I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Publication: Amulet Books (first published 2012), eARC, 208pg
Genres: Children's, Contemporary Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction, Middle Grade
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Mary O’Hara is a sharp and cheeky 12-year-old Dublin schoolgirl who is bravely facing the fact that her beloved Granny is dying. But Granny can’t let go of life, and when a mysterious young woman turns up in Mary’s street with a message for her Granny, Mary gets pulled into an unlikely adventure. The woman is the ghost of Granny’s own mother, who has come to help her daughter say good-bye to her loved ones and guide her safely out of this world. She needs the help of Mary and her mother, Scarlett, who embark on a road trip to the past. Four generations of women travel on a midnight car journey. One of them is dead, one of them is dying, one of them is driving, and one of them is just starting out. (from Amazon)
I’ve read a few other Roddy Doyle books before, all meant for adults and all of the literary fiction type. A Greyhound of a Girl is almost completely different: it’s meant for children, and it’s more magical realism than anything else. Like all of Roddy Doyle’s books, however, Greyhound is about family, and about navigating the rough waters that come with family. And that’s great! What’s not so great is basically everything else.
The story in Greyhound is very interesting– I love ghosts!– and roadtrips as physical manifestations of a character’s internal journey are pretty cool. The characters were cute and, overall, it’s a very easy-to-read book. However, the voices of all the characters felt the same, which was disappointing. They didn’t feel like individual people, not like in Roddy Doyle’s other books. I had also hoped the roadtrip part would play a more prominent role in the story, but it only showed up at the end and wasn’t all that big of a deal after all.
So it’s not my favorite Roddy Doyle book ever, but I think it might be a good one for kids to read before they move on to his adult books. It’s a good sampling of the sorts of things that show up in his other books, even if it’s not the BEST sampling.
Read: January 10, 1012