Saturday, June 17, 2006

An Angel in Trinidad

What is it in me that connects so strongly to stories about young girls searching for their fathers? It is not a journey from my own life - so maybe it is just the power of the emotions these young women experience? Or the fascinating dichotomy of belonging to a family that both loves and lies to you? Whatever it is, Angel's Grace by Tracey Baptiste belongs on the shelf with Angela Johnson's Bird and Pam Munoz Ryan's Becoming Naomi Leon. Grace's feeling that she does not look as much like her parents as her younger sister does, and the explosive reaction of her father over an old tale her mother used to tell her about the hand-shaped birthmark on her shoulder come to a flashpoint during a summer in Trinidad with her maternal grandmother. While looking through an old photo album with her aunt, Grace sees a blurry image of a young man at a beach party who has an identical birthmark -- and it is not her father. This sets off a voyage of self-discovery which uncovers old secrets and a painful truth that all of her family must own together. I enjoyed Grace's spunk, the descriptions of Trinidad, and the bittersweet ending of her search. A very satisfying short read.

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