Henrietha : Joyce M. Johnson
A pair of novellas about friendship and endurance in the face of hardship.
In the titular story, Johnson introduces an unlikely pair of friends: Joanna White, a white Canadian journalist struggling to overcome the breakup of her long-term relationship, and Henrietha Browne, a Jamaican woman who has seen her share of troubles. Henrietha relates her history of oppression and abuse as well as her quest to find autonomy in a world beset with racism, sexism and poverty.
In the process, Joanna comes to a deeper understanding of her own oppression and how her identity, while playing a role in both her successes and failures, is more of a bridge than a barrier to her communion with women of all races and backgrounds.
A smaller novella follows, Waiting for the World to Change, with a similar structure as black lawyer Susan Ottawa seeks counsel with Jamaican housekeeper Anita Kingsley. As they share their feelings about men, religion and racism, Susan sees her life in a new light and slowly opens her heart to Anita’s brand of optimistic spirituality.
Cathartic and politically thoughtful, the stories it contains look pointedly at injustices that go ignored and say things that need to be said.