“A Million Aunties”: My Review of a Novel by Alecia McKenzie

Petchary's Blog

An “Auntie” occupies a unique space in Jamaican society. I have a few “nieces” and “nephews” myself, although they are not related to me in any way. I love them all.

In general, Jamaican Aunties are middle-aged or older women. They usually embody certain qualities (at least, in the eyes of the young people who adopt them – and that’s another thing about aunties – they are often so designated by their young friends). Suddenly, you are an Auntie. The ideal Auntie is dependable, reliable, helpful and empowering. She may offer good advice from time to time. She can fix things. She is (one hopes) non-judgmental – not as quick to condemn or criticize as an actual family member might be. She may be eccentric at times; any younger person who takes her on will have to get used to her ways. She is not a substitute for a parent…

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