Highwind in Jamaica
by Richard Hughes
It is safe to say that I would probably never have heard of the book, A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes, if it were not for the much debated list of the Best 100 Books of the Century. I started to read the preface, but quit as it seemed to be giving away the plot. The book was a quick read, and it was charming. It seems to me to be a combination of a child's fantasy of running away to sea or joining the circus, and a parent's worst nightmare of their children disappearing. There were a few places where the author seemed to go off on a tangent, and I was looking at page numbers to be sure none had stuck together. They were tangents, but the author always meandered back to the point. I was constantly reminding myself that I do that all the time in conversation; it didn't hurt me to be the one trying to stick to the story for a change. The preface of the book at one point stated that nothing bad happened after the first chapter. I must differ from this assessment. Bad things did happen, both to the children, and by the children. The book still managed to be charming. Perhaps it is the sensibilities of today that make it seem so. Today what happened to the characters would have been described in graphic terms, and in lurid detail. The bad things were mentioned, but not dwelt upon, in fact they were almost lightly brushed over. I am still trying to figure out the focus of the story, but each time I think I have it another aspect of it interrupts my thoughts. In the main though, I think it is the adventures and thoughts of a ten year old girl and her trip from Jamaica to England.