Frying Plaintain by Zalika Reid-Benta

Hello and happy Tuesday bookish friends! Today I’m delighted to share my review of Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid Benta ♥️


In her brilliantly incisive debut, Zalika Reid-Benta artfully depicts the tensions between mothers and daughters, second-generation immigrants and first-generation cultural expectations, and Black identity and predominately white society.

Kara Davis is a girl caught in the middle ? of her Canadian nationality and her desire to be a ‘true’ Jamaican, of her mother and grandmother’s rages and life lessons, of having to avoid being thought of as too ‘faas’ or too ‘quiet’ or too ‘bold’ or too ‘soft’.

Set in Toronto’s ‘Little Jamaica’, Kara moves from girlhood to the threshold of adulthood, from elementary school to high school graduation, in these twelve interconnected stories.

A rich and unforgettable portrait of growing up between worlds, Frying Plantain shows how, in one charged moment, friendship and love can turn to enmity and hate, well-meaning protection can become control, and teasing play can turn to something much darker.

My Thoughts

Frying Plantain is essentially a collection of short but interlinking stories about a girl name Kara; a Canadian national who is grappling with her Jamaican roots and trying to make sense of exactly who she is.  I wouldn’t call this book a collection of short stories in the conventional sense, as each one is about Kara and is a snapshot of a particular or noteworthy moment in her life.  I’d say it reads more like an abridged biography.


I was completely lost in this book: I was captivated by Reid-Benta’s direct and polished prose and how it threw Kara’s life experiences into such sharp relief and I was awed by the clarity with which I could hear Kara’s thoughts seeping off every page.


Frying Plantain is a coming of age novel; an exploration of identity, culture and education.  I felt drawn to hearing about the pressures and the tensions in Kara’s experiences of mother-daughter relationships.  Further; I was engrossed by Reid-Benta’s depictions of the struggles of Kara’s family, for being both first and second generation Jamaican immigrants who were trying to build their lives in Canada.


Intelligent, engaging and razor sharp; I enjoyed every page of Frying Plantain and would recommend it!


Frying Plantain is out now in hardback and you can buy it here.  My thanks go to Dialogue Books for my beautiful finished copy.

Hope you all have a lovely day!

Until next time!

@mrscookesbooks ♥️

Published by Mrs Cooke

👩🏽‍💻📚I read and shout 📣 about books 👯‍♀️owner of 2 book-loving Littles 🌳village dweller ✍️stationery fiend 🍸gin enthusiast 📩DM for reviews etc 💌

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