Blue Mountain Trouble, a book for children by Jamaican native Martin Mordecai, brings the peasant culture of the Blue Mountains of Jamaica to life through this story of twin 11-year-old twins who must separate in order to pursue an education. The book, which has been the subject of glowing reviews (see links below), is meant for 9-12 year olds.
The reviewer for the Globe and Mail had this to say:
“Top Valley is a kind of Eden, often shrouded in mist, home to a vaporizing goat ghost and ‘duppy’ and obeah magic, as well as the relics of colonial education and religion systems. It is a hive of buzzing activity where subsistence crops are grown and sold, a place of joys and sorrows, gossip and hard truths, populated by characters so vividly rendered via dialogue and action that the reader will be loathe to leave it or them.”
The reviewer for Quill and Quire adds:
“We might well reach the end of the book, a lovely quiet conversational coda about the souls of the dead and the unborn, without ever exactly knowing what a ‘duppy’ or an ‘obeah’ is, but Mordecai pays us the compliment of respecting that readers have more than one way of understanding a word and a concept. When human relationships are honest and precisely observed, as they are in this novel, everything else falls into place as newly familiar.”
The book, published by Scholastic, is available through Amazon, or at http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/book.jsp?id=1310629
For two of the book’s excellent reviews go to http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20090509.BKKIDD09ART01454/TPStory/Entertainment and http://www.quillandquire.com/books_young/review.cfm?review_id=6474