Girl woman other is a book that explores the different experiences of girl, women and others in the UK.
Bernardine Evaristo’s gripping tale of diversity in the experiences of womanhood made this a novel that was very difficult to put down. One could not help but feel passionately about the characters and their experiences, from rooting for the success of Carol, to being enthralled in suspense of the twist and turns of Dominique, to gasping with shock at the revelations from Winsome. This was a novel that made it impossible not to feel some kinship with multiple characters whilst also being able to see the perspectives of those I disagreed with, gaining a better understanding of the complexities of girl-hood, woman-hood and other-hood.
Evaristo superbly connects each character to another revealing a brilliant ending, leaving no sense of unfulfillment or anticlimactic sentiment for the reader.
The form of each chapter is one endless sentence with one full stop found at the end of the chapter. It allows the reader to read at their own pace as there are no stop indicators and instead the readers can pause at their own natural pauses. The form was easy to get used to as after the first two chapters, the reader can forget the lack of punctuation throughout the novel. The grouping of the chapters, although seeming random at first does in fact make perfect sense. Evaristo creates an ingenious novel, that allows the readers to enjoy the journey whilst the book reveals more of itself in each chapter.
The book covers a variety of themes, from gender identity, to imprisonment and abuse, to racism, infidelity, and identity politics. The book not only offers the perspective of the victims but demonstrates how our actions can make others fell like victims in one form or another. The stories that Evaristo creates through weaving together the different themes is both brilliant and thought provoking.
This is not only a book that appeals to your head, through its beautiful language and lexical choices, but one that appeals to your heart through the gripping experiences of the characters described in the novel. This is a book that I will recommend to all, it is a book that I have not stopped thinking about since reading it, and it is a book that I could read a thousand times over and still fall in love with it again and again. Although I do not think that this was a perfect book, I do think that it is a book worthy of 5 stars out of 5.
Thank you for reading.