Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid (1990). Nineteen-year-old Lucy happily leaves her West Indian home and domineering mother to work as an au pair for a well-off and well-meaning American family. But as she develops a new sense of self and independence, she is forced to grapple with life as an outsider, a servant, and a woman of color in a country obsessed with race yet blind to history. Conveyed in Kincaid’s stinging yet poetic prose, Lucy’s awakening illuminates the divides between power and powerlessness, complacency and outrage, comfort and justice.

Total Points: 6 (TCB 6)