PREP FOR PEP
For a book termite like myself, there is nothing as juicy as a good story; one that you can sink your teeth into as you devour each page, chew on the words and imagery created, and just digest the storyline one chapter at a time. Jean Goulbourne delivers all of that in her publication, 'The Extraordinarily Ordinary Baker Street'.
The novel had me captivated from the get go as this tale of triumph over trial and adversity is a feel good balm that we all need at times to remind us that despite the many ills in our society, hard work can still be one's ticket out of stagnation and poverty. Through her novel, Goulbourne inspires hope and releases that much needed dopamine of good will we all need to keep pushing, even when we do not feel like it.
'The Extraordinarily Ordinary Baker Street' chronicles the tale of a beggar known as 'A Butter' who lives only for today despite having five children who share his DNA and last name. When the mother of his children becomes ill, however, 'A Butter' is forced to finally take responsibility for his offspring and step up not only as a father but a provider, teacher, mentor, and life partner. His determination to wipe away the shame and disgust from the angry eyes of his eldest son made him rise like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes, and in the end, transformed not only himself and his family but the other residents of the small but proud community at Baker Street.
This tale may be as old as time itself but its simplicity works, partly because Goulbourne is a natural storyteller ad her protagonist, though flawed, is a man who acknowledges these flaws and is willing to right his wrongs. The novel pulls you in because the issue of absentee fathers in Jamaica seems almost like an epidemic and most readers will definitely be able to relate.
'The Extraordinarily Ordinary Baker Street' is easily one of the best pieces of Caribbean literature published in 2019.