Book gets 'Turn Back Blow' in Jamaica
Shereita Grizzle, Gleaner Writer
Turn Back Blow by Roger Williams, which focuses on the issue of cruelty towards animals, has been breaking ground internationally, with several Ivy League universities adding the book to their catalogues. However, Williams said getting similar attention in Jamaica has been an ongoing struggle.
Williams told The Sunday Gleaner that the biggest struggles he has faced with the novel have been when dealing with Jamaican officials. The author said he wants the book to become as important locally as it is internationally, since it was inspired by an incident which took place in Jamaica.
His main objective is to have the novel included in the Jamaican school curriculum. However, that might be easier done abroad than locally.
"A teacher who lives and works at a school in New York read the first two sample chapters on Amazon and immediately ordered a copy. She is halfway through it and loving it, and is even convincing her principal to introduce the school to the book," Williams said.
He went on to express disappointment at the pace at which several officials from various Jamaican organisations have been responding to his requests to assess the book and give feedback. "One of the main reasons why I am disappointed with the Jamaica education system. I mean, I have dealt with Harvard, Princeton, Yale and more, and I have never been given the runaround as much," Williams said.
Williams also said he mentioned the novel's progress to date, but that seemed to work against rather than for him, as since Turn Back Blow had been catalogued by Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Oxford he did not need the Jamaican organisation's endorsement. "I could not believe that was coming from someone who is working in the education system," Williams said.
He also spoke about being told consistently that his book had not arrived for review, even though he had sent it in May. Then, when it reached, it could not be found. "This is ridiculous. I have dealt with Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Oxford, Dalhousie and our very own UWI, and each time I spoke to someone they could tell me which department has the book," Williams said.
Still he presses on, saying the basis of his determination is getting Jamaican youth to read more. He also hopes to bring attention an issue he believes has gone unnoticed for far too long.