Girl, Woman, Other is the winner of the the Man Booker Prize for 2019, has been shortlisted for the Women’s Prize Prize for Fiction 2020 and the British Book Awards 2020 as well as being included in Barack Obama’s Top 19 Books for 2019 and that’s not all but I won’t go on. I also couldn’t avoid seeing praise for this book everywhere and sometimes this can make you a little nervous that it won’t live up to the hype..... but it did! And then some.
I was absolutely blown away by this book and the depth of the characters, following 12 mainly black women, across multiple generations from both rural and urban lifestyles in Britain. What I loved about this book is the incredible way all the richly developed characters intersect, each chapter is another woman’s story which evolves into the next in a free form experimental style of fiction writing, it is no surprise upon reading that Bernardine was originally a play write and a poet, although it took the first couple of pages to get used to the style it soon means you actually feel like you are in the characters head and you start to absorb their personality in a way. Plus the ending is spectacularly beautiful.
I listened to the penguin podcast interview with Bernardine after I finished reading and the interviewer Nihal Arthanayake asked her “what do white people find relatable in this book?” She confirmed this book has sold across a wide range of demographics which came from winning the Man Booker Prize as such an established prize helps to break barriers in the publishing industry, and so in my opinion firstly we have all come from a lineage of women before us and this really made me want to know more about their lives behind the titles of ‘Mum’ and ‘Grandma’ as she humanises the stories behind these characters who at first are introduced to us as such. Secondly this book is full of incredibly important stories about both womanhood and race, although I personally can not understand what it is like to be from another race I am a woman, who finds all women’s stories fascinating, even more so when they are different from my own.