Carnegie Award 2013 Shortlist: A Greyhound of a Girl

Greyhound of a Girl

I’m sad to say I didn’t much enjoy A Greyhound of a Girl. I liked the idea but was not so keen on the book as a whole. The story is about four generations of the same family and how they connect and find peace with their circumstances. On the back of the edition I read it tells us that one of the four is dead, and that for me was the first problem. What could have been a topic of uncertainty and suspense in the early stages of the novel is given away before you even start.

There were some things I thought were good, for example I enjoyed Tansey’s story about her life. It was interesting to glimpse her time on the farm, and I wish there had been more of that. I also enjoyed the way the story changed perspective between the four characters. The opening chapter, consisting of just a few lines, is very effective I think; powerful in its brevity. But, I did not get on with several aspects of the book. I didn’t especially like Mary, the youngest of the group. I don’t think it is necessary to always like a character but I think the problem here is that she doesn’t seem real. Some of the things she says and thinks didn’t ring true for me, particularly parts about growing up. I also got incredibly frustrated by the repeated references to her mum, Scarlett, talking in exclamation marks all the time. As a final example of my not-so-great aspects of the book, I didn’t think the ghost road trip worked very well either.

I hate to be so negative and I probably wouldn’t normally have reviewed this if it hadn’t been on the Carnegie list. I can’t honestly say I would recommend A Greyhound of a Girl, which is a shame because I still think the central theme of the book is a good one.

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