Jamaica Magazine

Book Review: The Unrepentant Mother

This is the story of a little boy, who was left in Jamaica by his mother when he was 6 months old. He was living with his maternal grandmother. He was then given the chance to go live with his mother in Canada. But when he went there, he met a mother he had never met before. He came to learn something about her that he wished he had never known.

Unrepentant Mother is a fairly interesting story about a young Jamaican boy who gets the opportunity to migrate to Canada to meet the mother he did not know.

After growing up in relative poverty with the maternal grandmother in Wood Hall, a rural district in central Jamaica, 13-year-old Jimmy travels by plane from Kingston to Lester B Pearson International Airport and then on to Agincourt in Canada. On the way, he gets acquainted with a pleasant girl, Pamela.

In Canada, Jimmy meets his mother Gem; her husband, Joe, and their two daughters, Sandra and Melissa. They live in a well-appointed three-bedroom apartment. So, when his mother shows him a small mattress that he must place on the floor to sleep, he realizes that he is not considered part of ‘the family’. It is just the start of some very unpleasant experiences in his life.

His mother’s attitude towards him and the open hostility and bitterness she displays is a puzzle to the boy. Little does he know that she hates him because many years ago she lost the love of her life, the man, Gary Morgan, his father, when she became pregnant with him.

Gem is prone to violent vocal and physical outbursts. In her disturbed state of mind, she goes from smoking marijuana, to using crack. Meanwhile, she pursues every lead she can to find Gary who at 40 years of age is still a carefree bachelor, lives in Canada and thrives on the attention of women many of whom are Caucasian.

Finally, Gem finds Gary and gives in to what she believes is the only plan that will bring him back to her.

The plan meant killing her son Jimmy, the person she felt was the source of her unhappiness and emotional pain.

The plot of the story is fairly simple and uncomplicated. There are some other characters who add color and interest to the main ones – Vivienne, for example, Gem’s friend who provides help and shelter for Jimmy when his mother abuses him and throws him out of her house; Gem’s estranged husband, Joe; Clifton Rockwell, Gem’s boyfriend and Christine, Pamela’s friends.

The Unrepentant Mother is 325 pages long. The author, Earl Thompson was inspired by Jamaican writers Louise Bennett and Claude McKay.  = Reviewed by Barbara Nelson


Earl Thompson has been writing from as early as twelve years of age. In September of 1993 he completed a diploma in Journalism, short story writing. In August of 1995 he won an award from the International society of poet. He later won an Editor’s choice award from the same society. He published his first novel “The Last Of The Con-men in two thousand, and in two thousand and two he published ‘Jimmy’s New Life. His third novel, ‘The Relocators’ was published in 2006. He has written over twenty feature length screenplays. He won a Valentine poetry competition and optioned a screenplay to a movie company in Miami in 2010. He has so far written seven novels and two books of poetry.


The book is available at lulu.com

About the author

Staff Writer