The Other Side of Paradise
No one knew Staceyann’s mother was pregnant until a dangerously small baby was born on the floor of her grandmother’s house in Jamaica, on Christmas Day. Staceyann’s mother did not want her, and her father was not present. No one, except her grandmother, thought Staceyann would survive. It was her grandmother who nurtured and protected and provided for Staceyann and her older brother in the early years. But when the three were separated, Staceyann was thrust, alone, into an unfamiliar and dysfunctional home in Paradise, Jamaica. .
Told with grace, humor, and courage, Chin plumbs tender and unsettling memories as she writes about drifting from one home to the next, coming out as a lesbian, finding the man she believes to be her father, and ultimately, discovering her voice. .
Writer Staceyann Chin: Off The Shelf
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Questions for Discussion
1. Though The Other Side of Paradise is filled with unforgettable stories, which scenes were the most memorable for you? Which were the most shocking, the most inspiring, the funniest?
2. Discuss the significance of the title and what it means to Staceyann. What does paradise mean to Staceyann? How does her depiction of Jamaica compare to what you know about the country?
3. Grandma Bernice was a religious woman and Staceyann was raised to put her faith in God. Discuss the role of religion in the communities that Staceyann grew up in. How did the religious beliefs of the people around her manifest themselves in Staceyann’s life? Discuss Staceyann’s relationship to religion.
4. Delano tries to explain to Staceyann that they are different because they are “Chiney Royal” and are therefore “whiter” than most people (p. 16). Discuss the different ways people in the book talk about race. Are race and class related? How so?
5. The memoir is dedicated to Sta see more