Girl, Woman, Other, is the story of twelve unique characters, mostly women, black and British, unified by their desire to belong. From teenagers finding their way in life, to the elderly looking back at what they’ve achieved, they all share their experiences of love, friendship and hardship. Girl, Woman, Other is Britain’s past, present and future.
Trying to write a quick synopsis of Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo is actually really hard, especially as it’s unlike any other book I have ever read. In a sentence, we follow the lives of 12 characters (11 women and one non-binary person) and their lives in Britain.
This is a particularly eye-opening read, as we see stories of the challenges black women and people faced, and still face today. It’s a very raw and honest read, and it covers some immense discussions, from racism, sexual assault, gender identities and so much more. These types of books are all the more important, as I think reading about different people and cultures is such a great way to learn about other people’s experiences.
What stands out to everyone about this book is the way it’s been written – it includes very little punctuation or speech marks. At first, I wasn’t too sure how I was going to feel about this, as the no-speech-mark effect has been very hit or miss for me. However, I thought it worked brilliantly in this book. It felt like I was reading a conversation, or someone was talking to me rather than reading a book, which I loved and found really unique.
I also loved the twelve snapshots of these characters’ lives, and how they all somehow interlinked. I particularly enjoyed the last few chapters, which included a few extra twists which I was not expecting.
These characters are flawed people, but they feel very real. From the title, you would think that this book is about being a woman (which in part it is), but it’s so much more than that. It just goes to show that we know very little about what’s going on in other people’s lives, and Girl, Woman, Other captures that really well.
Girl, Woman, Other, is one of the smartest and most important books I’ve read in a long time, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone and everyone.
“A Muslim man carries out a mass shooting or blows people up and he’s called a terrorist, a white man does the exact same thing and he’s called a madman.”
“In time there’s forgiveness, even if scars remain.”