What I Loved:
I really enjoyed the location for A Reason for Living. Set in Kingston, Jamaica in the 1960s, there were Civil Rights movements happening, and I really liked reading a story that was surrounded by this time in history. It was a new subject for me, and I appreciated learning about the events of the time and how people reacted to them.
How I Felt:
The characters in this story focus on Howard, Bernaldo, and Robin. I really felt that the main character was Howard, and the other two men took more of a supporting role. Howard lost his mother and seems deeply troubled by it. He is a bit lost through most of this story and doesn’t know how to move forward. He was a polarizing character. There were times where my heart went out to him and other times where he was frustrating and irritating. I appreciate how the author was able to pull so many emotions out of me through his writing.
The story focuses on Howard and his relationships with his friends and sexual partners. The treatment of women was difficult to read in this book. There is a lot of use and abuse of women, and I wouldn’t recommend this to young readers. Aside from the sexual nature of this book, the story follows these three characters and their experiences through the Civil Rights movement. The poverty and destitution of the people of Jamaica are written with such detail, I felt completely immersed in the story.
Content Warnings: Graphic sexual scenes and rape.
Overall, this was a well-written book that drew out strong emotions from me. A Reason for Living is a book that will pull you into the story and captivate you with the characters and events.
To Read or Not To Read:
I would recommend A Reason for Living for mature readers only. The sexual discussions in this story do not make it suitable for a younger audience. If you enjoy stories about life’s struggles and finding your way in difficult times.
Where to Find This Book:
A Reason for Living by Julian Jingles is available at these sites.
It is the mid-1960s in Kingston, Jamaica, and the country is steeped in social, political, and economic inequities.
Howard Baxter, the heir to a real estate empire, has no interest in seeking or managing wealth. Painting and deflowering Jamaican maidens are his passions. As he combs the streets looking for greater meaning in his pathetic life, it soon becomes apparent that Howard’s journey will not be easy.
Bernaldo Lloyd, a member of the Baxter clan, is a medical student who is sensitive to the hopelessness of the Jamaican masses. Inspired by his close friend and Howard’s cousin, Ras Robin Pone, and their ties with the Rastafari movement that calls for social and economic equity, Bernaldo is determined to overthrow the corrupt government.
As Howard, Bernaldo and Robin become influenced by The American Black Power and Civil Rights movements demanding equal rights for African Americans, the women in their lives both love and criticize them. But when revolution breaks out, Howard finally discovers a purpose for his twisted life that leads him in a direction he never anticipated.
In this tale of love, passion, and self-discovery, three Jamaican men become caught up in a 1960s revolution that reveals injustices, oppression, and a purpose for one of them.
Just the Facts:
- A Reason for Living by Julian Jingles
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Page Count: 372 pages
- Publisher: URLink Print & Media, LLC
- Pub Date: October 8, 2019
Raymond Arthur Julian Reynolds aka Julian Jingles, is a writer, filmmaker, and entrepreneur and operates in New York, USA, and Jamaica, W.I. He began his writing career in 1966 at 16 years old, writing A Reason For Living about a family caught up in a revolution in Jamaica in the mid-1960s. It was written in three drafts and completed in 1968.
He pursued a career in journalism at the Gleaner Company in Kingston, Jamaica writing extensively on the Jamaican music industry, cultural, and social issues. At age 22 he was a columnist writing Merry Go Round, and In the Saddle for the Gleaner, and Record Shop for the Star. He has published several articles, short stories, and essays in Swing, and Cooyah, magazines, the Abeng, and Public Opinion newspapers, in Jamaica.
He immigrated to the United States in 1972 to write two screenplays, “Half Breed,” and “One Way Out.” In New York he has written for the New York Amsterdam News, the Jamaica Weekly Gleaner (NA), Everybody’s magazine, JET, the Daily Challenge, the New York Daily News, the Carib News, and as a foreign correspondent for the Gleaner in Jamaica. He developed an interest in film and television production, and received training in script writing, film, theater, and television directing and production, with the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and wrote and produced three documentary films, “Jamaican Gun Court” (1974), “It All Started With The Drums” (1987), and “Jammin’ In Jamaica–With The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari” (1996), and directed the latter two. He has also worked as production manager on several music videos with performers such as Kool & the Gang, the Manhattans, and Steel Pulse.
Between 1998 to 2018 he contributed frequently to the In Focus section of the Jamaica Sunday Gleaner, writing on socio-economic and cultural issues. He has been an entrepreneur as he pursues his literary career, involved in business consultancy with the National Minority Business Council in New York, and the importing, exporting and distribution of agro-products between Jamaica and the United States, and have produced several music concerts, and stage plays in New York, and Kingston.
He was married in 1972 to Charmaine Jasmine, who is deceased. He has three children, 11 grandchildren, and one great grand, and continues living in New York, and Jamaica.
I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.