Poet Stacyann Chin’s memoir, “The Other Side of Paradise” (Scribner, 2009), is a coming-of-age story. It’s a tale of growing up never fitting in, not with family, not with social structure. It’s also about living in Paradise (both literally and figuratively), but never feeling as though Paradise’s bounty is available for you. Ultimately, however, the book is about discovering that no man (or woman) is an island in regards to pain and loss…and joy.
A one-time performer on Def Poetry jam, Stacyann Chin’s upbringing was enough to seal in insecurities, and yet, she kept trying to break out beyond her circumstances. She was born on Christmas Day in Lottery, Jamaica, and systematically denied by both her mother and father, something she struggled with throughout her childhood. Stacyann grew up in the slums of Jamaica that tourists never visit, and she suffered abuse that no girl should ever have to suffer at the hands of family… always dreaming of the life of the fortunate ones, always dreaming of being safe and happy.
“The Other Side of Paradise” is a fresh, poetic read that balances images of hope in trying times and the darker side of Paradise.
Below, Stacyann Chin performing “Untitled” on Def Poetry Jam.
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