Asha Shakes was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and now lives in the US. She is desperately trying to get rid of her culture, as she believes it weighs her down. At the same time, she develops all kinds of conditions (paranoia, OCD, claustrophobia, agoraphobia, delusions), and she ends up being admitted against her will to a mental health hospital. During her stay there, she only trusts one therapist, Dr. Gayle. But when the doctor doesn’t show up one day, Dr. Knightly comes to replace her, and Asha thinks he is an angel sent by God. She starts relating her childhood to him, as she is convinced that her culture is the reason why she is in the hospital in the first place.
Memoirs of a Stranger is Tamar Douglas’ debut novel, a short story of about 50 pages. The narrative is absorbing, and I especially loved the flashbacks to Asha’s childhood in Jamaica where we learn about the witchcraft and superstitions inherent to their culture. In addition, there was a great plot twist at the end of the book that really caught me by surprise. The only negative comments I would have is that the author should have paid more attention to the tenses of the verbs she used, as they tend to change from one sentence to the next. I would also have liked the book to be longer and learn more about Asha’s childhood. In the end though, I really recommend this book as it is a quick read that will leave you stunned by the unexpected ending.
Memoirs of a Stranger was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review.
Fun facts about the author:
- Tamar Douglas taught ESL in Japan and Oman.
- She’s a big fan of Jane Austen.
- In order to relax, the author likes doing jigsaw puzzles while listening to an audio book.
About the author and her work: Tamar Douglas’ Website.
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