“We need to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past and to deepen our understanding of who we are as the human race” – Bernardine Evaristo
I would like to start out this review by thanking NetGalley for my review copy of this book. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo was published in May, 2019. It is the joint winner of the 2019 Man Booker Prize, alongside The Testaments by Margaret Atwood.
I have read a few of the past Man Booker Prize winners (Milkman, Lincoln in the Bardo, The Sellout) and I must say that I did not particularly enjoy them. I am ashamed to say that I put off reading Girl, Woman, Other based on the fact that I did not like the past winners. This book has been on my to-read list for months, but I have been constantly pushing it back in favour of something else. Then one day last week I woke up to the notification that the publisher had accepted my request for a review copy, so I took that as a sign and started reading immediately. I am so glad that I finally gave this book a chance, because Girl, Woman, Other is hands down my favourite book of 2019 so far.
I was enthralled from the beginning. The book starts out with the story of Amma, a black female playwright who lives in London. Amma’s life story is told, followed by that of her daughter, and some of her best friends. Each chapter of the book tells the story of a different character, each of whom is connected in some way with one of the others. (I must be purposefully vague here in order to avoid giving anything away.) The book follows 12 characters in total, primarily female, black, and British. The stories span centuries and generations. When a book involves so many characters, I often worry that not every character will get the full attention that they deserve. Perhaps that some characters may be neglected in favour of other more interesting ones. This is not the case with Girl, Woman, Other; I found myself satisfied with the story that was told about every single character in this book.
The primary themes in this book are gender and race – two topics that are vastly important in society. The way that the author approaches these themes is truly flawless. This book opened my eyes in many ways, and really made me realise that I live a life of privilege compared with others out there. I think that every single person who reads this book will learn at least one valuable lesson about life. I am honestly in awe of Bernardine Evaristo. She has written a brilliant novel, perhaps one of the best that I have ever read. I am already looking forward to reading it again.
If there is one thing that I want you to take away from this review it is this: I firmly believe that everyone would benefit from reading this book. Please just trust me here.
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.
Bernardine Evaristo is a British author. Girl, Woman, Other is her eighth novel. Her mother is English and her father is Nigerian. Evaristo writes novels is various mixes of prose and poetry.
Girl, Woman, Other is one of the best books that I have ever read. I strongly believe that everyone should read this book.
My rating: ★★★★★
Have you read this book? Let’s chat about it in the comments below!
Waterstones (UK): here
Amazon (US): here
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