The Other Side of Paradise
By Staceyann Chin
288 pages; Scribner
A feisty, fresh-mouthed waif, poet and performer Staceyann Chin was born on the floor of a shack in rural Jamaica and batted from one brutal, Bible-thumping "auntie" to another after her mother flew the coop and her likely father, a Chinese-Jamaican businessman, denied his paternity. Chin's hurricane-strength memoir of social and sexual dislocation, The Other Side of Paradise, might make her seem pathetic if she weren't so hell-bent on thriving. "It tickles me to think that from my very first breath, everyone expected me to stop breathing," she writes, laughing, as always, in the dark.
Printed from Oprah.com on Tuesday, December 10, 2013