not-being-enough ways. We’ve all wanted to embellish stories, make things up or leave things out, depending on who we’re talking to.
      I also liked that her message came through loud and clear without it feeling like a message.

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