A thought-provoking life story
“I thank God for teaching me the secrets of persevering … I know that I will overcome.” This quote is a perfect reflection of the story of overcoming that is portrayed by Maxine James in her book, After the Rain. Using a collection of memories and experiences, interspersed with poems and biblical anecdotes, James shares her journey of growing up in the hills of St Mary, Jamaica, to immigrating to Alberta, Canada, as a young woman.
James starts her story by telling a descriptive, slow-burning tale of her young self, surrounded by trees and animals, and friends and family, and all the adventures and misadventures that come with youth. It is an accurate depiction of Jamaican culture – vibrant people, beautiful landscape, and a spirited way of life. After being diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at the age of 13, and seeing her mother and sister claimed by the disease, James’ life took a major turn as she moved to Kingston to live with her rich aunt, in a house where she never felt at home.
Even though her life was never the same, James grew to become an independent young woman with a good job, good friends, and a good life. That is until she left everything behind to move to Canada, upon a friend’s request, to marry a man she didn’t know. From there on, James endured a life of manipulation, humiliation, and deceit resulting in her having a mental breakdown.
James’ story is a heartbreaking. Although she had some good times in Jamaica, her adult life is a testament of what can happen when ignorance and naivety meet dishonesty and cruelty, especially for her early years in Canada. From being tricked and used by her friend and her husband, to being betrayed by a member of her church who she considered a friend, to being deceived by her boyfriend who she thought was the love her life and her future husband which, subsequently, led to her having a mental breakdown and needing psychiatric care, James certainly lived an eventful life in Canada. However, despite all that she endured, she never hated those who did her wrong. She continued to help them, pray for them and put her trust in God.
Overall, After the Rain was a thought-provoking story. Although, there were a couple of disappointments with the writing, such as the story not flowing as well as it could have in certain areas, and the dialogue having very little patois for a novel written about life in Jamaica, it certainly appeared to be written with passion and purpose. What was clear from James’ story was that life will be filled with storms – some we will see coming a mile away and others will be sudden, unexpected, and daunting – but, in all things, we can overcome if only we have faith in God’s mercy and grace.
Title: After the Rain
Author: Maxine James
Publisher: Word Alive Press
Nicole Watson is a communicator, content creator and a blogger. Follow her on Instagram @nicolebookishtidbits.