Identities: A short story collection and the corresponding discussion guide are available on Amazon
Review of Identities, A short Story Collection by Dr. Yabome Gilpin-Jackson:
Reviewer: Gayle Dzis*
When my friend gave me her scholarly daughter’s book of short stories, I was expecting something rather dry and heavily pedantic that I would be obliged to lie about for diplomatic reasons. My bias was showing and I was wrong. My first impression was: Wow! Dynamite! So succinct! But my second reaction was that these ten stories deserve more meaningful reaction than that so I am trying to rationalize my emotional response.
This group of enhanced memories is fiction to be sure but almost too true. They are delightfully written in a light, loving and imaginative hand. They are carefully honed to offer a unique insight into the socially complex world of the child “from away.” I particularly enjoyed the use of patois in the dialogue.
  • A delicate problem confronts an urban working girl . The long stultifying commute so familiar to workers the world over takes a twist in the elevator to the office. There our protagonist is asked, “Where are you from?” by someone she has never met. How should she respond? Should she be offended?  What are the ramifications?  The niceties of the situation must be read to be appreciated.
  • A working daughter and son are suddenly wrenched from their yuppie Vancouver life style by their parents to return home to a country they have never seen. An identify crisis of the privileged ensues.
  • Yabome attended undergrad in Sierra Leone in the early nineties, interesting times. From this experience, several short stories take generation. We follow the couple, M and M, from the campus student experience, to their escape from rebels who kill students and through civil war survival techniques to their new North American immigrant identity. First generation North Americans will see themselves in the struggles of this young couple, which while similar, poses unique identity crises for each.
  • Ebola is the source of yet another type of identity crisis when an adopted child raises the question of her origin.
The stories, while an end in themselves, spark thoughtful reverie.  Yabome has written a follow up book so that readers, book clubs and teachers have questions for discussion. I re-read the stories and my reaction was to buy five more books from Amazon as gifts for friends.
Dear Yabome,  Thank you for Identities, an explosive read. I hope there are more stories to come.

~~~

*GAYLE DZIS is a retired educator, with degrees in History, English and Philosophy who continues to offer writing workshops in Ontario. She has developed a life history writing course and teaches individuals and groups how to put life stories into manuscript form.  As a memoir workshop facilitator, she facilitates student production of a manuscript or tape which could be considered a primary document for historical purposes. Over the last ten years several of her students have self-published books in the Family History and Personal Life History genres. Books written and published by Gayle (1,2 &4) or written by students as class projects (4,5 &6)

  • Write Your Memoirs~Everybody Can
  • Book 1: Before You Begin Second Edition, 2009
  • Book 2: Get Organized Second Edition , 2013
  • Book 3: Write Now, 2006
  • Book 4: Memoirs Around the Table, 2006
  • Book 5: Etobicoke Connections, 2007
  • Book 6: More Memoirs Around the Table, 2008