Popsugar Reading Challenge 2021 Book 29

Prompt: A book found on a Black Lives Matter reading list

Lots of readers have made a conscious effort to make their book choices more diverse in the last 18 months and there are some fantastic lists of suggestions for fiction and non-fiction books. I chose a book that I have been meaning to read for a long time, Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo.

What it’s about?

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.

What I think:

I must admit that, despite being an avid reader, most Booker Prize Winners do not appeal to me in the slightest. But having met Bernardine Evaristo at an event at Brunel University before the book was even published I though I would be brave.

There’s probably not much I can say about this book that hasn’t already been said but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It’s surprisingly easy to read, compelling and witty. The stories and characters each have distinct voices that weave together to show the many different lives black women live in Britain. Different generations are facing different struggles for acceptance and education, race and gender identity.

The stories could each be developed into something far longer and my one criticism was there were some characters I wanted to know more about and their stories move on too quickly.

There’s no real plot as such. Just portraits of women. I particularly enjoyed the stories of Bummi, an immigrant from Nigeria who has a far more complex and interesting life than her daughter, Carole, believes.

This books is not going to appeal to everyone. It’s definitely a book that made me think about feminism and race in particular and its made me interested in reading some of Evaristo’s earlier work.

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