Perry grew up in British Guyana, the second daughter in a middle-class family of six. Despite its socioeconomic standing, her family struggled with poverty and survived in part on the generosity of wealthier relatives. Perry weaves together vignettes of her neighbors and family, painting a rich portrait of a country on the cusp of change. While she touches on aspects of Guyana’s independence, mostly she examines her own escape from poverty through education. Additionally, she contrasts her experiences with those of the country as it gained independence, giving readers a detailed portrait of a tumultuous time. Perry’s prose boasts rich imagery and compelling rhythm. However, the individual stories—which work well as discrete tales—feel disconnected, and readers will have trouble understanding how they connect to form an overarching tale—if an overarching tale was even intended. Readers will lose track of the characters and their connections to each other, but they will also appreciate the poignancy and drama of individual moments.