Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Manley Memoirs

Stayed up late reading The Manley Memoirs by Beverley Manley until 3:00am this morning.  I was caught up in Mrs. Manley's life. that is, her rise from humble background, as people would say, to First Lady of Jamaica rubbing shoulders with Fidel as in Castro; Jimmy Carter and the usual expected political dignitaries; then to divorcee struggling to find a job; and then co-host of the very popular radio program, Breakfast Club.

I liked the humor. The anecdote about the dinner disaster involving the escargots was not only hilarious it was very revealing about the lifestyle of well-to-do Jamaicans. I liked the honesty but what made me squeamish were the bits that I thought belonged in the category of "Too Much Information". I am not accustomed to Jamaicans washing their dirty linen in public so I found some of the details of her parent's marriage distasteful. 

Overall, I enjoyed the book. She told the reader exactly who she was and how she became who she is. There was some repetition but it helped to remind me of how the various persons connected. There were occasions when I got a little confused about the timing of an event. There were some gaps in the information.  For example, she presented the charismatic Prime Minister Michael Manley as a distant father with his first three children by three ex-wives but the relationship with her own children was not clear to me.  Everyone in Jamaica knew he was a playboy and knew of his reputation of having relationships with his friends' wives so that confirmation in the book was not shocking to me.

I would have liked the more recent photographs to be in color.  The black and white photos in the book were not as sharp as those in Condoleeza Rice's book.  Yes, I checked.

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