If you’ve read our book reviews previously, then you know that we are huge fans of Candice Carty-Williams’ 1st novel Queenie and all of the feels it left us with, so when People Person was released, you know we were going to get our hands on this book! This week on the blog, we review People Person and share our thoughts!
When aspiring influencer, Dimple Pennington’s life gets flipped up side down in a freak accident, she takes a huge step and reaches out to her 5 siblings, whom she knows about but for all intents and purposes are complete strangers. Their only commonality is the fact that all of them share in the disappointment of being Cyril Pennington’s children; abandoned and left wanting.
Nikisha : Eldest daughter, self-appointed leader and no nonsense personality
Danny : Eldest son, the only bi-racial child in the bunch, quiet, pensive type
Lizzie : “Elizabeth”, the blunt, direct and often rude “middle” child, who is vocal against most things
Dimple : Born a week after Lizzie, the most emotional and ego focused of the bunch
Prynce : Youngest, optimistic, happy go lucky and the most free spirited
Cyril : Father to 5 kids, to 4 different women, none of which he parented
Kyron : Dimple’s on again and off again, very controlling boyfriend
Break It Down
The biggest “drama” in the story is the manner in which the siblings “reunite”, after only ever meeting once; due to Kyron’s attempt to assault Dimple; slipping on some fallen oil and bashing his head open. In the melay, Dimple panics, too scared to call the police, she makes a quick decision to call her eldest half-sibling, whom she really has no relationship with. Nikisha, sensing this is something major, calls all of her other siblings, Danny, Lizzie & Prynce and they all show up at Dimple’s home to come to her rescue. Unbeknownst to any of them, what they would land on at Dimple’s house, but they make a pact that they will all stick together and support each other no matter what, despite the fact that they are essentially strangers. If there is a central theme throughout the book, it’s the fact that despite the circumstance(s) or their mixed feelings, they all choose each other, family. Even though their father was in no way a father to either of them and simply didn’t have the capacity to be what they needed, it was never really explored the reasons behind that. That being said, while some might be disappointed at that fact, I think it made sense, because, sadly in many Caribbean households, this storyline is the case and closure isn’t something we always get.
One thing I feel like I would have preferred, was for Dimple to be the one to confront Kyron and stand up for herself; she had photos of the bruises he left on her, why she didn’t stand in her power and tell him if he chose to publish the naked photos of her, she would go public with the abusive ones she had of him. I understand why Nikisha might have needed to be there for support, but I think it would have been much better for Dimple’s character development if she was the one who took her power back. Throughout the book, it felt like Dimple was always on the verge of an emotional breakdown and that she needed constant reassurance and support, so I really would have preferred if at any point in the book she stepped into that. Especially as at one point, she stated that she was a Cancer and that if pushed Cancers would be forced to use their pinchers, this legit never happened.
I felt like the build up was more “dramatic” than when it actually came to a conclusion in the book. I found Dimples’ character a little annoying, yes she was going through an emotional roller coaster with Kyron’s accident, attempting to bury his body and his eventual escape. I just could not relate to her inability to stand up for herself and her constant need to shed loads of tears at the smallest word in her direction. Definitely the most emotional one out of the bunch, but in some ways she’s the most self-centred, because despite her wanting to get to know her siblings more, she spends most of her time making most situations about herself. Her deep desire to find a connection with Cyril who clearly has 0 interest in maintaining any sort of relationship with any of his kids; clouds her judgment as she continues to lend him money she knows she will never get back. I don’t understand how many times she has to get rejected before she realizes it’s a complete waste of her time. I’m sure it’s hard for her to try to understand why Cyril wouldn’t want to have a relationship with her or with the rest of his kids, but I felt like she was old enough or should have been older enough to simply move on, as it was causing her more harm in the long run.
Book Club Questions
Q: Carty-Williams writes in chapter nine: “You aren’t a bad person, you did what you had to do. Women are just made to feel bad for making the choices that they need to make…. Stand in your choices, little sister. That’s all the advice I can offer you.” Why do you think that was important for Dimple to hear from Nikisha?
A: I feel like this was the author’s and Nikisha’s way of getting Dimple to stand in her power and to stop thinking like a victim, like things simply happen to her and Dimple simply shying away from the challenge. I also feel like it was a social commentary on how women are shamed if they aren’t the primary caregivers of their children, but when it comes to men- we simply shrug and accept it as a reality.
Q: Dimple reflects on the fact that outside of her mom she doesn’t have any friends. How has this loneliness informed her decisions over the course of her life?
A: 100% Dimple’s mother choosing to isolate her, allowed for her to lose her sense of self and her inability to stand up for herself, because she was so desperate to be accepted by anyone. Her constant need to apologize and in some ways, being clingy-it was very evident that she was the one sibling who didn’t have a “life” and in some ways needed the siblings more than the siblings needed her but saying that she was also the family glue.
Q: Early on, the five Pennington siblings are introduced to one another for the first time at their father’s insistence. Despite his lack of involvement in their lives, Cyril is taken aback when the outing doesn’t go how he expected. Why do you think he was so adamant for the children to meet? If the interaction went well, do you think it would’ve changed his relationship with his children?
A: I feel like this was Cyril’s attempt at making amends and trying to connect with them all and in some ways to make them feel like a “family”. The fact that he’s utterly clueless about all of their personalities and how to be a parent- it all falls apart. In some ways, this meeting is what sets the precedent for their encounter and interactions as adults, so maybe this event does shape them more than we all think. I’m not entirely sure if this event worked out well, then Cyril would have been a better father, because it seemed too late by that point, but its something we will never know or be able to understand.
Would We Recommend
I would recommend the story because it was an interesting read none the less and the storyline wasn’t overly complex or confusing, so definitely worth a read. On the back of how much I loved her 1st book Queenie, I thought I would have loved this book much more, but yes still worth picking up.
3.5 out of 5