Girl, Woman, Other is a perfectly titled novel. This time, you won’t hear me complain about “yet another girl book”. This novel is made up of twelve interconnected chapters that focus on a certain woman, eleven of them black, one not knowing she had black genes.
Evaristo managed to cover a wide spectrum of British black women - women from different generations, with different sexual orientations, and gender identity. Some of them are ardent feminists – some had been feminists before it was trendy; others just want to fit in with the middle class. Some seek and find a career and financial success – many of those people reject, to a certain extent, their origins and become players in the “establishment”. Some are artistic, some are pragmatic, some are erudite, some had obtained top-class education, and others had left school early. Some know what they want, others fumble through life, making it up as they go along. The intergenerational conflict is present throughout. Of course, racism, a-la Great Britain, is featured throughout.
It also covers single motherhood, domestic abuse, drug-taking, and rape.
This novel is written in a very direct, unadorned way, it felt like listening to someone’s life story told by someone close to them. The lack of full stops between phrases didn’t impact the reading flow, but I thought it was unnecessary.
Girl, Woman, Other is not perfect – what is? After finishing it, I felt warmth, compassion, empathy and sympathy, while also being enlightened to certain aspects of gender and sexual identity and expression.