Girl Reading

Monday, March 16, 2015

The old saying goes 'you don't miss something until it is gone'. In this book I really missed speech-marks. Call me lazy but I quite like to be able to identify who is talking by a slight flick of ink on a page. Speech-marks are important and whether you are trying to be literary or challenge your readers you should understand that readers have grown up with speech-marks and are not about to have them whisked away like some forlorn apostrophe I could mention.

I did struggle with Girl Reading and I think this may be why I have been reluctant to review it. The book is split into seven narratives, each focussing on a girl reading  between the medieval times through to the techno-enhanced future. I think what I found hard about this book is that I found each narrative disjointed. Yes, there is a theme of girls reading in various situations and there is an essence of artwork that flows through the chapters, but they are all so completely different that they can be read as individual short stories. The concluding chapter, based in the future tries desperately to link all these girls together, but I just found the link too weak and tedious. I would have been more comfortable with it if it was left as seven individual portraits, snapshots of time that don't have to be connected but can just exist in their own bubbles. It would have been easier to accept a book without speech-marks if the characters had been consistent, but as they are ever changing through the times it is hard to recognise voices and traits. 

Perhaps it is just me, and you will pick it up and adore it and rave about it to your friends. I for one won't be raving about it, but I won't be forgetting it either. I think this novel desires an acquired taste, and I just don't think I'm there yet.


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