Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo – Book review

Girl, Woman, Other has been on my TBR for too long, so I’m SO pleased to have finally read it. Also, I really wish I had read it sooner, as it was brilliant. (Side note: Bernardine Evaristo is actually from the same part of South-East London as me. This has no affect on anything, it’s just a random fact and I like the fact she’s a local author!)

Obviously there’s the hype-trap when it comes to books that hit bestseller lists, are talked about so much and win prestigious prizes (The Booker Prize 2019 in this case) but Girl, Woman, Other deserves the praise. In my humble opinion.

A celebration of women

Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives of 12, primarily black, British women. Set mainly in the UK (with one or two jaunts to other places), the range of life-scenarios, experiences, ages and stories that all link in subtle and more obvious ways is just a joy to read about.

I loved the unique style and tone of this book – it’s written in a poetic way, not much punctuation, while weaving so many thought-provoking and important ideas and themes through its pages too. Through the different voices of the women, we learn about the experience of being a black British women, about what it means to call a place home and about the power of friendship.

There are lots of overarching themes – from its discussion on race, privilege and circumstance to the idea of gender and what it really means to be a woman, Girl, Woman, Other was just brilliant.

Bibi replied, gender’s a social construction, most of us are born male or female but the concepts of masculinity and femininity are society’s inventions, none of it is innate, are you following?

This was unlike anything I’ve read in recent times, in terms of its structure, the balancing of so many characters, the mixing of so many voices and ideas – but never once leaving you feeling confused or overwhelmed. It was just so lyrical and engrossing.

You know when you finish a book and just have to take a minute to sit back, reflect and truly digest what you’ve read? And when you do, you’re just a little bit in awe of the author? This is one of those books.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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