Captured, abducted and married into Boko Haram, the narrator of this story witnesses and suffers the horrors of a community of men governed by a brutal code of violence. Barely more than a girl herself, she must soon learn how to survive as a woman with a child of her own. Just as the world around her seems entirely consumed by madness, bound for hell, she is offered an es...more
If people only wrote what they knew personally, the bookshelves would be poorer for it. (less)
“I WAS A GIRL ONCE, but not anymore. I smell. Blood dried and crusted all over me, and my wrapper in sheds. My insides, a morass. Hurtled through this forest that I saw, that first awful night, when I and my friends were snatched from the school”.
....”he began cursing and taunting us, calling us names, saying we were slats, prostitutes, that we should be married soon we would”.
Forced to kneel under a big tree to pray - from the Qur’an- under it fi ...more
The author of Girl travelled to Nigeria where she met some of the survivors, those who managed against all odds to escape. This novel is based on their accumulative experiences, combining them into the fictional character Maryam. Through her eyes we witness the horrific things tha ...more
O'Brien sets out to tell the story of one of the school girls abducted b ...more
In this novel, Irish writer Edna O'Brien tells the story of Maryam, a young schoolgirl who is abducted by fundamentalist Islamic terrorists, tortured, raped and forced into marriage - of course, the story is based on the experiences of the 276 Nigerian schoolgirls who were abducted by Boko Haram six years ago. The great achievement of the text is that the author finds a relentless tone that forces the reader to confront the atrocities these young ...more
The book itself is relatively easy to summarise – Edna O’Brien tells the story of the schoolgirls infamously abducted by Boko Haram, that abduction leading to the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign whose social media “likes” and retweet success was tragically much more successful than its success rate in returning the girls.
O’Brien only obliquely examines the reason for that failure. Her aim is to tell the stories of the girls them ...more
In language spare and forthright, O'Brien writes of Maryam, a schoolgirl taken hostage, repeatedly raped and tortured, and forced into marriage by a gang of young ...more
GIRL is one story created from the stories of many, and it is fiction. It feels important to state that because it would be weird to think Edna O'Brien, an old Irish lady -- and one of the greatest writers around, especially in the world of girls/women being shat upon -- wrote a nonfiction account. Instead, she fictionalizes the true story of the girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram from the Chibok School in Borno (Nigeria.) Over 275 ...more
I was a girl once, but not any more. I smell. Blood dried and crusted all over me, and my wrapper in shreds. My insides, a morass. Hurtled through this forest that I saw, that first awful night, when I and my friends were snatched from the school.
On the night of April 14–15, 2014, 276 female students were kidnapped from a government school in the town of Chiboki, Nigeria by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram (and as of today, 112 of these stolen girls are still missing). Having seen an i ...more
So begins Girl, the story of our narrator, Maryam, who was abducted and raped by Boko Haram. Edna O’Brien’s goal isn’t to educate us about the ignoble history and deeds of this terrorist group or its effect on Nigerian life. There are other books that serve that purpose. It is her aim to present one girl—who could be any girl who is violated, deprived of her voice and her future, and for ...more
Mixed feelings that books is written by white Irish lady. She traveled to Nigeria, listened to the stories, b ...more
I can definitely see why O’Brien is considered so good. Various other reviews have described this as “brutal” and “unsparing,” but I didn’t find it that way myself. Or rather, we are not spared information, but somehow t ...more
And yet, I think - some questions are to be ...more
“This land that is called Nigeria must be rid of the infidels and unbelievers”(12)
The horror of existence inside a Jas camp is laid before the reader in stark, no holds, descriptive terms. There's no ambiguity in the first third of this book which describes brutality and barbarism happening in the 21st century that's straight out of the worst excesses of the Middle Ages, and more recently out of Rwanda. The hideous wrongs perpetrated are then compounded by the suspicion and superstition ...more
“It has probably become more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in armed conflict.”
Major-General Patrick Cammaert, former commander of UN peacekeeping forces in the eastern Congo.
Croatian author Slavenka Drakulic:
“... sexual violence is recognized as a weapon. We know now, as we knew even before the passage of this resolution, that rape is a kind of slow murder.”
I kneaded the knots out of my shoulders, pulled air deep beyond my intercostal muscles to prevent the hypoventilation I felt ...more
This is a jarring reading experience about a harrowing experience.
If the question is, can an Irish author in her 80's write convincingly from the point of view of an abducted Borno school girl, I'd have to answer no.
I think there are good intentions in the attempt and it did remind me of their plight, I googled what the current situation is (unsurprisingly, it's not good and I still feel helpless to do anything).
However, I could not stop questioning each reaction, response ...more
On April 14,2014, Boko Haram, a Nigerian jihadist group captured 276 sixteen to seventeen- year- old girls from the Chibok school in Northern Nigeria. The girls had come to to the school to sit for their physics exams and ended up as slaves of the Boko Haram, who gang raped them into submission.
Girl is a fictionalized account of the girls' ordeal told through the eyes of Maryam, a survivor. Her story begins with her capture, and time as a slave, then follows her forced marriage and entry into mo ...more
“I was a girl once, but not anymore. I smell. Blood dried and crusted all over me, and my wrapper in sheds. My insides, a morass. Hurtled through this forest that I saw, that first awful night, when I and my friends were snatched from the school”.
On 14 April, 2014, 276 young girls were abducted from their school by Boko Haram, 112 of them are still missing. And, although the news was seen on every media ...more
We had heard of them and their brute ways, but until you know something you do not know it. (Girl, by Edna O'Brien, p.85)
It was the kidnapping of the schoolgirls by the Nigerian Jihadist group Boko Haram that first made me disdain #Hashtag campaigns as useless.
The #BringBackOurGirls campaign flourished worldwide, with no less a celebrity that Michelle Obama brandishing her placard — yet it seems to have achieved nothing much at all except that the Nigerian government has been shamed into paying ...more
Well, I found that if you look more closely at what O’Brien has done during her career, you see a novel about a terrorist on the run (House of Spl ...more
I didn’t really get along with this one, I’m not sure what it was in the writing but it was almost as if the chapters were so short and condensed that there wasn’t much build or a pace to anything. Terrible things continue to happen but I didn’t get the emotional punch that I wanted to feel, I think because there wasn’t enough time to explore the trauma and emotion o ...more
Having read it, it is certainly well written but it lacks cohesion and a real feel of narration. I guess it was hard for the writer to be able to authentically speak this story and that comes across in the story’s shallowness. ...more
I saw a review here on GR that complained that the protagoni ...more