Surprising Joy ISBN: 9780333963937
Published by Macmillan, 2003
The first 70 pages of this novel are set in Jamaica, in the close community where Joy hs lived with gran. She has always known that sooner or later she would be sent for by her mama in England, and she looks forward to that day. When the letter comes, she suddenly realises how much she is going to miss her family and her best friend, and when she arrives in England, the cold and the different food, the unfriendliness of some children, and her different usage of English all make life difficult. But it is when she discovers that her mama is not her mother but her aunt, and the lady she has always known as Cousin Sophie (and who has provided a home and clothes for her) is really her mother, all her feelings boil up, and she secretly plans to return to Jamaica. However, her final decision is to stay, realising that her mother does love her and has done what she believed best for her. The prospect of a new stepfather and brother is daunting, but Joy will learn to accept. Bloom is a poet, and this is evident in the fine style. The early pages, redolent of Jamican culture, are an absolute delight, and Joy's adjusting to life in a far country is thoroughly believable.