I find it refreshing to go on a journey with a narrator, watching their life unfold in front of them and follow their thoughts and actions as they process what it means in the grand scheme of their life. Wantin is a spectacular example of this, as it follows Talia as she embarks upon womanhood.
What intrigued me most about Wantin was the book itself. The book is white with a face being revealed from behind a splattering of vibrant colors. The face appears to be that of a young girl looking back at the world. I was curious before reading, wanting to know the symbolism behind it. After reading it, however, I find that it is a foreshadowing of Talia’s experiences and is extremely fitting. Her story is absolutely one in which you begin by seeing things from the eyes of an inexperienced girl; however, as Talia’s journey continues, what she sees is enhanced by her growth.
Talia’s story begins when she is 6 years old in Haiti, under the care of a local nanny while her parents continue their world travels. Soon after her parents’ deaths, her aunt and uncle take her into their home in Australia, where she joins their 3 other children. The reader sees a brief, cursory look at her upbringing, but the story really picks up as she turns 21 and embarks on several years spent finding herself.
From the start, the concept of fate and divine intervention run throughout Talia’s story. From the use of Haitian voodoo to reveal unpleasant truths, to the vivid dreams she has that serve as the impetus for her next ventures, her story begs the question of whether she is destined to see, hear, and experience certain things and people. She goes about her life traveling, loving, and learningv she’s incredibly reflective, and the author portrays this in an honest way.
Talia’s story isn’t one of an simple lessons and experiences. Talia finds herself in circumstances that many people would their own contentment. But her constant questioning and thirst for understanding keep her on a moving path. Much of this is driven by her romantic entanglements with everyone from her cousin to a travel agent. The outcomes are almost never what I expect, which I appreciated. You see her grow from a somewhat self-centered young girl to a woman who learns the value of sacrifice for what is best for others?
“Wantin” is absolutely fascinating. I sat down with it and read its entirety within 48 hours – I simply couldn’t put it down. It is the first in a series, so I am eagerly waiting to get my hands on the sequel.