3 out of 4 stars
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Leopold and Ulrica Steele gathered their four small children, boarded the SS Columbia, and left Jamaica in hopes of a better life in England. This couple would eventually have four more children. The book mainly recounts the life of Argyle, the last of the siblings born in Jamaica. We learn of his childhood antics with his siblings, his education at various English schools, his training in goldsmithing, and how he met his wife.
From Ulrica’s past, we learn about many unique Jamaican customs. Why did people call her a “goat’s mouth?” What motivated her to move her young family to England? Ulrica also carries a tragedy from the past in her heart. Her brother Raúl never returned from a fishing expedition with his cousin Alvin. This family mystery will eventually motivate Argyle to return to Jamaica to go on a quest for the uncle who was swallowed by the sea. Will he find the missing family member or is he chasing a ghost?
A Jamaican Family’s Saga by Leonard Archie Wilson comes under the genre of historical fiction. The author takes the reader on a journey through his family’s past that occurred in Jamaica, England, and the United States. He provides descriptions of each of the places where the family lived and how they had to adapt to each culture. Argyle learns the consequences of leaving his car unattended on the streets of England.
I enjoyed the descriptions of Argyle’s family life. Growing up with seven siblings meant there was never a dull moment in their home. He spoke about many happy moments as well as the typical family conflicts. How did his mother react when she discovered his rodent collection in his sock drawer? How did the death of his baby brother affect his life’s direction?
I encountered some time gaps in the story. One chapter contains a jump of thirty-two years. I found this to be jarring and contrary to the purpose of the book. The author invites the reader to follow his life and adventures but suddenly leaves the reader with a gap of several decades. I felt that this detracted from the story and left the reader confused and with many unanswered questions concerning those lost years.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The author shared entertaining and moving experiences from his life in three different countries. I encountered only a few missing apostrophes and some misspelled Spanish words. This is not a book for someone looking for a fast-paced action story. Readers who enjoy learning about other people’s life adventures and gaining wisdom from their experiences will benefit from this author’s compelling family saga. The tales of his youth and the search for his uncle are a touching and exciting read.
A Jamaican Family'sSaga
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