005. A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle
Publication: Amulet Books (May 1, 2012), originally published 2011, eARC, 208pp / ISBN 1419701681
Genre: Children’s Magical Realism (could be MG, too)
Read: January 10, 1012
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (thank you!)
Summary from Amazon:
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.
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.
Not my favorite, but it wasn’t all that bad.
Charlotte’s Library: “Doyle is absolutely brilliant at dialogue (of which there is lots). Because so much of the book is told in short, snappy conversations, and even the descriptions and reminiscences are told with beautiful simplicity, it’s easy to imagine a child loving the book, and identifying strongly with Mary. But it works pretty darn well as a book for grownups too (my husband loves it too).”
Hazel the Witch: “I loved how complex and human all the characters were. There was nothing fake about them, and with story like this it’s a crucial thing.”
Books and Other Creative Adventures: “I was taken with the book right from the first pages. Mr. Doyle has a way with language and phrasing that always draws me in. His descriptions captured me right away and he sets up a fun, mysterious start to the book. I also love how Mr. Doyle weaves the stories of the four lives together.”
The author’s photo comes from Goodreads. It’s not mine! Book cover comes from Amazon. It’s not mine, either.