Girl, Woman, Other- Bernardine Evaristo (physical book, new read)
‘Teeming with life and crackling with energy — a love song to modern Britain and black womanhood
Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.’
I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this book because whilst I love contemporaries, I tend not to like short stories, however, I very quickly got into the unusual writing style and I loved this book! I think the ways in which the characters were interconnected kept a flow and helped to make the book feel like a whole story rather than short stories. I loved the way that Evaristo raised discussions around feminism, gender and race through the perspectives of the characters- I began to think deeply about these issues and the discussions that the characters were having. The way in which these issues were interspersed felt very natural and I feel that the different opinions voiced through the characters multiple perspectives allow the reader to form their own opinions. Through this writing style the reader can be part of the discussions without the authors distinguishing a ‘right or wrong’ perspective- that said it is important to note that there are a number of issues raised within this story that are clearly wrong such as examples of racism and domestic abuse. I found the conversations about race between Amma, Dominique and Nzinga and Morgan’s feelings surrounding gender as a construct to be particularly interesting:
‘Amma thought she was accusing them of being too white or at best, in-authentically black, she’d come across it before, foreigners equating an English accent with whiteness, she always felt the need to speak up when it was implied that black Brits were inferior to African-Americans or Africans or West Indians’ (Amma)
‘women are designed to have babies, not to play with dolls, and why shouldn’t women sit with their legs wide open (if they’re wearing trousers obv) and what does mannish or manly mean anyway? walking with long strides? being assertive? taking charge? wearing ‘male’ clothes? not wearing makeup? unshaved legs? shaved head (lol), drinking pints instead of wine? preferring football to online makeup tutorials (yawn), and traditionally men wear makeup and skirts in parts of the world so why not in ours without being accused of being ‘effeminate’? what does effeminate actually mean when you break it down? (Morgan)
This book was engaging and fast paced; I would say by the last quarter I read it a little more slowly as there were so many new characters, but overall I felt that every character was interesting (although Amma and Yazz are maybe my favourites as the ones I got to know first). I would recommend this book- although I’m sure you’ve heard of it already haha- I loved it 😊
Favourite/meaningful quote (there were many):
“… ageing is nothing to be ashamed of
especially when the entire human race is in it together”
‘white people are only required to represent themselves, not an entire race’
Good Omens- Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett (audiobook, new read)
‘What if, for once, the predictions are right, and the Apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?
It’s a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon, now find themselves in. They’ve been living amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse.
Now people have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day.
You could spend the time left drowning your sorrows, giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture, or laughing it off as (hopefully) just another hoax. Or you could just try to do something about it.
And then there’s the small matter that someone appears to have misplaced the Antichrist . . ‘
I do like a story with sarcasm/black humour- especially because I read lots of heavy stories with sad themes or dark characters. I wouldn’t say I naturally gravitate towards ‘funny’ books, but I do enjoy reading a book like Good Omens every once in a while. 😊 I enjoyed this book and found it to be funny with a good pace and balance of humour throughout- I also appreciated Crowley’s admiration of Queen and Bohemian Rhapsody. I listened to this audiobook which I think worked well for this book- although half with through I did lose the thread a little bit, sometimes an issue with audiobooks is my attention can drift. Overall, I don’t have too much to say, but I’d recommend this book if it sounds like something you’d like, and I’m excited to watch the tv programme at some point (I think this might be a rare occasion where the show is just as good/better than the book).
‘Most books on witchcraft will tell you that witches work naked. This is because most books on witchcraft are written by men.’
Thank you for reading, please let me know if you’ve read either of these books 🙂