Review: Bernadine Evaristo’s ‘Girl, Woman, Other.’

I’m not sure this book exactly needs an introduction seeing it was the winner of the Booker Prize 2019 and became one of Barack Obama’s 19 favourite books of 2019. However, here I am, telling you about the fantastic novel Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo.

I’ve been a bit lost when it comes to reading over isolation (I’m currently isolating at home because of Covid-19) because I’ve gone from reading books 24/7 for my degree to having all the time in the world to read leisurely but not having a clue where to start. Yet, this book might have reignited my passion for reading.

For a start, who ever designed the cover of this book (yes that is important) needs commended because it is visually stunning and also very important. You definitely won’t be able to miss it in your local book store (for those wondering – it should be available in your local supermarket, I got mine from Tesco – so grab it during your essential shop!)

The book focuses on a range of black women, from all walks of life and all ages. It is an important telling of how women, importantly African women, feel in British society and how racism, sexism, homophobia, sexual and verbal abuse, transphobia and a whole load of other factors affect women in this day and age.

Evaristo manages to effortlessly intwine the stories of twelve women while making the reader feel entirely connected to their stories.

Not only that, the writing style is unique but fits perfectly with the story. Yes at points I did need to stop and think about what was happening because sentences ran onto each other and paragraphs were abruptly jolted by uncommon spacing.

However, it is this chance to stop and think that is so important. It would be rude to not think about what was happening – these women need care and attention, their stories have depth and are very complex – even in the short space of time that Evaristo grants them. The book is that well written you’d think you were reading stories of women who have ventured the earth before.

Most importantly, and what grips the reader right through the novel, is her ability to connect the women together. The novel is separated into chapters, each containing several women who are either related or close friends. The women explored in each chapter, also connect to someone previously mentioned in a different chapter. To me, on a simple basis, this made the novel special. The reader gets to continually connect the dots and figure out the complexity of the relationships, which mirrors the complicated relationships we have as humans.

It must be acknowledged that yes, I am a white straight female, however this does not mean I do not relate to the stories Evaristo has created. Of course I do not relate to all of them and that is why it is so important to read this novel because every women can relate to at least a part of this and if you are reading this and do not identify as a female, think about what you can learn from such a novel.

I promise there is something for everyone in this and wholeheartedly hope you will read it.

If you’ve already encountered Evaristo’s fantastic novel I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below and if you have any book recommendations send them my way.

Thanks for reading and see you soon,

Sophie x


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