Want some insights on feminism, religion, politics that will make you laugh, cry, or scream? You’ll find them all in a book by J.A. Lovelock.
Her unique wit and engaging musings, that come from experiences and observations on contemporary life, is probably what is needed to escape a life filled with so many distractions. The recently published “Let Me Tell You Something” is a collection of commentaries published in the United Kingdom version of the Jamaica Gleaner over the years.
With 16 topics and divided into two sections, a reader can focus on themes or interests. But, if you read from cover to cover, there is an intermission in the middle, offering time and permission to laugh out loud, bitch or simply absorb.
Lovelock’s rumination on life’s quirks are particularly perceptive, yet tickling. For example:
“I like a good gossip. Don’t we all? Love to talk ‘bout people business. But I am actually finding it difficult to find many people to labrish with these days. Seems like everyone gaan PC. But here this. Gossiping is good! And if you’re not doing it you are missing out, according to professors at the University of Pavia in Italy. They discovered (don’t ask me how) that having a good natter about others is good for your health as it releases oxytocin. Oxytocin, for the unscientific among us, is the pleasure or happy hormone. The body releases oxytocin during mother and child bonding, when we touch each other, and before and after sex. So if you are not involved in any of the above you can still get your oxytocin fix from a good gossip. So go on, treat yourself, talk ‘bout everybody you know. Itch up inna people business (but if dem tump you down, don’t call me!) Me hear say Miss Matti husband…”
What makes this book relevant and accessible is that Lovelock weaves her own philosophy on life through these once-published opinion pieces, creating a seamless fabric textured with facts, street wisdom, and humor.
As funny as some of her contemplations are, readers are assaulted with the immediacy and reality of some of the subjects she tackles, like the reality of police stop and search of black men, human rights and sexual assault perpetrated by celebrities. She handles these topics respectfully, not just with her own take on it, but also with concrete examples of incidences and their outcomes. In this way, lessons are learned and readers are left to ponder.
A quick and enjoyable read, Lovelock’s book does what it set out to do, share contemporary stories, anecdotes and wisdom to lighten the load many carry just navigating through the 21st Century. She even throws out Jamaican proverbs to warn and teach us to live fully, yet with eyes open.
When was the last you heard these tidbits of wisdom?
“Fiyah deh a musmus battam, im tink a kool breeze!
Mi cum yah fi drink, mi nuh cum fi count cow!”
Take these traditional oral lessons and run with it, as Lovelock has in her own life. A lawyer, lecturer, legal consultant, writer and radio presenter, this British Jamaican woman is the perfect example of how to carve out your own future in an unpredictable world. And this book reflects her colorful life journey.
Dawn A. Davis is a freelance writer for Caribbean Today.
Review published in Caribbean Today, November 2019