Alien Nation by Jayma Anne Montgomery. A memoir to read

Alienationis a memoir told as a collection of non-chronological short stories and personal essays recounting Ms. Montgomery’s experiences as an American alien turned naturalized citizen. The book is divided into five sections, with four to six stories per section and a prologue and epilogue.

Section 1: STORIES OF IMMIGRANTS, PEOPLE OF COLOR AND THE AMERICAN DREAM

Here, the author talks about her experience as a Jamaican immigrant and a person of color in America. Through a series of progressive revelations, she realized that this country is no less hierarchical or class-oriented than any other. His outside perspective provides invaluable insight into how fairly rigid social classes are simply called by other names in the United States.

Section 2: TIGERS AND LILIES

In this section, the author addresses themes of femininity and feminism in the context of her West Indian origins. She also discusses various influences that shaped her views on womanhood, including military service, developing alopecia as a young adult, and her struggles with recurring pregnancy loss. She concludes with a tribute to her sister-in-law, whose life of hardship, loss, family conflict and ambivalence with the church community transformed her into a source of wisdom, generosity and joy.

Section 3: WEIRDOS AND HYPOCRITES

Here she talks about her experiences as an awkward teenager trying to figure out what it means to be a Christian and finding herself confused by the words and actions of the Christian adults around her. She later recounts how deconstructing her faith helped her see that the image of God painted for her was unbalanced and myopic. She ends by exploring how politics, racial tensions, the pandemic, and numerous scandals have caused her to reassess her identity as an evangelical.

Section 4: HEALING WHILE SUFFERING

In this section, the author discusses some important milestones in his medical career. She shares what it was like to practice medicine during the COVID pandemic and her harrowing experiences while working in nursing homes. Finally, she talks about the cost of medical school, her struggles managing a full-time career while raising young children, and her decision to move into part-time practice while pursuing a career as a writer.

Section 5: A TRIBE CALLED HOMELESS

In the final chapters, she describes her unique experiences as a black girl raised in an ultra-conservative Republican family and how that shaped her disengagement from politics for most of her adult life. She explores what it’s like to live in a world of perpetual culture wars, bipartisanship, polarization and extremism. As she grows increasingly disillusioned with the political spectacle that has become the new norm, she has felt increasingly estranged and alienated from this country she loves. She connects this reality to the Christian worldview, which holds that all Christians are citizens and subjects of a king and a kingdom that is a present and yet to come reality.

About the Author

Anne Jayma was born in the ghettos of Kingston, Jamaica in the 1980s. She immigrated to America at the age of five and grew up in South Jersey. She graduated from high school in 2001 and completed her undergraduate studies in 2005. Her undergraduate degree is in Biology with a minor in Psychology. From there, she attended medical school in Virginia from 2007 to 2011 through the Army scholarship program. She completed an internship in Augusta, Georgia, followed by a year-long round as a general practitioner near Savannah, Georgia. Her internal medicine residency was completed at a tri-service military hospital from 2013 to 2015. Jayma’s last duty station was Ft Eustis as an internist at an outpatient clinic. She completed her military service in December 2018 and took a job as a SNFist in the Scranton, Pennsylvania area. She then worked several other jobs and has since moved to North Carolina in January 2021. She currently works as a part-time hospitalist at a few local hospitals in Charlotte and at a long-term acute care hospital (LTACH). She is an aspiring nonfiction writer and is currently completing an online master’s degree in creative nonfiction at the University of Denver.

Her husband works in IT but also has a lot of experience in church ministry and an abundance of natural talents in instrumental music of which he is very modest. They are the proud parents of two rainbow children.

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Barry F. Howard