Books in Print

olympic gardens cover_award

Olympic Gardens is a coming-of-age novel set in Jamaica. It recevied the prestigious 2009 Lorna Goodison Caribbean Award for Transformative Literature at the Tamarind Festival of Caribbean Literature in D.C.  Mary Hanna of the Jamaica Observer Newspaper says, “Olympic Gardens, is a powerful invocation of the life of an unwanted child. Bonner writes with a keen eye for telling events…records the Creole speech of Roderick with panache, not missing a beat or lyrical nuance. Bonner has anchored her narrative to the island with asides and full episodes that are Jamaican in nature.”

THEY SAY…

Olympic Gardens is a good read! I asked myself who will read it? At first I resisted it. It was different. It was not about a culture I knew. Then I found Roderick getting to me, growing on me, a forgotten boy, learning to find himself in a strange place. He reminds me of boys everywhere. What did I do? And he discovers a friend in Chloe. Their feelings are felt. Thanks Andrene. It was very poignant! It reminds me of the child in us all!

                                                                —Brenda Engler, Reading Specialist

Andrene…your darling book… should be in every school library in Jamaica and on curriculae. I think your future stories will need to give kids who may have suffered similar alienation, hope.

—Rachel Manley, Author: Drumblair: Memories of A Jamaican Childhood; Slipstream: A Daughter Remembers, and Horses in Her Hair: A Granddaughter’s Story

Andrene’s Olympic Gardens is strong, touching, gripping, and steeped in the true-to-life experience of Jamaican culture.

—Lynn Quitman Troyka, Ph.D., Author: Simon & Schuster Handbook for Writers and Quick Access Reference for Writers

In Olympic Gardens, a captivating coming-of-age novel, Andrene Bonner has recreated a forgotten period of Jamaica’s history as seen through the eyes of a precocious, fatherless boy who is growing up in what will become one of the meanest ghettoes in Kingston.

—Geoffrey Philp, Author: Who’s Your Daddy?: And Other Stories

A profound and intimate account of abandonment, loss, friendship and hope. Andrene Bonner is an excellent storyteller. This book gives its readers the rare look inside the life and plight of a struggling Jamaican young man determined to rise against the odds.

                                               —Janet Henry Coley, English Teacher

In Olympic Gardens, Andrene Bonner created a work of fiction but the characters and situations are rooted in reality: abandonment and friendship, an outcast with a desire to fit in, and a fighter who must learn to get along, are all part and parcel of Roderick’s life story, as well as, part of the fabric of life in the Olympic Gardens in which I grew up. Thanks Andrene for your poignant storytelling and for awakening latent memories.

—Devon Harris, Author: Yes I Can 

I have sometimes forgotten some of the sights and sounds of the real Jamaica. Thank you Andrene for making me laugh, cry and cry. I love your work, so simple. Look forward to more books from you. Brilliant work.

—Lorna Owens, Author: Everyday Grace Everyday Miracle: Living The Life You Were Born to Live, International Speaker, Host of…and the women gather radio     

I read Olympic Gardens in a few hours while riding NY transit. I was transported back to the old days by your use of folkways and folklore of Jamaica. I also was remembering David Copperfield my favorite Dickens. It all ended too soon, in any event the reader will “remember.” More!—Vena Baker, Retired Nurse  

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