Review: Girl, Woman, Other

  • Title: Girl, Woman, Other
  • Author: Bernardine Evaristo
  • Genre: Contemporary fiction
  • Year: 2019
  • Synopsis: 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. Joyfully polyphonic and vibrantly contemporary, this is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible.

Just two days ago I finished reading this book. It seemed appropriate to share the review on March 8th, which is International Women’s Day.

Girl, Women, Other follows the story of 12 black British women. The main topics covered in the novel are race, gender orientation, socioeconomic status, and family relations. They are illustrated through the experiences of each character, exemplifying how environment and context can greatly impact one’s future. How gap and privilege have existed for centuries and still linger in today’s society.

While each character is unique, they have different ages and hence different experiences and points of view, they share something in common: most have experienced discrimination or oppression due to their background, gender, race, or all of these factors combined. Yet they kept moving forward, despite adversity.

I enjoyed the book better when the connection between the stories became more evident. My favorite parts were Hattie’s chapter and the epilogue.

The writing style was a bit hard to get used to. The author purposely dismisses punctuation marks, blending prose and verse, making it hard to follow at times. And despite being labeled a novel, it felt more like an intertwined collection of short stories. But I guess she wanted this book to stand out in every way possible, just like the characters themselves.

I am no expert in the subjects discussed here, so this book gave me a lot to reflect on. I found it interesting how the author mentions other authors and books that are worth researching further. I’m glad I read it, and if you’re looking forward to educating yourself, I highly suggest you read it.

Rating: 4 / 5

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