This has been sitting in my Drafts folder for months, waiting for the perfect time for me to sit down and finish this review. On the day after International Women’s Day, 2015, my Intuition nudged me gently: “It is time.” So, though the confession in this introduction belies the first line (“just” was last year sometime…) please enjoy the review, released when it was needed. Happy belated International Women’s Day!
I have just finished reading Senseisha: Memoirs of the Caribbean Woman and all I have to say is – WOW.
The book is a collection short stories based on real life interactions of love, life and sexual experiences. It takes a hard look at life from the Caribbean woman’s perspective. In the Editor’s Note, the editors Juliette Maughn and Shakirah Bourne comment that, “There aren’t enough stories about positive female sensuality, exploring sexual pleasure, self-love or finding sexual fulfillment after abuse. Caribbean women’s realities were severely missing.” In my humble opinion, Seneisha fills that gap quite well. The editors said that they expected to be overrun with erotica but, instead, they had to expand their scope to include categories like first time experiences, coming out stories, love and intimacy and overcoming abuse.
As a man, I was really excited to get into this book. Like the editors, I anticipated a flurry of sexual stories. And there are a lot of them. I did feel like a voyeur a lot of the time – “The Younger Man” made my breath hitch as the author described their passionate love-making session, and “The Driveway” had me at the edge of my seat while the author described the thrill of being out with a married man. But this anthology of stories went deeper than the mechanics of sex. There was the little girl’s confusion of being ashamed of her first period (“The Visitor.”) There was the lady shamed for her lesbian feelings by the church she grew up in, which led her to self-harm, until she met another girl … I won’t spoil it for you. (“My Sexuality and My Church.”) Societal taboos were touched on, as well as the fear and confusion of being used for sex and discarded – “Even if they treated me badly, I just wanted to be with someone who would not discard me.” (“Picture Records”)
I loved the “Dessert after Dessert” story as well – love and intimacy brilliantly expressed. Ooops. I feel like a voyeur again.
The painful recounting of the “Diary of a Punching Bag” had a sick fascination for me. I could not look away as I was forced to see domestic abuse up close. Once again a voyeur, but not one with stickiness and good feelings.
I herald each and every story, and the courage faced by every single lady who penned them. Senseisha is well rounded, and I believe is well summarized by this quote at the end of “Picture Records”, “I believe that self-love is the key to the empowerment of girls and women, especially with regard to sexuality and relationships.” Self love is the reason this book was written. This is definitely a deep volume of work. You shall be challenged reading this – I was.
In order to get your own copy of Senseisha: Memoirs of the Caribbean Woman you can check out the AMAZON LINK here – http://www.amazon.com/Senseisha-Memoirs-Caribbean-Various-Authors/dp/9769564923 and connect with Senseisha via their FB link here – https://www.facebook.com/SenseishaAnthology