Literary Fiction by People of Color discussion

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message 1: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3779 comments Mod
The discussion for the 2019 Booker Prize winning novel, Girl, Woman, Other, will begin October 1st. Please join us then for the discussion.

“Welcome to Britain and twelve very different people - mostly women, mostly black - who call it home. Teeming with life and crackling with energy, Girl, Woman, Other follows them across the miles and down the years. With vivid originality, irrepressible wit and sly wisdom, Bernardine Evaristo presents a gloriously new kind of history for this old country: ever-dynamic, ever-expanding and utterly irresistible.”


message 2: by Carole (last edited Oct 17, 2020 10:05AM) (new)

Carole Bell (cvbell) | 69 comments Hi all! I'm Carole and I'll be your companion for this discussion. I'm a longtime lurker, sometimes contributor. I've been looking forward to reading this book for a longtime and hope many of you will join us on the journey. Feel free to say hi before we start. And I'm on the lookout for good articles to share and help set the stage as well.

Here's the schedule I propose. Though this book is a little long, I have it on good authority that it's a page turner that doesn't feel like its 400 plus pages. (Thanks @Beverly!)

Discussion Schedule
Thursday October 1- Friday October 9
Chapter 1: Amma, Yazz and Dominique (to p 112/ 26% in ebook)

Saturday October 10 to Sunday October 18
Chapter 2: Carole, Bummi, and LaTisha (to page 216/ 48% in ebook)

Sunday October 18
Entire book open to discussion (Chapters 3,4, 5 and an epilogue)


message 3: by Carole (new)

Carole Bell (cvbell) | 69 comments Here’s an interesting interview with the author shortly before Girl, Woman, Other was released in 2019.

Books interview
Bernardine Evaristo: ‘I want to put presence into absence’
The British writer on bringing more black female characters into fiction, her experimental style, and exploring non-mainstream history

Sat 27 Apr 2019 13.00 EDT

Bernardine Evaristo is the award-winning British-Nigerian author of eight books. Born in London in 1959, she is professor of creative writing at Brunel University London and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her new novel Girl, Woman, Other spans 20th- and 21st-century Britain and features 12 interconnected characters, mostly women, black and British.

Read the interview online:
https://amp.theguardian.com/books/201...


PattyMacDotComma I read this recently and loved it. No, it didn't seem like 400 pages!

There's an excellent podcast with her for the BBC World Book Club. You can listen online or get the podcast.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3cs...

I'm looking forward to everyone's thoughts.


message 5: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 62 comments Hi Carole and Columbus, hi all, I will join and have my copy. Thank you very much for your informations! This book has been on my to-read-list since last year so I am happy to start it now.


message 6: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3779 comments Mod
Has anyone read anything else by this author? Something you can recommend. I read her Mr. Loverman and absolutely loved it. It was one of my 3 favorite books of that year.


message 7: by Nidhi (new)

Nidhi Kumari | 20 comments I too will be reading this book.


message 8: by Carole (new)

Carole Bell (cvbell) | 69 comments @Columbusreads I want to read Mr Loverman. But Girl Woman Other is my first.


message 9: by Carole (new)

Carole Bell (cvbell) | 69 comments Welcome @Nidhi @Melanie @PattyMacDotComma ! I'm looking forward to the discussion.


message 10: by Wanda (new)

Wanda | 169 comments I’m on the waiting list for this one at my library. If I get it in time, I’d love to join the discussion.


message 11: by Nidhi (new)

Nidhi Kumari | 20 comments This book doesn’t have a full stop!!!! Lol.


message 12: by Carole (new)

Carole Bell (cvbell) | 69 comments Happy Girl, Woman, Other October everyone!

Who’s getting started with Girl, Woman, Other today? Or this week? Or maybe you’re waiting on a copy? Planning to join in later?

For those who are already reading or have read it, any first thoughts? We’ll be discussing Chapter One only from now until next Friday!


message 13: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 2881 comments Mod
ColumbusReads wrote: "Has anyone read anything else by this author? Something you can recommend. I read her Mr. Loverman and absolutely loved it. It was one of my 3 favorite books of that year."

Yes, agree that Mr. Loverman is a wonderful read.

I have also read would recommend Blonde Roots.

While the three books that I have read by Bernardine Evaristo are all different in storyline and format, they all were fabulous reading experiences!

I am so glad Bernardine Evaristo is getting all the long overdue and very much deserved attention.


message 14: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 2881 comments Mod
Carole wrote: "Happy Girl, Woman, Other October everyone!

Who’s getting started with Girl, Woman, Other today? Or this week? Or maybe you’re waiting on a copy? Planning to join in later?

For those who are alre..."


I will start my read today.
This is a re-read for me and that says a lot as I am not a re-reader.


message 15: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 62 comments Hello everyone, unfortunately I did not read any books from Bernardine Evaristo before but will do so, thank you all for your recommondations which seems to be all fab!

I started to read the book yesterday, just a first impression: wow! As a graphic designer I have to admit I'm a bit biased when it comes to long texts without punctuation, but the type is set up so clever and what is more important Bernardine Evaristo`s prose is just so beautiful in it`s structure that I don''t miss it at all (bye bye, fullstops), it makes so much sence. (Will definetely read the book in german language too when it will be published next year.)

When it comes to the stories about the women we first meet I am impressed how the author is connecting their lifes and the circles they are living in. And yes, you are right it is a page turner. (Will get into details when I have finished chapter 1.)


message 16: by William (new)

William (be2lieve) | 1303 comments Mod
I've read Mr. Loverman and enjoyed it. I'm 2/3 through this one. Evaristo is a gifted story teller. Of the three women in chapter 1, Dominique's story is the one that has remained the most clear and impactful.


message 17: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Thank you, Carole. I just picked up the kindle version for $2.99 today. Perfect timing. I’ll get started and join in the discussion. Looking forward to it.


message 18: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 57 comments Hi all, I just purchased the kindle version as well so will be joining in on the discussion. I plan to start reading tomorrow


message 19: by Carole (new)

Carole Bell (cvbell) | 69 comments Great. And thanks to both of you for the heads up about the sale. I love having a kindle copy to highlight and save notes even though I have a hard copy. Digging in now. Happy to let current events recede for a bit.


message 20: by Carole (new)

Carole Bell (cvbell) | 69 comments BERNARDINE EVARISTO ON WOMANHOOD: “I REFUSE TO BE INVISIBLE”
For International Women’s Day on March 8, Bernardine Evaristo – author of the historic Booker Prize-winning Girl, Woman, Other – writes a personal essay for PORTER on what womanhood (or womxnhood) means to her…

She also talks about her childhood and how she relates to the characters in Girl, Woman, Other:

https://www.net-a-porter.com/en-us/po...


message 21: by Laura (new)

Laura Freeland Only 3 pages into Yazz's chapter and I loved her. Such the spirit of a young, intelligent, STRONGLY opinionated person.

I can imagine my daughter saying half of these things, such as the adults who want to keep in touch with Yazz as their conduit to the younger generation.

This author is incredibly talented in telling each character's story and show their personality in a limited number of pages.


message 22: by Carole (new)

Carole Bell (cvbell) | 69 comments I thought Yazz was so real and funny and bratty! And we see her thinking and acting similarly to Amma, yet amplified somehow, which I didn’t think was possible. Even her taking her parents for granted is repeated. I’m not done with this section yet but I will be soon.


message 23: by Carole (last edited Oct 03, 2020 09:45AM) (new)

Carole Bell (cvbell) | 69 comments Nidhi wrote: "This book doesn’t have a full stop!!!! Lol."
LOL If I could like posts I would definitely like this one! Yup. That was a surprise. It hasn't hampered my reading but it's interesting.

As I read on I focus on less on the lack of the period as demarcation of the end of sentences, but I'm wondering how we should read the formal flourishes, departures from tradition. Evaristo has also dispensed with capitalization at the start of sentences.
One idea I've had is that it formally represents the idea that this is a stream of thought.

What are you all thinking? (And now I promise I'll stop myself from posting so much. I'm talking too much and need to listen.).


message 24: by PattyMacDotComma (new)

PattyMacDotComma Carole wrote: "Nidhi wrote: "This book doesn’t have a full stop!!!! Lol."
LOL If I could like posts I would definitely like this one! Yup. That was a surprise. It hasn't hampered my reading but it's interesting. ..."


Evaristo discussed the poetic nature of her phrasing and formatting and lack of punctuation in her BBC interview. I read an e-book version, and I didn't have trouble following at all, but I imagine a printed version would be beautiful.

She uses indents, extra line spacing, short blocks of text and the like to indicate emphasis or where you might pause for breath or for thought.

I think the shape on the page probably adds to the experience for the reader of a 'real' book. Children's books often have interesting breaks in the narrative, too, I think.


message 25: by Carole (new)

Carole Bell (cvbell) | 69 comments Thanks @PattyMacDotComma. I loved it. I couldn't stop reading and stayed up late, got up early and finished. Now that I'm done reading I'm looking forward to listening to the BBC interview.

The book is beautiful in print, but I think they also did a good job with the conversion to ebook. In the Kindle app, the effect of the line breaks and spacing vary depending on the font size you use, but I do think the points of emphasis and pauses come through regardless.

Does anyone have a favorite scene or passage so far?

One passage I loved in this first section, partly because it made me laugh, was when Yazz was mentally running through how she had won an argument with her Dad, Roland, taking him down a notch by questioning lofty position as "Professor of Modern Life." I enjoy Yazz's loving intergenerational warfare with people who are used to being/thinking of themselves as the avant garde.

Dad didn’t reply
he wasn’t expecting this, the student outwitting the master (grasshopper rocks!)
I mean, how on earth can you be a Professor of Modern Life when your terms of reference are all male, and actually all-white (even when you’re not, she refrained from adding),


And I was moved by the interplay between Waris and Yazz which appears shortly after that and the conversation with Courtney about relative privilege and context, which is an interesting counterpart to Yazz's triumph over Roland:

Yazz doesn’t know what to say, when did Court read Roxane Gay – who’s amaaaazing?
was this a student outwitting the master moment? #whitegirltrumpsblackgirl


So I'm wondering, which parts do you love so far? Or hate or which made you think?
My highlights aren't as useful as they usually are because I'm highlighting everything. Every line carries insight.


message 26: by William (new)

William (be2lieve) | 1303 comments Mod
Yazz did remind me at times of my own daughter who seems to revel in the times she thinks she's gotten the verbal best of me..few and far between imho...Also similar, whereas most of the Black feminists of my generation pontificated, demonstrated and organized my daughter simply lives it. And will quickly put you in your place should you transgress. Independent, as are Yazz and her compatriots.


message 27: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 2 comments I recently started this and I'm really liking it so far! I was surprised by the format and lack of punctuation, but it's much more readable than expected.

I'm finding all of the characters really interesting and even the background characters feel really fleshed out and realistic. So far I feel like Dominique's section is the most complete story. I wonder if we're mostly done hearing about her, but perhaps Amma and Yazz will come back in later sections?


message 28: by Laurie (new)

Laurie Nicole, you touched on one of the things that struck me when I read this. There are so many characters, and not all authors do a good job of keeping them distinct enough to keep everyone straight in my head. Evaristo made every character well developed and distinct even if they were minor characters.

I loved the first chapter, and I know Amma seemed like the focus, but Dominique's story stayed with me in the months since I read the book. Her abusive relationship with Nzinga broke my heart.

My favorite passage about Yazz is
Yazz is reading English literature and planning to be a journalist with her own controversial column in a globally-read newspaper because she has a lot to say and it's about time the whole world heard her


Oh, the conceit of youth!! But I loved her as a character even though she is the eye-rolling daughter who knows so much more than her parents and has to endure their foibles.


message 29: by Melanie (last edited Oct 07, 2020 03:48AM) (new)

Melanie | 62 comments Yes, so true, Carole. I could not decide either. It is such a joy of reading. Brilliant how Bernardine Evaristo describes all of her characters. Love all the references which makes you think about, there are many here, also the humorous passages. The characters are so full of life.

Not to bother but is this the right meaning of Obama Syndrome (?) when Amma speaks about it on page 54, print version (I found different meanings but I guess it is this one?):

Barack Obama Syndrome
When a caucasian male as the disorder of white boy dance syndrome and decides to take a modern jazz or hip hop dance. To gain a better reflection of the African American race. And by the end of the class he still dances like a white boy but has some moves of the black guy resulting in the Barack Obama Syndrome.
via urbandictionary

Speaking of what made you think ... the references of wearing a hijab after 911 and all decriptions of Jazz's so called squad. Her fast and clever check on all people when Jazz is waiting for the theatre to begin is very enjoyable. The discussion whether privilege is about race or tied to class when they visited their Egyptian friend Nenet who's parents have ties to Mubarak and Nenet herself who pays someone doing her study work.

Nicole wrote: (...) "So far I feel like Dominique's section is the most complete story. I wonder if we're mostly done hearing about her, but perhaps Amma and Yazz will come back in later sections?"

I am curious too.


message 30: by Carole (last edited Oct 07, 2020 04:01PM) (new)

Carole Bell (cvbell) | 69 comments @Melanie I think you're referencing the passage in which Yazz is worrying about being single for life and thinking about what Amma says about about her female friends who've been single for decades -- sort of involuntarily and not because they're non-monogamous and fool around with each other?
This part:

Yazz sometimes has sleepless nights worrying she’ll be alone for the whole of her life if she can’t get a proper boyfriend at nineteen what hope is there for when she’s older? a couple of Mum’s female friends have been single for decades, not the lesbians who have little problem getting off with each other, but the straight ones who’ve got good jobs and houses and no partner to share it with, who say they’re not prepared to settle at this stage in their lives Mum accuses them of ‘Looking for Obama Syndrome’ behind their backs talking about


In this context, "Looking for Obama syndrome" is a sarcastic way to talking about women (presumably many or most of Amma's friends referenced here are Black) having unreasonably high expectations that block them from being happy with potential partners in the real world. These are the women have good jobs and all but no partners.
A lot of Black men have also talked about waiting for "their Michelle." So it's not just Black women who are accused of being having unreasonable expectations.

But this type of accusation has more often been lobbed at Black women from before the Obamas were in the White House. In reality, there are a lot of things going on there in terms of there being large numbers of unmarried Black women-- unequal perceptions of different women's value on the dating and marriage market (that comes up/gets demonstrated later on the book and these characters know that), plus other socioeconomic factors. I'm sure Amma understands the context, but this is her critique about the individual psychology at play I think.

I loved Dominique's story. As for whether she or other characters reappear, I don't want to spoil anything so I'm not going to say anything about individual characters, but I will say that this it's billed as a novel, not a collection of individual stories. That said, I definitely didn't feel sure about how that would pan out as I was reading. Ultimately I think that uncertainty was a good thing.


message 31: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 62 comments Thank you very much for your explanation, Carole – I really appreciate your time & effort you spent!


message 32: by William (new)

William (be2lieve) | 1303 comments Mod
Taking my copy back to the library today and still Dominique's story is clear and resonates. I wonder what it is about stories of spousal abuse hold our interest so. Is it the, "that could never happen to me" aspect? I understand persons whose circumstances, education, poverty, little or no friends or family, can make them dependent on another but Dominique was not an "other' but more like us with many opportunities. Why did she stay in a relationship that was so abusive. She was intelligent. Was she so blinded by her partners beauty that all else was secondary? We as a society put such a premium on physical standards of beauty that mentally deviant behaviors go either unnoticed or overlooked. Psychology studies have indicated that attractive tall people with overly large heads have the easiest time in life. Look at your local newscasters or , ugh, 45 for proof of this. But I still don't get how Nginza (?) was able to dominate Dominique so completely.


message 33: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 62 comments William wrote: "Taking my copy back to the library today and still Dominique's story is clear and resonates. I wonder what it is about stories of spousal abuse hold our interest so. Is it the, "that could never ha..."

Just a few thoughts. I remember Dominique asked herself if she was brainwashed by white society and that she had mostly/only(?) relationships with white woman before Nginza (like Nginza said to her she had a history of blonde girlfriends). She speaks that Nginza is so wise and knowlegable being a liberated Black woman in an oppressive white world and that she has open her eyes to everything. So when the radical feminist Nginza appears maybe Dominique questioned her life she had before overall and this is the reason she trusted and loved her so much that Nginza could take control over her and it ended in abuse. Nginza herself had a circle of abuse in her family so that this could be the reason she acted like she did.


message 34: by Carole (last edited Oct 10, 2020 08:09AM) (new)

Carole Bell (cvbell) | 69 comments William wrote: "Taking my copy back to the library today and still Dominique's story is clear and resonates. I wonder what it is about stories of spousal abuse hold our interest so. Is it the, "that could never ha..."

William, this is such a great question. Two really: 1) Why are we fascinated by this story? and 2) How could someone like Dominique be so thoroughly dominated for so long? I think the second provides at least a partial answer to the first—because we like and are impressed by Dominique, we relate to her and that relatability makes it almost impossible to dismiss her story, even if we don't have direct experience of that type of abuse and would like to believe that someone like her couldn't be abused in this way. That's what for me is so powerful about this Evaristo's writing. It's so powerfully puts you in the mindset of so many different people with distinctive voices and experience.

And I think @Melanie really nails a big piece of how this story works with Dominique as a character who is specific and believable as well. Initially it's the charm, wisdom, and authority in her identity that Nginza has plus Dominique's romantic history. Then once she's in it and also separated from her people, it's easier for Nginza to control her and prey on her insecurity, and by that time, her dependence. Nginza has the money. She has her passport. And she has physical power and violence. To me it's masterful storytelling in that is both very specific and also reflects the broader social picture of how abuse works. With the very big caveat for me that it's how abuse works from what I've read by social workers and sociologists.


message 35: by Carole (last edited Oct 10, 2020 09:38AM) (new)

Carole Bell (cvbell) | 69 comments I want to encourage everyone to continue this discussion about Chapter 1 and also open it up to talk about Chapter 2: Carole, Bummi, and LaTisha.

Thoughts? Impressions? Fictional Carole's story caught me by surprise with its sort of duality—how split it was between her privileged adult life with a pretty happy ending, loving mother and genuinely loving husband, and the violations she's endured, big and small, as an adult and as a child, and how hard she works to expunge those thoughts that don't fit the life/ narrative she's built or simply don't serve her in it.

Like, for example, in this section in which Carole is psyching herself up for an early morning meeting with a "new client based in Hong Kong whose net worth is multiple times the GDP of the world's poorest countries" but "can't help remembering all the little hurts":
---
she can’t help thinking about the customs officers who pull her over when she’s jetting the world looking as brief-cased and be-suited as all the other business people sailing through customs – un-harassed

oh to be one of the privileged of this world who take it for granted that it’s their right to surf the globe unhindered, unsuspected, respected

damn, damn, damn, as the escalator goes up, up, up

c’mon, delete all negative thoughts, Carole, release the past and look to the future with positivity and the lightness of a child unencumbered by emotional baggage

life is an adventure to be embraced with an open mind and loving heart

---
Also, that last sentence reminds me of another nice detail revealed just prior to this quote, that Carole's bookshelves are stacked with motivational books "ordered from America." She vows that the meeting will be "fan-bloody-tastic!" Just as the books say— "if you project a powerful person, you will attract respect." She's retrained her mind with these books. Or she's trying to. But it seems like a constant fight to keep her reality at bay. Her story isn't as dramatic and she isn't always entirely sympathetic. But she seemed really human to me and not just because of her name ;)


message 36: by Carole (new)

Carole Bell (cvbell) | 69 comments Also just want to just ask how people are doing with reading this week! If you’re here and reading along or plan to join and want to say hi, we’d love to hear from you!! I’d love to know how many of us are reading!


message 37: by Adrienna (new)

Adrienna (adriennaturner) | 640 comments I tried to read a few pages and difficult for me to get into the contemporary read. I may pass on this one. I will try a little more tomorrow and took a day off Tuesday to see what I can read...thanks for asking Carole.


message 38: by Nidhi (new)

Nidhi Kumari | 20 comments I am reading it at slower pace because of online schooling, I have to help my 6 year old to get through the exams.

About the book.... I like it and have got used to ‘no full stops’.


message 39: by Melanie (last edited Oct 12, 2020 01:06PM) (new)

Melanie | 62 comments Aaaah, how good is the story about Bummi?!

I love this passages so much:

that night she dreamed of employing an army of women cleaners who would set forth across the planet on a mission to clean up all the damage done to the environment

they came from all over Africa and from North and South America, they came from India and China and all over Asia, they came from Europe and the Middle East, from Oceania, and from the Arctic, too

(...)

she imagined the government unable to mobilize the poorly paid local militia because they were terrified by the sheer numbers of her Worldwide Army of Women Cleaners

who could vaporize them with their superhuman powers

(...)


Not to spoil that much ... I currently read the stories about Carole and Bummi. Seems natural to me that Bummi (who has been high educated in Nigeria, started as a housecleaner in England and is now self employed) constantly worries about her daughters lack of rootedness, that she wants a Nigerian man for her so badly and that it is hard for her to accept when Carole decides to marry a white man.


message 40: by PattyMacDotComma (new)

PattyMacDotComma Melanie wrote: "Aaaah, how good is the story about Bummi?!

I love this passages so much:

that night she dreamed of employing an army of women cleaners who would set forth across the planet on a mission to clean ..."


YES, Melanie! I also loved the idea of the Worldwide Army of Cleaners with superhuman powers.


message 41: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 57 comments I've just started Dominique's chapter so I'm a little behind. At first the lack of punctuation made this a slow read but now I'm into the groove and so glad I pushed through!

There is so much humor and truth in each character's story, the author is a gifted storyteller.

Yazz reminds me why I often hear baby boomers & Gen X's complain millennials are narcissistic, as I type that I realize the irony because Yazz (like many millennials) advocates against social injustices and the microaggresssions woven into society yet approaches life with a self aggrandizing view. For example, she considers herself the sole decider of who gets to join their clique "she liked Courtney and if she liked her she was in the squad."
Then the way she assigns Courtney the label of honorary sistah, because she's no longer just another woman but a white woman who hangs with "brownies." A simplistic and limited characterization centered around who Courtney is in her presence.
She feels she is smarter than her father...
Her opinion of her god parents is directly related to what they can give her...
With all that said, I enjoyed her witty analysis of the people around her.

Dominique's chapter is interesting so far. So many red flags regarding Nzinga. Also how ironic that the radical lesbian feminist Nzinga comes across as a male chauvinist in her relationship with Dominique.

I think the author brings up a good point in addressing the competition of Blackness in the scene where Dominique is introducing Nzinga to Amma and the rest for the first time over dinner.
I'm embarrassed to admit that the British accent has made me assume unconsciously a person was "white washed", yet I don't know why. As a Black Canadian I should technically know better. It does feel the (stereotypical) American accent has become the standard beside African and Caribbean accents for Blackness. There is so much history, identity and pain mixed up with the language of Black people.


message 42: by Carole (new)

Carole Bell (cvbell) | 69 comments Adrienna wrote: "I tried to read a few pages and difficult for me to get into the contemporary read. I may pass on this one. I will try a little more tomorrow and took a day off Tuesday to see what I can read...tha..."

Hi Adrienna, I can totally understand that. It took me a couple tries before I got truly into the groove of it, and then I didn't stop. And also, as much as I love this book, I know that I've had friends who've said it's not for them because of the structure. This should never feel like work. Just feel free to drop in when/if you like.


message 43: by Carole (new)

Carole Bell (cvbell) | 69 comments Amanda wrote: "I've just started Dominique's chapter so I'm a little behind. At first the lack of punctuation made this a slow read but now I'm into the groove and so glad I pushed through!

There is so much humo..."


Same re how things change after getting in the swing of it and also the richness of the storytelling. I find myself comparing some of the books I've read since this one, especially one that portrays an African immigrant mother and daughter. This book is just so incredibly rich and layered.


message 44: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 57 comments Anyone else finding this book hilarious? I have been laughing out loud quite a bit.

Bummi's chapter
When she meets Freddy's parents, for the first time , Freddy is Carole's husband and he is white, "Pamela, his mother, smiled at Bummi as if she was a famine victim, when she started explaining the meaning of hors d'oeurves" (p. 150)
This is not really funny, as it's actually sad the racist assumptions Bummi must endure but the author is skilled at making what could feel heavy - light with humor.

Latisha's chapter
When Trey asks her out on Facebook and she goes to inspect his profile, besides his topless photo "all the other photos were of him and his crew, no girls at all, a sign he wasn't a player and was waiting for the right girl to come along before he committed."
Ok I read this as sarcasm because a top less photo and no other pics besides him and his crew?? these are signs to run run run.

I find most of the stories have little bits of subtle humor, nothing too obvious but it makes for an entertaining read that doesn't feel too heavy despite the important issues being addressed.


message 45: by Carole (last edited Oct 15, 2020 07:57PM) (new)

Carole Bell (cvbell) | 69 comments Amanda wrote: "Anyone else finding this book hilarious? I have been laughing out loud quite a bit.

Bummi's chapter
When she meets Freddy's parents, for the first time , Freddy is Carole's husband and he is whit..."


Abso-freaking-lutely. I think you nailed why this is such a good book for me. I have a hard time wading through books that are unrelenting tragedy without the levity and the love that makes it bearable. It's all part of the human condition. And maybe that's me needing apple sauce to make the pill go down but I think humor is a core part of what makes this book special at least. And we saw that with Yazz right? Her cheekiness?


message 46: by Carole (new)

Carole Bell (cvbell) | 69 comments Hi friends,
Hope you're enjoying your weekend so far.

Re the timeline, I originally posted that we would open up discussion to talk about GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER as a whole or any part of it you desire on Saturday Oct 18. Since today, Saturday, is actually October 17, I think that gives us some flexibility. We will definitely be open for discussion of the whole book tomorrow. Sorry for the confusion.

Any updates, thoughts, feelings? Any part you want. Want to finish up with Chapters 1 and 2 today? Great. Or talk about Chapter 3: Shirley Winsome Penelope ? It's a doozy. Chapter 3 gave me some shocks.
-Carole


message 47: by William (new)

William (be2lieve) | 1303 comments Mod
Winsome was Shirley's mother right? Winsome's story, while scandalous, shocking and reality tv ready was just not believable for me. Wasn't she also very religious/ But felt no shame in betraying her daughter in the worst possible way? I'm not saying that it couldn't happen. It just seemed to come out of nowhere. And I think that it would take more than just lust for a good church lady like Winsome to move to a full blown affair.


message 48: by Carole (last edited Oct 18, 2020 03:29PM) (new)

Carole Bell (cvbell) | 69 comments William wrote: "Winsome was Shirley's mother right? Winsome's story, while scandalous, shocking and reality tv ready was just not believable for me. Wasn't she also very religious/ But felt no shame in betraying h..."

Yes, that surprised me to say the least. It was a shock for sure. And yet I did see weird little bread crumbs. Honestly the moment Shirley mentioned her mom and her husband taking the girls on the weekends for a bit, and also how much her mom liked her husband in such a pointed way, and a couple other little breadcrumbs, it felt like a horror movie waiting to happen. I don't remember that much about Winsome being religious. I remember the other woman. Bummi I think having an affair with another church lady Omofe before settling for/down with Kofi? That was surprising. But not like this Winsome betraying her daughter.


message 49: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 2 comments Winsome's story definitely surprised me and grossed me out. I do feel like it was over the top, but in some way was believable to me because it really seemed like Winsome had no respect for Shirley at all (as a daughter and as a woman in general). She didn't think Shirley deserved to have a man like Lennox so she didn't feel bad about their affair.
I didn't originally notice the breadcrumbs that you pointed out, Carole, but I also feel like much of this book has small details that you wouldn't notice right away. I feel like this is the type of book that really deserves more than one read through to catch everything.


message 50: by Melanie (last edited Oct 19, 2020 03:24AM) (new)

Melanie | 62 comments In the last chapters of reading I felt a bit overwhelmed regarding all the informations and I am not good at remembering all the details to be honest. Agree with Nicole this is definetely a book to read more than one time to get all the details. But yes, it was it disturbing to me as well Winsome having an affair with Lennox but these things happen, hmm. Yes, she seems to keep an emotionally distance to Shirley.

I will read the book again in January next year when it will be published in Germany, but I am already annoyed that the title was translated into Mädchen, Frau etc.. I guess others are non-binary people (see chapter 4: Megan/Morgan) – so what is going on here?! I have no high hopes that this translation will do any good to this brilliant book.


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Literary Fiction by People of Color

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Books mentioned in this topic

Blonde Roots (other topics)
Mr Loverman (other topics)

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Bernardine Evaristo (other topics)