Thursday, 25 February 2010

'Every Light in the House Burnin' by Andrea Levy

Every Light in the House Burnin' was Andrea Levy’s first novel, and is semi-autobiographical written in 1994. The story is of a Jamaican family living in London in the 1960s . They arrived from Jamaica in 1948 for a ‘better opportunity’ the Dad, Mr Jacob in the story’s own words and in all probability her own Dad’s words too as this mirrored her own life.
Six months after her mother followed him and they set up home in a council flat in Highbury, London. The story is told by the youngest child, Angela.

Twenty years and four children later Mr Jacob has become seriously ill and starts to move unsteadily through the care of the National Health Service and the chapters swing between that time and Angela’s memories of her childhood life. I loved this book and was sad when I got to the end; the innocence of the parents in a very prejudicial England, their outlook was to keep low and not make a fuss made me feel sympathetic towards their plight. When the Dad was very ill they were typical of that time that they didn’t want to trouble the Drs. It was Angela then in her early twenties, who tries to help her mother through this ordeal. Delightful little insights to girls growing up in the sixties was just as I remembered this time.. I am that old!
Well worth reading, perhaps you saw her ‘Small Island’ televised in two parts on two Sunday evenings just before Christmas?