Book Review: “Girl, Woman, Other” by Bernardine Evaristo

Reviewed by Bev Scott
Evaristo Girl Woman Other, novel

Bernardine Evaristo writes about the African diaspora in her unique voice. Thus, she wrote this unusual novel about twelve British black women whose lives interconnect. Each chapter intensely portrays one of the women’s life stories. Plus, each chapter also introduces other women who become central characters in future chapters. The characters have unique identities but are often treated as “other.” Despite their struggles, they persist in searching to find themselves and their place in the world. These black women work as a playwright, a farmer, a school teacher, and a bank vice-president, among other work identities.

Evaristo writes in an off-beat, descriptive, fast-paced, and experimental style. She reveals to the reader a deep look at the lives of resilient young women. They struggle with school, endure rejection by men who impregnate them, and withstand painful, depressing failures. We learn about the interconnected lives of the adult women, too. While they continue to search for stable relationships, they cope with their “otherness.” Ultimately, they find and settle into their identity and overcome personal challenges.

In summary, Girl, Woman, Other provides an opportunity to learn about a segment of British society seldom exposed. And, the book engages the reader with stories that are are vibrant, engaging, witty and intense. Bernardine Evaristo is an “Anglo-Nigerian writer and the winner of the 2019 Booker Prize, the first black woman to receive this highest literary honor in the English language.” I enthusiastically recommend it to you.